Cocaine addiction is a substance abuse disorder characterized by a problematic pattern of cocaine use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by at least two of the following, occurring in a 12 month period:
- Cocaine is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended
- There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control cocaine use
- A great deal of time is spent in activities, necessary to obtain cocaine, use cocaine, or recover from its effects
- Craving or a strong desire or urge to use cocaine
- Recurrent cocaine use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home
- Continued cocaine use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of cocaine
- Recurrent cocaine use in situations in which it is physically hazardous
- Cocaine use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by cocaine
- High tolerance for cocaine use
- Experience physical withdrawals from lack of cocaine use
The above criteria was taken from the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). If you or a loved one meet two or more of the above criteria, there may be a cocaine abuse disorder present.
How does cocaine abuse look in real life? Those who have become physically dependent typically prioritize cocaine over everything else in their life. Individuals who are struggling with addiction may prioritize cocaine over work, school, significant others, children and even their own health. Physically addicted individuals may continue to use cocaine even if they have had legal consequences of their cocaine use.
Treatment for Cocaine Dependence
Treatment for cocaine typically happens over a period of 3-12 months based on the needs of each individual. Many cocaine dependent individuals may need medical detox as their first stop due to withdrawal symptoms they experience when they cease using cocaine but might not be necessary depending on dosage. Medical detox for cocaine typically lasts between 2-7 days. There is typically no treatment in detox as the purpose of detox is to get the patient medically stabilized and prepared to be able to participate in treatment.
After medical detox, many cocaine addicts choose to enter residential (ie inpatient) rehab for cocaine use disorder. Inpatient cocaine treatment typically lasts 28 days or longer. During residential cocaine treatment, clients undergo assessments by professional counselors and physicians and participate in group and individual counseling sessions. Many clients continue to experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms in residential cocaine treatment and those symptoms are assessed and treated in an this monitored treatment center environment.
Stepping Down Through Levels of Treatment
Following residential treatment for cocaine, many clients enter “partial hospitalization” or “day treatment.” Day treatment for cocaine use disorder is typically conducted Monday-Friday for about 6 hours per day (30 hours per week) consisting of group and individual therapy. Clients in a day treatment program typically see a psychiatrist on a regular schedule to continue monitoring of post-acute withdrawal symptoms and other medical issues. Clients will participate in day treatment for 1-4 weeks following residential treatment. Clients at the day treatment level of care may live at their own residence or in a sober living home.
Following day treatment, the next level of care is intensive outpatient (IOP). At IOP level of care, clients participate in group therapy 3 hours per day 3 days per week (9 hours per week of group therapy) and may continue seeing their individual therapist and psychiatrist as needed. Clients at intensive outpatient level of care may live at their own residence or in a sober living home.
Ongoing Testing is Recommended
Alcohol, drug and cocaine testing is an important component of treatment and should be performed at all levels of care.
If you or a loved one suffers from a cocaine use disorder, NorthStar Transitions can help! Please click HERE to verify your insurance and an admission representative will contact you within 24 hours to counsel you on the available treatment options and insurance coverage.