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Behavioral Treatment Approaches Used in Cocaine Addiction Treatment


Cocaine belongs to the stimulant class of psychoactive drugs, best known for their ability to alter chemical activities throughout the body and speed up bodily functions. With frequent and ongoing use, cocaine’s effects essentially warp the brain’s overall chemical makeup and impair its ability to regulate bodily functions as normal. As of 2013, an estimated 1.5 million Americans used cocaine on a regular basis, according to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.

As of yet, medication treatments for cocaine addiction are scarce so much of the cocaine addiction treatment process relies on behavioral treatment interventions. While cocaine addictions can be some of the most difficult to break, behavioral treatment approaches do a good job at helping recovering addicts take back their lives from addiction’s effects.

The Cocaine Addiction Cycle

The cocaine addiction cycle takes shape over time as the drug’s effects take over brain chemical processes. Cocaine exerts its greatest effects on dopamine production rates, a neurotransmitter that for the most part regulates the brain’s reward system functions. As the main system involved with shaping a person’s drive, motivations and belief systems, any changes to the brain reward system inevitably alters a person’s psychological makeup.

According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, repeated increases in dopamine levels trains the reward system to define cocaine effects as essential to a person’s survival, much like food and water is. These developments drive the cocaine addiction cycle.

Addiction’s Aftereffects in Recovery

Fatigue

You may feel fatigued during recovery.

Even after a person stops using cocaine, addiction’s effects on his or her thinking and behaviors still prevails, which accounts for the high risk of relapse associated with cocaine addictions. Addiction’s aftereffects impair emotion-based functions leaving recovering addicts in a state of constant emotional turmoil. Other effects experienced in recovery include:

  • Problems concentrating and attending to tasks
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to experience joy or pleasure
  • Fatigue

Much of the emotional turmoil experienced in recovery stems from the faulty thinking patterns imprinted on the brain’s reward system. Cocaine addiction treatment uses behavioral treatment interventions to help addicts identify this mindset and replace faulty thinking and behavior patterns with healthy coping strategies.

Behavioral Treatment Approaches Used in Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

As one of the more commonly used behavioral treatment approaches, cognitive-behavioral therapy helps addicts work through the belief systems that drive compulsive drug-using behaviors. During the course of cocaine addiction treatment, recovering addicts learn to develop healthy belief systems and daily habits that work to support continued abstinence from drug use. A big part of cognitive-behavioral therapy entails helping a person identify drug-using cues and triggers, which in turn can help reduce the potential for relapse.

Contingency Management

Contingency management behavioral approaches work to support a person’s motivation to maintain ongoing abstinence in cocaine addiction treatment. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contingency management uses a voucher-based system designed to reward recovering addicts for milestones achieved throughout the course of recovery. Vouchers may take the form of free movie tickets, free dinners at local area restaurants or activities that encourage healthy living, such as free gym memberships.

Support Groups

Ongoing support group attendance and participation acts as a type of long-term behavioral treatment, providing those in recovery with ongoing support and guidance as they progress through the recovery process. Twelve-Step support groups in particular incorporate a plan for personal development that helps recovering addicts manage addiction-based thinking behaviors on a day-to-day basis.

Over time, behavioral treatment interventions equip those in recovery with the tools needed to overcome the psychological aftereffects of addiction and develop drug-free lifestyles.

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