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Cocaine is a stimulant drug that gives users an intense, euphoric, and short-lived high. Users typically snort it, though it can be injected, or turned into cocaine base (crack) and smoked. The most common form on the streets is a white crystalline powder. Crack is a similar white color but looks like small balls or “rocks.”
Cocaine comes from coca leaves that grow in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. The leaves undergo a chemical manufacturing process in remote jungle labs and are turned into a white, crystalline powder. About 90 percent of the cocaine that reaches the United States is manufactured in Colombia and smuggled through Mexico.
There are many risks of cocaine use. It is a highly addictive substance — tolerance and dependency develop quickly. Also, cocaine is often diluted or “cut,” with other materials such as sugars, anesthetics, and even cleaning supplies. This is done by dealers to stretch the amount of product and increase profit.
Popular street names for cocaine include:
Cocaine is a central nervous stimulant that increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is related to your brain’s reward system and makes you feel pleasure. Cocaine is especially addictive because it floods your system with dopamine, continually stimulating your brain, making it feel "rewarded." Users begin to crave this effect as the drug wears off.
Symptoms of cocaine addiction include:
The number of cocaine overdoses has risen in recent years, killing nearly 15,000 people in the United States in 2018.
Luckily, there are thousands of treatment centers located all around the country. Rehabs vary in terms of intensity, length, types of therapies used, and types of addictions they treat.
If you are struggling with a cocaine use disorder, be sure to find a treatment center that deals with cocaine addiction specifically. If you know or believe you have another mental health disorder, be sure to make sure that the treatment center treats co-occurring disorders as well.
Inpatient is the most intensive level of treatment for cocaine addiction. If you want to give yourself the highest chance of success in recovery, an inpatient facility is your best option. Patients check into the facility and sleep, eat, and undergo all their treatments while living there. Programs typically last 30, 60, or 90 days, but longer treatment can be arranged if necessary.
The main benefits of inpatient treatment include:
Inpatient treatment is the best choice for people who:
Partial hospitalization programs are the second most intensive type of treatment program for cocaine addiction. They are considered outpatient programs, meaning that patients attend treatment at the facility most days of the week, but return home to sleep.
The most common services provided by partial hospitalization programs include:
You should seek a partial hospitalization program if you:
In an outpatient treatment program, the patient attends cocaine addiction treatment at the facility three to five days a week and returns home to sleep. These programs usually last 30, 60, or 90 days though it can be extended for people who need special treatment.
The most common therapies used in outpatient treatment include:
Outpatient treatment is best for patients who have:
There is no specific antidote for cocaine. Treatment of a cocaine overdose involves administering benzodiazepines and cooling techniques. This should only be performed by health professionals. If you suspect that you're overdosing, or see someone overdosing, call 911 immediately.
Signs of cocaine overdose include:
Each cocaine addiction treatment program will utilize their own unique combination of treatments and therapies. The best treatment option for you will depend on the severity of your addiction, insurance, personality, and physical and mental health conditions.
The most frequently used types of therapy in cocaine addiction treatment are:
Individual therapy also referred to as psychotherapy, involves the patient sitting down with a licensed therapist one on one. The therapist may use many different types of therapy techniques, but all of them will aim towards helping the patient learn more about themselves and gaining tools that will help them in the recovery process.
Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy (talk therapy) that involves one or more therapists sitting down with a group of several people and working with them all at the same time. This is helpful for people suffering from addiction because it connects patients with others who have similar problems and experiences. It allows them to practice their new attitudes and skills in a safe environment.
If someone is diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD) and a co-occurring mental health disorder, this is considered a dual diagnosis. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 50 percent of all adults with a SUD have a co-occurring mental health disorder. Dual diagnosis treatment often takes place at an inpatient facility, as these patients require specialized care that treats both disorders as components of one larger problem.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most commonly used types of therapy in addiction treatment. It is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy (talk therapy). Its main goal is to change the patient's patterns of thinking or behavior by teaching the patient how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all affect each other.
Dialectical behavioral therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. DBT is a type of CBT but adds a greater focus on the emotional and social aspects of therapy. DBT teaches patients how to accept their past and use mindfulness. It also helps them learn to manage stress and interact with others in more positive ways.
Contingency management is a behavioral therapy that focuses on encouraging an individual to stop using drugs or alcohol by providing rewards for proof of changed behavior.
Motivational enhancement therapy focuses on quickly trying to change an individual’s attitude towards becoming sober by evoking internal change. It is often combined with other treatment methods such as 12-step programs.
Currently, there are no FDA approved medications to treat cocaine addiction. However, MAT has been proven effective in treating other substance use disorders (SUD), such as alcohol use disorder (AUD) and opioid use disorder. Researchers are also studying certain drugs, such as disulfiram, in hopes that they will find a medication that helps treat cocaine addiction.
Many people are skeptical about enrolling in a rehabilitation program due to the high costs. However, they often overestimate the actual cost of treatment. Most programs accept insurance and many have sliding scale fees and payment options for those who can’t afford to pay up front.
Cocaine addiction treatment is an investment in yourself. Addiction can cost you thousands of dollars, along with your health. This money can easily be recouped by overcoming your addiction and putting yourself in a better place to work and earn a better salary.
Most addiction treatment programs accept insurance. The amount covered will depend on your insurance plan and what treatments are covered under it, in addition to the treatment center's policies.
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Horey, Jonathan T et al. “Comparison of substance use milestones in cannabis- and cocaine-dependent patients.” Journal of addictive diseases vol. 31,1 (2012): 60-6. doi:10.1080/10550887.2011.642753
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Overdose Death Rates.” NIDA, 10 Mar. 2020, www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Cocaine.” NIDA, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine.
Enforcement Administration, Drug. Department Of Justice, U.S. Drugs Of Abuse, A Dea Resource Guide: 2017 Edition. Lulu Press Inc, 2020.