Cocaine Addiction Treatment Process
Many people see the glamorized Hollywood version of the cocaine addiction treatment process. Unfortunately, the version seen in movies and on television is not the most accurate version. Although each rehab facility has a different process, there are many similarities that exist amongst widely used treatment programs that are aimed at assisting those who suffer from cocaine abuse and addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are two basic types of treatment when it comes to cocaine addiction: inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment is residential treatment where an addict will stay at the facility for most if not all of the treatment. Likewise, with outpatient treatment the recovering addict will attend sessions at a rehab facility on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Although the actual process varies depending on which of these two types of treatment are chosen, most treatment falls within a few basic steps which include: intake, detox, rehab, and recovery.
Intake is the very beginning of treatment during which assessment takes place to determine the severity of the addiction and an appropriate treatment regimen. The first appointment in a rehab center will be the intake and assessment phase.
An intake specialist will take a detailed history of your background, drug use, symptoms, and health. During the history it is important that you do not lie. It does not help and could actually be dangerous. They will ask you questions about:
- Your health including: any medical problems, any mental health issues, any mental health issues in your family, family history of medical problems, and any problems that you think you might have physically.
- Your drug use including: all drugs you have used past and present, all drugs you are currently on both illegal and prescription, how much cocaine you use, how you use it and whether you smoked it, snorted it, or injected it, and anything else you think might be important.
- Your previous treatment history.
A drug test and physical will take place to assess your physical health. This important step of the intake process will help the treatment provider to determine out how you might react to withdrawal. Withdrawal is a difficult process. The treatment staff will assess you to make sure you are healthy enough to undergo withdrawal safely. During the physical assessment a treatment provider will perform:
- Tests on heart rate and respiration
- Blood tests
- Drug testing
- A general examination
Financial counseling may take place during the intake process to find out how you plan on paying for treatment. This can include financial affidavits, government aid, and insurance coverage.
Care coordination will begin. You will meet the team that will be caring for you or if you are in outpatient treatment you will schedule the appropriate appointments with your treatment team.
Check-in to the rehab facility will immediately follow the assessment and intake process. During this time the assessment forms are filled out and if you are an inpatient client, you will actually check into the facility. This portion also usually involves an assessment of your belongings if you are entering inpatient treatment.
During the intake process, a treatment specialist will go over:
- the rules and regulations of the treatment center
- your patient rights and responsibilities
- the laws regarding privacy
- what happens if you break the rules
- what happens if you drop out of treatment.
Detox is the process of the actual physical withdrawal from the drug. This is often the most traumatic and possibly dangerous part of the treatment process. Fortunately, most cocaine addicts will not suffer from dangerous withdrawal, but there will be symptoms that require support and treatment during this challenging time. Most people who go through cocaine detox describe it as unpleasant but not impossible particularly with treatment.
- Inpatient detox – during inpatient detox treatment staff will monitor your medical condition 24 hours a day. Depending on your level of cocaine use or the presence of other drugs, they might even use an EKG or other equipment. Usually medication will be provided to help with the symptoms of withdrawal, but such options can only alleviate, not cure these symptoms. During early detox, treatment will also begin for any other illnesses or underlying conditions.
Keep in mind that during detox it is important to tell your doctor or the staff about any problems that you are having so they can be dealt with rapidly.
Counseling is available 24 hours a day during inpatient detox. According to the National Library of Medicine, mental health and drug use are linked. Most psychological symptoms start to present themselves during detox.
- Outpatient detox – during outpatient detox the patient will return to the rehab daily for treatment and monitoring. Depending on the level of cocaine use or the presence of other drugs, outpatient treatment may take place daily, weekly, bi-weekly or in another schedule. Doctors and staff might recommend: Counseling appointments, medications used to treat the withdrawal symptoms, and medications used to treat the psychological symptoms.
Cocaine detox often involves a variety of physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. These are the symptoms that the detox portion of the cocaine addiction process helps to treat. Some of the symptoms you might experience during detox include:
- heart rate fluctuations
During cocaine rehab the focus will be on finding and treating the cause of the addiction as well as treating the addiction itself. At this point in treatment, you should be over the acute withdrawal phase and entering into the post-acute withdrawal phase. This phase is characterized by intense cravings and random withdrawal symptoms. It is often the most frustrating phase of treatment.
Rehabilitation is one of the most important phases in both inpatient and outpatient recovery programs. The rehab phase is very similar in both types of treatment. During this phase you will:
- Learn How to cope with triggers – triggers are people, places, and things that enabled you to use drugs. They can be psychological or physical and often combine elements of both. Learning how to deal with triggers is extremely important in preventing relapse.
- Participate in self-esteem building activities – lack of self-esteem is a major cause of drug use or abuse.
- Learn how to deal with the cause of your addiction – whether this is stress, anxiety, social issues, confidence, or another issue, counselors and other treatment staff will help you learn better ways of coping with your addiction.
- Learn how to live without the drug addiction – many people forget how to live without the cocaine to rely on. Most people get so wrapped up in the cycle of drug abuse they forget how they did anything before it.
- Figure out what to do about damaged relationships – drug use damages your relationships with friend and family. Learning to deal with this damage and how to correct it is an important part of any recovery program.
- Learn how to take care of yourself mentally and physically – self-care is an important part of dealing with addiction. Eating healthy and exercise will help you feel better and may help with the withdrawal symptoms.
Learning to live without the cocaine is extremely difficult. During rehab many people experience the desire to relapse. The techniques you learn during this phase of treatment will help to prevent that relapse from occurring.
When you reach the recovery portion of cocaine addiction rehabilitation, you will have most of the tools that you need to remain sober in the future.
Recovery is the final portion of treatment. You are almost ready to leave the rehab program, counselors and doctors work with you to make sure you do not relapse once you exit the treatment program. They will also help to explain aftercare and continuing treatment options.
As you exit treatment you will go over detailed discharge instructions as well as how to avoid triggers in your home environment. You will be ready to avoid the physical triggers and to cope with those you cannot reasonable avoid. The staff you are working with will help you decide which is which.
Aftercare is recommended during recovery to ensure continued sobriety. Aftercare may include continuing counseling and other services to help you maintain your recovery. Many rehabs offer lists of helpful aftercare activities and coping mechanisms. Quality aftercare can assist you in remaining drug free for the rest of your life.
Although rehab centers each have slightly different programs, most provide a similar treatment process to help patients get well. It is important to choose a rehab center that has a program that will work best for you.