Cocaine: Treatment and rehabilitation

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 10:07 am

According to the 1997 National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), excepting alcohol, the largest number of publicly funded drug treatment admissions were for cocaine. The biggest challenge to cocaine Treatment and rehabilitation is preventing relapse (the return to using drugs) caused by a persistent and intense craving for cocaine. To this end, after detoxification, which can take less than a week, treatment programs often include deconditioning. Deconditioning exposes abstinent users to cues that produce powerful and pleasurable memories of cocaine use. By keeping the patients from reinforcing the memories with cocaine use, the cues eventually lose their power to produce a craving.

While cocaine addiction can be treated successfully, there is no one program that is effective for everyone. Principles of Effective Drug Treatment, published by NIDA, recommends a multi-faceted approach to treatment. It suggests behavioral therapies, medications, rehabilitation and social services. The idea is to treat the whole person.

Regarding medication, NIDA research reports that medications that act on both the dopamine and serotonin receptors might reduce the intense craving and depression. Behavior therapies can include group and/or individual counseling, popular 12-Step programs, therapeutic communities, and chemical dependency inpatient and outpatient programs. Rehabilitative treatment includes training focused on resolving problems related to jobs, home life, and the criminal justice system.

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