Around 6% of all people who were admitted to a drug rehab program in 2013 had an addiction to cocaine. Of these, 68% smoked crack cocaine and often also used multiple drugs. Those offering cocaine rehab and treatment must be aware of the complexity of the disease that is addiction, which leads to physical, psychological, social, educational, and professional problems. As such, it is a broad problem that requires equally broad treatment, particularly when considering that most cocaine addicts and abusers also have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Pharmacological Cocaine Rehab and Treatment

Currently, the FDA has not approved any medications for the treatment of cocaine. However, scientists are looking to change this, focusing specifically on medications that can address the various neurobiological elements involved in cocaine addiction. So far, there have been some promising results in clinical trials. Disulfiram, which is also used in alcoholism treatment, is of particular interest. While it is not yet known how it works, it has been found to be very effective in some, although not all, people who are addicted to cocaine.

Current research is also considering a possible cocaine vaccine. This vaccine is not designed as a treatment for addiction, but rather to prevent relapse. Essentially, the vaccine causes the immune system to create antibodies that stop cocaine from getting to the brain. So far, tests have shown that the vaccine is safe and that it is effective, albeit only for a short time. The vaccine is currently being improved so that it can become stronger and more effective. Of particular interest is the fact that the vaccine has been shown to work very well in people with a particular genotype, which is now being investigated.

Research is continuing as to how addiction should be treated. Furthermore, many people experience an overdose when using cocaine, and medical researchers are trying to develop a medical intervention to help these people, thereby reducing the chances of overdoses being fatal, or of causing permanent damage. Currently, enzymes are being tested in animal trials and it is hoped that this will soon progress to a clinical trial.

Behavioral Cocaine Rehab and Treatment

Behavioral Therapy

Cocaine addiction is generally treated through therapy, and this has been proven to be very effective, both in inpatient and outpatient rehab facilities. For many drug issues, behavioral therapy is the only option available. With other drugs, however, it has been shown that combining behavioral therapy with pharmacological treatment lowers the chance of relapse the most, which is why intensive research is continuing.

Contingency Management Therapy

Most rehab and treatment facilities now offer Contingency Management (CM) therapy for cocaine addiction. This means that people are given incentives to motivate them to stay away from drugs. These include prizes and vouchers that encourage people not to use cocaine. Patients earn points whenever they have clear urine tests, and these points can then be exchanged for incentives, such as dinners, movie tickets, gym memberships and other things that also support healthy, normal living. CM is generally only effective on the short term, however, which is why it is often used during the first few weeks of rehab, whether it is inpatient or outpatient rehab.

CM has been very beneficial to many different population groups. It has been tested on women with young children, as well as on pregnant women, and they were found to remain free from cocaine longer than those who received the same incentives, but did not have to provide clear samples. Additionally, CM has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of co-occurring disorders, including hostility, distress, and depression.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Another popular form of treatment is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which also helps to prevent relapse. Here, patients are given the critical skills they need to remain abstinence, such as being able to recognize triggers that could lead them to using cocaine, how to avoid these triggers, and how to cope with the issues they face in life. CBT is often used as part of a wider treatment program, thereby maximizing the benefits.

A new form of CBT, known as CBT4CBT, has recently been developed, which is a computerized program that people can access in a clinic. It provides people with important lessons and the ability to develop new skills, in the same fashion as they would through one on one CBT. The program includes movies, quizzes, homework assignments, games, and more. It has been found that those who use CBT4CBT in conjunction with other forms of treatment were far more likely to still be abstinent after six months of treatment.

Therapeutic Communities

Cocaine rehab and treatment can also be provided in therapeutic communities (TCs). These are sober living homes, where people live together with other recovering patients, effectively building a community support network around them. For TCs to be effective, most people need to stay in them for between six and 12 months. These facilities usually offer supportive services such as career and educational advice, helping people to slowly integrate back into society.

Importance of Focusing on the Individual

Every situation of abuse and addiction is completely unique, and different people have different needs. This is why cocaine rehab and treatment has to focus on the patient as an individual, determining what they need in order to best support them as they go back into a life of sobriety. For one person, this may mean gaining new skills to finding a better job. For others, it may mean couples or family counseling so that they can rebuild relationships with their loved ones. Good cocaine rehab and treatment focuses not just on ridding the body and the mind of the substance, it focuses on helping people rebuild their lives. While people do not have to be agreeable to receiving treatment, it certainly helps if they are committed to it themselves as it makes it easier for them to accept the help that is made available to them. Those who want to get help are also more likely to search for more if they find themselves in trigger situations.

Interestingly, it has been discovered that telephone counseling is very effective in the aftercare treatment of cocaine addiction. This is also a low cost option, which is an added benefit. Research has shown that the chance of relapse after three months was greatly reduced in those who receive telephone counseling. When CM was added to this, the results were even better.