If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine addiction, we encourage you to seek professional treatment. At Meta Addiction Treatment, we provide flexible outpatient treatment programs to help you recover on your schedule.
Cocaine addiction is a compulsive, chronic, physical, and psychological need for cocaine. Generally, most people with an addiction to cocaine have trouble quitting the substance even after experiencing adverse effects and consequences. Because of this, living with an addiction to cocaine can affect nearly every aspect of an individual’s life, from their career and education to their personal life and relationships.
Abusing cocaine can damage the physical body, interfere with an individual’s mental health, and weaken their cognitive ability. An addiction to cocaine can also negatively affect an individual’s education, career, and finances. It can also put a strain on some of the most important relationships in an individual’s life. Excessively using cocaine might even cause legal trouble. Individuals may not recognize it at first, but cocaine can easily cause their lives to spiral out of control. Luckily, there are many effective ways to treat cocaine addiction. Enrolling in a professional treatment program, detoxification, behavioral therapy, and attending peer support groups can all help individuals overcome addiction.
In this article, we’re going to review what you need to know about cocaine, where it comes from, and how it affects the brain and body as well as best practices for treating cocaine addiction. If you have any questions about your or a loved one’s cocaine use, you can reach us 24 hours a day for a free consultation.
Quick Facts About Cocaine
Cocaine is an addictive drug made from the leaves of the coca plant, which is native to South America. As a stimulant drug, cocaine speeds up activity in the central nervous system. Because of this, when individuals use the drug, they may temporarily feel excited, alert, focused, and energetic. But once the effects dissipate, they might feel lethargic, depressed, irritable, weak, and have trouble concentrating, which may make you want to use cocaine again. This can often create a vicious cycle in which an individual uses the drug and then turns to the drug once again to lessen withdrawal symptoms following their most recent use.
Even though cocaine originally comes from a plant, it’s one of the world’s most addictive drugs. Here are a few more facts everyone should know about the substance.
- Cocaine comes in two forms: powder cocaine and crack, or processed cocaine that’s been formed into a crystal rock that people can smoke. Crystal rock cocaine is called “crack” because the rocks make cracking sounds when they are heated.
- Cocaine is a crystalline white powder. Crack cocaine looks like a small rock, chunk, or chip that can be an off-white or pink color.
- Street dealers tend to “cut” or mix cocaine with other substances like cornstarch, talcum powder, or sugar. They might also mix cocaine with other stimulant drugs such as amphetamines or synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, which can increase users’ risk of overdose and death.
- Other names for cocaine include “coke,” “snow,” “rock,” “blow,” “flake,” “nose candy,” “C,” or “powder.”
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) identifies cocaine as a Schedule II controlled substance, which means that cocaine has a high potential for abuse that can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
- The recreational use of cocaine is illegal in the United States. Under Massachusetts law, any form of cocaine is considered a Class B controlled substance. Possession of a Class B substance can result in up to 1 year in jail for a first offense. For a second offense, you can face up to 2 years in jail.
- Cocaine can be injected into the veins, smoked, sniffed, or snorted.
- Even a single use of cocaine can harm the body.
Crack Versus Cocaine: What’s the Difference?
As we noted above, crack cocaine is a form of cocaine that has been processed to form a hard, rock-like substance that is often a shade of white or pink. Crack first became widely popular in the 1980s, when the drug was widespread in American cities. Since then, it has remained one of the most common street drugs used in the United States.
Crack cocaine is popular because of its potency, availability, and relatively cheap cost. Yet the low cost that makes crack appealing for users also makes it highly dangerous. This is because illegal street drug manufacturers often make crack by mixing pure cocaine with a variety of other chemicals, some of which (such as baking soda) can be relatively harmless while others (such as prescription medications) can be very harmful. Because crack is a street drug, there is no way for users to fully understand or detect the types of chemicals that were used when the drug was created. This is a risk for both cocaine and crack users and can contribute to overdoses and fatal medical complications.
For many years, scientists and researchers believed that crack caused a higher level of medical and mental health complications than standard cocaine. As research has advanced, however, scientists now better understand that both crack and cocaine can cause significant negative impacts on an individual’s brain and body. While crack cocaine may cause stronger or more sudden symptoms due to its potency, both drugs have the potential for long-term health consequences.
Nonetheless, a stigma persists about crack use, even though both drugs are equally dangerous and harmful to the user. Professional addiction treatment programs can help educate individuals that no street drug is safe and that addiction can take hold of a person regardless of their life circumstances, socioeconomic status, or background.
How Cocaine Addiction Develops
Even though a single use of cocaine can be dangerous, cocaine addiction typically develops over time. When consumed, cocaine enhances the effects of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, in the brain. In addition to making individuals feel good, dopamine is responsible for memory, learning, and motivation. By increasing the effects of dopamine, cocaine:
- Makes you feel happy, elated, and energetic at first
- Encourages the brain to remember the drug as a “feel-good” substance
- Teaches the brain to crave cocaine
- Motivates the brain to desire more of the substance
The more an individual uses cocaine, the more their brain stops producing dopamine naturally. This means that the brain now starts to depend on cocaine instead of natural sources of dopamine for pleasure. In response, the brain starts to crave cocaine more often, which compels individuals to use more of the substance more often, paving the way to addiction.
Why Cocaine is So Addictive
Like many drugs, cocaine affects the brain’s reward pathways. These circuits in our brain reinforce positive behaviors like eating and exercise. At the same time, however, our brain’s reward pathways can also reinforce harmful or negative behaviors that “feel good” such as eating fatty foods, consuming high amounts of sugar or processed ingredients, and taking recreational drugs. This is because dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure, is involved in our reward-seeking behavior, whether that behavior is positive or negative.
The part of the brain that is responsible for the release of dopamine also associates that release of the neurotransmitter with positive emotions, such as happiness or euphoria, as well as a sense of motivation. This is what keeps us motivated to continue a particular behavior, whether that behavior is good for us (such as exercise) or harmful (such as taking drugs, drinking alcohol, or eating junk food).
In other words, we can experience a dopamine release after we exercise (such as a “runner’s high”) but also after we eat a large unhealthy meal or consume drugs or alcohol. The brain and body don’t differentiate between whether the experience was good for us or harmful for our health.
One key difference between the dopamine released under normal circumstances and the dopamine released when we take drugs or drink alcohol, however, is the amount. In standard circumstances, our body releases dopamine to communicate between the different neurons in our brain, which helps us tell our brain to produce pleasure chemicals and motivate us to continue that behavior. For example, we experience an increased level of dopamine when we eat food that we particularly enjoy or go for a run.
Once the dopamine has delivered its message to the brain in these normal circumstances, another brain chemical known as a transporter saves the dopamine chemical for future use. This is the brain’s way of “resetting” back to normal after a pleasurable experience.
When we take drugs or consume alcohol, however, dopamine doesn’t behave the same way. This is because the chemicals found in drugs and alcohol change the way our brain behaves. In the case of cocaine, we experience the initial increase in dopamine when the drug enters our system. When the transporter chemical arrives to save the dopamine neurotransmitter for later, however, cocaine stops the brain from taking this action. This means that instead of “resetting” back to normal, the brain is flooded with more dopamine than it could ever produce naturally. This leads to the intense and short-lived “high” associated with cocaine use.
This also means that the brain quickly becomes accustomed to a much higher level of dopamine than it would experience in normal life. As a result, individuals who take cocaine on a regular basis may experience intense cravings as the brain seeks out that artificially high dopamine level on a regular basis.
So what does this mean for our long-term brain health?
As you can imagine, the stress that cocaine places on our brain — including disrupting its basic functioning — also can cause long-term damage to our brain. This damage can make it more difficult for us to think, make rational decisions, control our emotions, and remember important details. Individuals who take cocaine on a regular basis may feel confused, lethargic, lost, or forgetful as their brain struggles to cope with the presence of the drug.
Researchers are still studying why cocaine has such a devastating effect on our brains. Nonetheless, they are able to identify some areas where cocaine clearly impacts our brain health.
One study found that long-term cocaine use changes the role of the neurotransmitter glutamate in our brain, causing an imbalance within one of the most important chemical messengers in our body. In non-addicted brains, glutamate helps us with our memory, ability to learn, and other vital processes. In the brains of individuals struggling with addiction, however, glutamate appears to play a different role and may actually reinforce addiction. As neuroscientist Marc Dingman writes, “Addiction is really just a type of learning—perhaps learning gone haywire, but learning nonetheless…In addiction, however, unlike other learning processes, seeking becomes obsessive and compulsive.”
Additional research indicates that stress may also play a role in ongoing cocaine addiction. As we know, stress is a major driver of addictive behaviors. Many people turn to addictive substances as a coping mechanism for stressful experiences and moments. Life stressors such as unemployment, poverty, abuse, and relationship challenges can also make us more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol.
Scientific research now points to another role that stress can play in our addictive behaviors: in tests, animals that had been frequently exposed to cocaine were more likely to turn to the drug during stressful moments. Researchers believe this same behavior may apply to humans who take cocaine frequently. In fact, research indicates that the more cocaine an individual takes, the more likely they are to turn to cocaine during stressful moments in their lives.
While not surprising, other research shows that long-term cocaine use can affect the way we think about ourselves and the world. One study found that individuals who took cocaine on a regular basis had difficulty making healthy decisions, struggled to understand why their drug use was harmful to themselves and others, and weren’t able to be critical of their own self-destructive behaviors.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Not everyone who uses cocaine becomes addicted to the substance. However, statistics show that approximately 1 out of every 4 people who use cocaine recreationally becomes addicted to the drug. Unfortunately, addictive habits can be so compulsive that many individuals may not even realize they have an addiction to cocaine until others around them start to notice physical, psychological, and behavioral changes.
Recognizing the signs of cocaine addiction may be difficult at first, but as time passes, people grappling with substance abuse start to exhibit physical, behavioral, and emotional signs that indicate addictive behavior. Individuals living with an addiction to cocaine may have drug paraphernalia such as needles, pipes, spoons, razor blades, or small plastic bags hidden in their homes or cars. They may also have white residue on hand-held mirrors, magazines, books, or other surfaces in their homes.
Physical signs of cocaine addiction tend to include:
- White power residue around the nose
- Dilated pupils that are sensitive to light
- Bloodshot or watery eyes
- Needle marks on hands, forearms, legs, or feet
- Rapid breathing and quick shallow breaths
- Constant runny nose or frequent sniffling
- Chronic nosebleeds
- Nose sores
- Frequent sore throat
- Restlessness and shaking hands
- Congestion that’s not a result of a common cold, the flu, or seasonal allergies
- Headaches or fever
- Bloated or puffy cheeks (known as “coke bloat”)
Additionally, someone with a cocaine addiction may also exhibit behavioral signs that include:
- A decreased appetite
- Insomnia, or decreased desire for sleep
- Extreme mood swings (i.e. feeling extremely energetic followed by anger and depression)
- Increased paranoia, anxiety, or depression
- Neglecting hobbies and activities they once enjoyed
- Increased isolation
Cocaine-induced psychosis can also cause individuals to experience bouts of:
- Violent, aggressive behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
If an individual has taken cocaine for a long period of time, you may notice significant changes in their behavior. This is especially noticeable if the individual is a friend, family member, or loved one whom you have known for a long time.
The reason for these changes is that cocaine greatly impacts the brain, which can, over time, change an individual’s mood, outlook on life, behavior, decision making, and ability to be self-critical.
For example, your loved one may, at one time, have been able to handle regular life stress relatively well. For example, a work deadline or a school assignment, while stressful, wouldn’t have triggered anger, mood swings, or paranoia.
Over time, however, if your loved one uses cocaine on a regular basis, they may no longer be able to cope with life stress as effectively. Small daily annoyances or deadlines may cause significant emotional reactions, including extreme anger, depression, anxiety, pessimism, or frustration. This is because the neurotransmitter chemicals in their brain have been “re-wired” by cocaine use. What were once manageable daily tasks can quickly become major obstacles that cause them to temporarily shut down.
Other common behavioral signs of addiction include a loss of interest in family, friends, or hobbies that an individual once enjoyed, as well as sudden poor performance at work or school.
Individuals who take cocaine regularly may be extremely focused on obtaining and taking more of the drug. This is often to stop the effects of withdrawal, which is the process in which the brain and body adjust to the lack of the drug in their system. Withdrawal can be painful, upsetting, and, in some cases, life-threatening.
Withdrawal from cocaine can occur just hours after individuals stop taking the drug on a regular basis, which leads many addicted individuals to seek out more of the drug compulsively in order to avoid symptoms. While many withdrawal symptoms may resemble common flu-like concerns, individuals may be at risk of developing further health complications, including challenges related to their breathing and heart.
If your loved one decides to stop taking cocaine after a period of long-term use, it’s critical that they seek help from a professional addiction treatment program or medical professional. In this case, they will need to undergo a process known as detoxification, or detox, in which they are able to carefully remove the drug from their body. Effective addiction treatment is only possible after an individual has undergone detox.
Detox should be overseen by medical staff who can assist the individual with managing common symptoms including nausea, muscle or body aches, lethargy, and emotional mood swings, including anxiety, depression, and fear. In some cases, medical staff may choose to carefully administer medications to manage withdrawal-related symptoms and keep the individual more comfortable. The length and intensity of the detox process depends on the amount of cocaine an individual consumed prior to treatment, how long they consumed the drug, and whether they have underlying mental or physical health conditions.
Common withdrawal symptoms associated with long-term cocaine use include:
- Lack of energy
- Depression or anxiety
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of interest in outside activities
- Vivid or frightening dreams or nightmares
- Disrupted cognitive abilities
- Difficulty with memory or concentration
- Body pain or aches
Luckily, with proper guidance, individuals can safely undergo the detox process and be ready for professional addiction treatment to follow.
How Cocaine Addiction Affects The Body and Brain
Cocaine and crack can be extremely damaging to the brain and body whether they’re used once or more frequently. As a stimulant, cocaine speeds up activity in the central nervous system only minutes after it is ingested. Even though this heightened activity can make individuals feel alert, confident, and energetic, the rate of physical exertion used when individuals consume cocaine can cause a number of adverse side effects.
As activity in the central nervous system ramps up, individuals may experience:
- Fast heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- High blood pressure
- Severe anxiety
- Insomnia and trouble sleeping
- Impaired judgment
- Sudden death from cardiac arrest
Cocaine can also have more lasting, permanent effects on the brain and body. Abusing cocaine can wreak havoc on almost every organ in the body, but research shows that the substance can especially damage the following organs:
- Heart. Researchers in Australia described cocaine as the perfect “heart attack drug.” Cocaine’s effects on the heart are so potent that even a healthy first-time cocaine user can have a heart attack. Even though cocaine makes the heart pump faster, the substance also narrows the blood vessels, reducing the amount of oxygen traveling to the heart. This forces the heart to work harder. In an article for Canada’s Vice Magazine, writer JS Rafaeli said that using cocaine is “like putting your foot on the accelerator while pinching the fuel line.” Chronic cocaine abuse can lead to atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, or hardening of the arteries, which is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.
- Nose. When individuals snort cocaine, blood vessels in the nose shrink and then widen, which causes constant red, runny, stuffed-up noses. When used repeatedly, the blood vessels in the nose become permanently damaged, diminishing an individual’s ability to smell. Snorting cocaine can cause a loss of blood supply to the septum and eventually cause the bridge of the nose to collapse.
- Lungs. Smoking crack can cause “crack lung,” a potentially fatal condition characterized by severe chest pains, high body temperature, and trouble breathing. Cocaine use can also cause individuals to cough up blood. Prolonged cocaine addiction can also increase an individual’s risk for respiratory infections and a collapsed lung.
- Immune system. According to a groundbreaking study, cocaine compromises a protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6), which helps your immune system fight off infections. Because of their compromised immune system, individuals with an addiction to cocaine also have an increased risk of developing hepatitis or HIV as a result of sharing needles to inject the drug into their veins.
Women who may be pregnant and use cocaine risk a variety of different health challenges, including:
- Premature birth
- High blood pressure
- Dangerous or challenging labor/delivery
- Harm to the developing fetus
Babies whose mothers used cocaine during their development often:
- Are premature
- Are underweight
- Have smaller head sizes than children from non-addicted mothers
- Have reduced height compared to their peers
- Have higher risk for behavior problems
- May have difficulty with attention or memory
- May have difficulty with language and long-term planning
Cocaine can also have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health, both while they use the drug and afterward. Cocaine use can lead to a variety of different mental health challenges, particularly if an individual already has a predisposition to mental health complications. For example, cocaine use can trigger mental health concerns including:
- Self-centered thinking
- Unease, displeasure, or negative outlook (also called dysphoria)
- Disordered eating, including anorexia
- Deluded thinking
- Inability to feel pleasure (also called anhedonia)
Researchers also believe that individuals who use crack cocaine may experience additional mental health complications due to the potency of the drug. These challenges could include:
- Increased risk of anxiety
- Higher levels of paranoia
- Increased risk of psychotic behavior (including negativity, emotional detachment, lack of personal responsibility, or eccentric and unusual behavior)
- Higher likelihood of aggressive or violent behavior
A major European research study found that cocaine users frequently struggled with co-occurring mental health disorders, including conditions like antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In a study of cocaine and crack users across different cities in Europe, the researchers found that individuals were more likely to experience mental health complications if they used heavy amounts of either drug on a regular basis, had poor physical and mental health, and had difficult social circumstances, such as being unemployed or living in poverty.
Luckily, receiving professional treatment for cocaine addiction can help lessen, prevent, and potentially reverse some of cocaine’s adverse health effects.
How Is Cocaine Addiction Treated?
Even though cocaine is one of the world’s most addictive drugs, professional addiction recovery programs like the ones we offer here at Meta Addiction Treatment can help individuals overcome addiction.
Luckily, treatment for cocaine addiction is possible. In fact, individuals who seek professional outpatient treatment may be able to lower their relapse risk and develop a support network while still maintaining life responsibilities and commitments.
Generally, effectively treating cocaine addiction involves:
Treating an addiction to cocaine begins with clearing all traces of the drug from the body. This process, also known as “detox,” includes managing withdrawal symptoms which can range from fatigue and anxiety to depression and nightmares. Some individuals also have trouble concentrating, an increased appetite, cravings, chills, nerve pain, and muscle aches. The detoxification process can last anywhere from a few weeks to many months depending on an individual’s cocaine use. As the body becomes free of cocaine, treatment shifts to addressing harmful thoughts, feelings, and circumstances that may have contributed to an individual’s addiction.
Because the withdrawal process from cocaine can be physically dangerous, it’s vital that individuals seek detoxification assistance from a professional addiction treatment program or medical professional. If individuals try to undergo the withdrawal process on their own, they risk becoming incapacitated or unable to reach medical care in the case of a complication. Additionally, a professional detox program can help individuals better understand their addiction and guide them towards appropriate treatment resources.
In addition to identifying destructive patterns, behavioral therapy helps individuals develop healthy coping mechanisms that can help them maintain their sobriety. This aspect of treatment can include medication and a range of therapies. Here at Meta Addiction Treatment, we offer the following therapies and clinical services:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which can help individuals identify, combat, reframe, and change negative thoughts.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, which can help individuals understand, process, and overcome challenging emotions.
Behavioral therapy often includes both individual and group therapy with a trained and licensed therapist. In these sessions, individuals can explore the underlying factors that may have influenced their cocaine use. These can often include life circumstances, traumatic experiences, personal or professional crises, and underlying mental health conditions. Therapists can help individuals understand the “why” behind their addiction and develop healthy coping mechanisms to reduce their risk of future relapse. Behavioral therapy should be a core component of any successful recovery program but may be supported by medication-assisted treatment as deemed appropriate by a treatment program’s medical staff.
At Meta Addiction Treatment, our therapists provide both individual and group therapy using both CBT and DBT modalities.
Treatment for any co-occurring disorders
Quitting stimulants can trigger a wide range of mental health challenges. Detoxing from cocaine can cause individuals to experience depression, anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, hallucinations, and even suicidal thoughts. Because of this, most professional treatment programs, including ours, also help treat any co-occurring disorders that may have existed alongside the addiction to cocaine.
As we noted earlier, cocaine addiction often co-occurs with other mental health conditions including personality disorders, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. That’s why it’s so important that individuals seek treatment not only for their addiction but also for any mental health conditions that they are also experiencing. Research shows that treatment programs must address both addiction and mental health conditions simultaneously in order to be effective for the long term.
At Meta Addiction Treatment, we provide support for co-occurring disorders through our trained and licensed clinical staff, who ensure that each treatment plan is fully customized to meet client needs and long-term recovery goals.
12-step programs and peer support groups
Recovering from an addiction can be difficult. 12-step programs and peer support groups can help support, encourage, and motivate individuals to continue to make positive changes in their lives.
Most treatment programs will connect clients to appropriate community-based 12-step programs in their community, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA). At Meta Addiction Treatment, we also incorporate peer support groups into our own treatment programs so that clients can learn from each other and develop recovery networks for everyday life. Many clients find that they develop lasting, supportive friendships through peer support sessions and other group activities.
Why Seek Professional Addiction Treatment
When they are ready to get sober, sometimes individuals feel they can manage their recovery on their own or with the help of friends and family. Unfortunately, addiction is a complex and difficult disease to treat which involves both physical and psychological dependence. For this reason, we recommend individuals seek professional addiction treatment to assist in their recovery.
Among the benefits of professional addiction treatment programs include:
- Experienced, trained, and licensed personnel. Access to experienced, trained, and licensed addiction treatment professionals is one of the most important benefits of enrolling in a treatment program. In order to work as addiction treatment professionals, staff must meet stringent requirements that govern their education, training, on-the-job experience, and relevant certifications. You can be assured that the individuals responsible for your or a loved one’s care during addiction treatment must abide by strict ethical and legal codes, as well as have access to ongoing research and best practices for addiction treatment. Professionals in addiction treatment centers can include licensed therapists, addiction counselors, interventionists, addiction medicine experts, and support staff.
- Evidence-based treatment programs. Most leading addiction treatment programs are evidence-based, meaning their therapeutic modalities are based on scientific evidence and research. For example, the best practices of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy derive from clinical research led by academic teams who study whether these approaches are effective for addiction treatment. An additional advantage of evidence-based programs is their ability to adjust treatment modalities to accommodate new and emerging research breakthroughs. As we discover more about addiction, evidence-based programs are better able to adapt their approaches to make sure clients receive proven and trusted treatment.
- Access to medical expertise if needed. In some cases, individuals enrolled in addiction treatment programs could benefit from medication-assisted treatment or other forms of medical intervention. In other cases, individuals may struggle with mental health conditions that require the oversight of a medical professional. In an addiction treatment program, clients benefit from having access to on-site medical professionals who can diagnose relevant conditions and adjust treatment programs accordingly.
- Structure and support. One of the biggest challenges facing individuals in recovery is the need for ongoing structure and support to help them maintain their recovery for the long term. A lack of structure and support from others is one of the biggest reasons that individuals relapse and return to addiction. Professional treatment programs help reduce this risk by providing a strong framework for recovery across multiple different phases. At Meta Addiction Treatment, for example, we help our clients through three different phases of outpatient treatment to help prepare them for everyday life. Even after clients leave their formal treatment program, they can still benefit from the resources and connections they gain during addiction treatment.
- Access to peer networks. One of the most challenging aspects of addiction is the isolation that often accompanies the disease. For many people struggling with substance use, it’s all too easy to become disconnected from friends and family and even lose jobs and educational opportunities. Professional addiction treatment programs can help restore those connections. At Meta, we provide peer support groups so clients can connect with others who are experiencing similar life challenges and begin to rebuild their social connections. Additionally, the majority of our executive leadership are in recovery themselves, meaning they can provide an additional level of empathy and support for individuals who are looking to get sober for the long term.
Helping a Loved One Overcome Addiction
While individuals may admit to their drug use when confronted, it is far more common for addicted people to deny that they have a problem and refuse to get help.
In those cases, family members and friends can seek the help of an addiction treatment professional to help organize an intervention. An intervention is an organized and pre-planned event that aims to help addicted individuals realize the extent of their addiction issues and how they impact both themselves and others. In a typical intervention, family members and friends of the addicted person will take turns sharing ways in which the person’s addiction has harmed their lives. A professional interventionist usually accompanies the family and friends throughout the process, which culminates with a request to the addicted person to get help. If they agree, the interventionist will facilitate their safe transfer to an addiction treatment program.
If you are helping a loved one manage their cocaine addiction, be prepared that you may face significant resistance to enrolling them in a treatment program.
As we noted above, working with an addiction treatment professional can make a difference. In some cases, individuals may benefit from a professionally staged intervention that can bring family members and friends together to directly address a loved one.
Should an intervention succeed, your loved one can enroll in an addiction treatment program that can help them move towards a stable recovery.
If the intervention falls short, your addiction treatment partner will probably suggest an alternative approach, perhaps changing the setting, messages, or participants for a future intervention. Frustratingly, it is ultimately up to your addicted loved one to agree to accept and attend treatment.
When your loved one does agree to enroll in a treatment program, you can still provide support and care as they recover from addiction. For example, at Meta Addiction Treatment, we incorporate family members and friends into the recovery process through group therapy and other programs. When looking for a treatment program for your loved one, it’s wise to consider a program that involves family members in the client’s recovery.
After your loved one completes treatment (or during the treatment process if they are attending outpatient treatment and living at home) you can continue to support them. Educate yourself about their addiction and understand the risks facing them when they complete treatment. Many individuals will need to reinvent their lifestyle, including who they spend time with, where they go, and what they do in their free time, in order to reduce their relapse risk. Understand that your loved one may make dramatic changes to their life in order to maintain their recovery. As long as those changes are healthy and positive, try to support their goals and recovery journey.
When helping a loved one recover, you will be faced with good days and bad days. Sometimes your loved one will make incredible progress towards their recovery goals. At other times, they will fall short or feel stuck. Don’t be afraid to turn to your loved one’s addiction treatment program for support.
Empowering You to Live A Cocaine-Free Life
Your cocaine use may start recreationally but can quickly spiral out of control. Chronic cocaine use puts strain and stress on your heart, lungs, and brain, and will gradually become damaging to your mental health and thinking abilities. An addiction to cocaine can be hard to beat but living a cocaine-free life is possible.
Our flexible outpatient programs can help you live the sober life you want and deserve. Best of all, our programs allow you to progress in your recovery while still going to work, attending school, or taking care of your family. We understand that recovery must be effective both inside and outside your treatment program and we work hard to help you apply the lessons learned in treatment to your everyday life. For individuals who need sustained support while fulfilling life responsibilities, outpatient treatment with Meta Addiction Treatment can be an ideal fit.
If you’re not sure whether outpatient treatment is appropriate for you, take our assessments for individuals struggling with addiction and their loved ones.
Let us help you reach a path of long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn more.