Once an individual has used cocaine excessively or repeatedly for a prolonged period of time, physical and psychological elements of dependence are likely to set in. Cocaine addiction then becomes very difficult to break, but it is possible. The cravings and uncontrollable urges to continue using cocaine often arise in the early days following the last dose of cocaine and while cocaine detox continues, such cravings often stick around for weeks or months causing consistent challenges for the user.
The risk of relapse following the decision to quit using cocaine is very high, especially when withdrawal symptoms are at their strongest point. As symptoms recede and the user is able to stabilize, the risk of relapse will gradually become less prevalent and the user will gradually heal. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the very first step to getting sober is to make the decision to remain abstinent from cocaine abuse. Following that daring and bold move, the user will begin to undergo a period of cocaine detox during which a wide range of symptoms will pose challenges in terms of remaining abstinent and sober.
According to the National Library of Medicine, many of those who abuse cocaine also suffer from underlying or co-occurring health conditions such as mental illness. Depression and ADHD are very common in those who abuse cocaine. Left untreated, these mental health conditions can increase the risk of relapse for the user even if he or she is committed and willing to do whatever it takes to remain clean. In order to break free from cocaine addiction and to heal, the user must receive adequate treatment, support and care that is suitable to their unique needs. This will include medical treatment for withdrawal symptoms, counseling for emotional symptoms and support for psychological symptoms of the addiction.
What is Cocaine Detox?
Cocaine detox is the very first step in recovery. It is the time when the user has first made the decision to remain abstinent from the drug use and to work toward recovery. During cocaine detox, the user will feel many symptoms of withdrawal and will have to endure the symptoms without turning back to using cocaine. A medical team or treatment professional will work to stabilize the patient during this difficult time. Upon completing a cocaine detox program in which the patient is stabilized, the user will be prepared to enter into a long-term residential or outpatient treatment facility in which he or she will receive counseling and therapy to aid in their recovery from cocaine addiction.
Methods of Cocaine Detox
There are no FDA approved medications for cocaine detox at this time. What this means is that the user will not be provided with any medications that will curb cravings during detox. This does not mean that there are no effective medications that can work to treat some of the other symptoms of cocaine withdrawal such as anxiety, paranoia or depression. Various medications can be prescribed in cocaine detox to help the user feel better.
Many people who attempt to quit using cocaine on their own mistakenly believe that they can treat their symptoms on their own. Unfortunately, self medicating to control symptoms does not work and often leads to greater problems with substance abuse and addiction. It’s important to keep in mind that cocaine detox should be undergone with proper supervision to ensure the safety of the user and to ensure that he or she does not suffer dangerous consequences as a result of relapse.
Behavioral treatment is ideal during the recovery process, even as early as the first few days or weeks when cocaine withdrawal symptoms are still very much a part of the user’s life. Many different types of behavioral therapy or treatment are used even in cocaine detox. These treatments work to help the user manager symptoms of withdrawal and effectively cope with cravings. Some of the methods of cocaine detox and behavioral treatment involve:
- talking with a counselor about cravings and triggers to learn how to avoid such in the future
- working with a therapist to overcome challenges in recovery
- working with a psychologist to cope with underlying mental health issues or stress
- spending time in a support group with others who are also in recovery
Generally, users can begin with a minimally invasive method of treatment and try it out. If the treatment works, there’s no real need to work into a more invasive or intense form of treatment. However, if the treatment is not effective it is advisable to move into a more invasive program and to continue to move up in intensity until you find a program that is most effective for your needs. For instance, you may start out with seeking the support of Cocaine Anonymous and then realize that the support is not quite enough to help you remain sober, so you move up to an outpatient cocaine addiction treatment facility. If such help works, no need to change but if outpatient help doesn’t work, you move to an inpatient or residential facility.
No matter how heavily addicted to cocaine you may be, there is help! Choosing a cocaine detox program that can help you get sober is the first step to your recovery. There are a number of options to choose from that can help you to get sober and to remain that way despite the odds. First, consider how heavy your addiction is; if you are heavily addicted and use cocaine everyday, you may be best suited to a cocaine detox program that provides around-the-clock care such as a residential facility. If you are not heavily addicted, start out by talking to a friend or loved one about your addiction and seeking support in that way. You can always work your way up to a higher level of support or treatment if needed.
The help that you choose will depend upon your addiction, your health, your budget and your goals both in recovery and in life. Inpatient treatment is the safest and most profound method of care for you but it can be costly. If you’re not physically dependent or do not suffer from serious withdrawal symptoms when you quit using cocaine, consider the supportive treatment and care that comes from outpatient treatment. It tends to be more affordable and still provides the treatment that you need to stay sober. Ultimately, the help that you choose will work as long as you are: committed, ready and willing to let the treatment work for you.