Cocaine Addiction Treatment

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Drug Treatment Guide

cocaine on table for cocaine addicts to smoke

What is Cocaine Addiction and Treatment?

Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that’s often associated with addictions. When families see signs of addiction, they need to communicate with treatment programs and arrange for enrollment. Some programs provide around-the-clock inpatient care, others provide outpatient care, and some provide a mix of the two formats. There are no hard-and-fast rules about which setting is best. Since cocaine cravings can be persistent, families should look for treatment programs that provide ongoing and comprehensive relapse prevention support.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant and popularly abused illicit drug. While cocaine does have some legitimate medical uses as a local numbing agent to help with painful mouth and nose procedures, the vast majority of it is produced and sold for the black market.

Cocaine is used to induce a sense of euphoria and enhance mood, with other mental effects including increased energy and confidence. This drug can be snorted, injected, and swallowed. Powder cocaine and crack cocaine are two different forms of this drug. Crack cocaine comes in small rock-like formations that can be smoked through a pipe, while powder cocaine typically snorted or ingested orally

Cocaine abuse and cocaine addiction are associated with numerous physical, psychological, and social problems. Professional rehabilitation is often needed to address drug dependence. Street names include Blow, Bump, C, Candy, Coke, Charlie, Snow, Crack, Toot and Rock.

What are the Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse and Dependence?

People who abuse cocaine extensively are likely to experience a range of physical health, psychological health, and social problems.

Adverse, acute effects of cocaine use include:
  • Itching
  • Fast heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoid delusions
Chronic cocaine users are likely to experience a rage of negative health effects, including:
  • FeverCocaine Abuse
  • Chest pain
  • Asthma
  • Body aching
  • Increased body temperature
  • Involuntary teeth grinding
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

What are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Cocaine?

While dependence is not is not associated with distinct physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms when intake is stopped, dependent users do suffer a range of intense emotional and motivational symptoms.

Common cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:
  • Lack of motivation
  • Insomnia
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue

While medications are largely ineffective for the treatment of cocaine problems, psychotherapy and relapse prevention programs can be extremely effective.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

The addiction treatment process typically includes three separate elements, all of which are designed to work together: detoxification, rehabilitation, and aftercare support.

  • The detox process is designed to enable drug discontinuation and alleviate potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. At this time there is no set pharmacological approach for the treatment of cocaine addiction, although some medications, like disulfram, used to treat alcoholism have shown to possibly be effective. Researchers continue to test medications and have developed clinical trials to narrow down which medical intervention is the best.
  • Rehab is designed to address the emotional and environmental precedents of drug addiction, with inpatient rehab and outpatient programs both available. A range of psychotherapy models can be applied to treat dependence, including cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, family therapy, contingency management, 12-step programs, and relapse prevention among others.
  • Aftercare support programs also play an important role in treatment, including SMART Recovery, sober living environments, and groups such as Cocaine Anonymous.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is designed to alter drug taking and other problematic behavior patterns from the inside-out. During a typical therapy program, therapists will help recovering addicts to recognize cognitive and emotional distortions so that they can learn to make better lifestyle decisions. Relapse prevention techniques and systems play an important role in this process, with patients learning how to recognize emotional and environmental triggers, avoid dangerous situations, and cope with the challenges of life as they arise.


  1. Abuse, N. I. (n.d.). Cocaine. Retrieved August 30, 2016, from
  2. Abuse, N. I. (n.d.). What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States? Retrieved August 30, 2016, from
  3. Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health [PDF]. (2015, September). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  4. Abuse, N. I. (n.d.). How is cocaine addiction treated? Retrieved August 30, 2016, from

Last updated on July 19th, 2017 at 08:35 pm

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