Cocaine Drug Rehab

Cocaine abuse and addiction represent a significant health problem in the United States. In recent years, this problem has increased, inflicting significant harm on addicted individuals, their families, and society, as well as creating the need for heightened cocaine drug rehab efforts. Many individuals with cocaine problems have other substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Cocaine is taken by mouth, inhaled through the nose, injected into the veins, and smoked. In recent years, the number of crack users entering cocaine drug rehab has increased. Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system (CNS) to produce an increase in energy and motor skills; a heightened sense of sensory arousal, pleasure, and euphoria; a decrease in appetite and the need for sleep. It affects judgment and behavior as well.

Consequences of Delaying Cocaine Drug Rehab

Without adequate cocaine drug rehab, patients can expect to experience a number of physical, behavioral, and social problems, which may include any of the following:

Physical Effects
Cardiovascular Problems (hypertension, arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, myocardial ischemia, myocardial infarction, etc.)

Head and Neck Problems (erosion of dental enamel, rhinitis, perforation of nasal septum, etc.)

Central Nervous System Dysfunction (migraines, seizures, etc.)

Pulmonary Damage (lung damage, pneumonia, chronic cough, etc.)

Other physical effects include acute renal failure, sexual dysfunction, spontaneous abortion in pregnant women, and infections (HIV, hepatitis B or C, tetanus) from sharing needles. The immediate physical consequences of cocaine dependency are addressed through detox prior to cocaine drug rehab.

Psychological Effects
Poor judgment, anxiety, depression, suicidal feelings and behaviors, insomnia, emotional instability, irritability, aggressive behavior, and psychotic symptoms. Symptoms of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, panic disorder, depression, or mania can also be triggered or exacerbated by cocaine use or withdrawal. Cocaine drug rehab allows patients to explore the root causes of their addiction through in-depth counseling and alternative therapies.

Familial and Social Effects
Damaged relationships, child abuse or neglect, loss of job, accidents, prostitution, spread of infections, criminal behaviors, violent behaviors, and homicide. Most cocaine drug rehab facilities offer family therapy, and connect patients with support mechanisms so they can successfully readjust to society after residential treatment.

Studies on Cocaine Drug Rehab

As a result of the significant health and social problems caused by cocaine abuse and addiction and the need for cocaine drug rehab, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has sponsored a number of studies of different cocaine treatment approaches. This Group Drug Counseling (GDC) manual describes one of the psychosocial treatments developed for use in a multi-site clinical trial called the Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study (CCTS). The study was conducted at Brookside Hospital in Nashua, New Hampshire; the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic) in Pittsburgh; and Harvard Medical School (McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston) (Crits-Christoph et al. 1997, pp. 721-726). All study sites randomly assigned cocaine dependent clients to one of four treatment conditions:

Individual Drug Counseling (IDC) with GDC (Mercer and Woody 2000).
Individual Supportive-Expressive Psychotherapy (SEP) with GDC (Luborsky 1984).
Individual Cognitive Therapy (CT) with GDC (Beck et al. 1993).
GDC alone.

Each of the three individual treatments, IDC, SEP, and CT, and the GDC treatment were described in manuals that guided the clinical approach used with clients in cocaine drug rehab. All study therapists participated in intensive training and ongoing supervision during the course of the pilot study and the main clinical trial, and their work was taped and independently rated to ensure that they adhered to the specific model of treatment they were using. IDC, SEP, and CT involved 6 months of active treatment. During the first 3 months of treatment, counselors offered clients individual sessions twice a week. During months four through six, counselors offered clients individual treatment sessions once a week. Cocaine drug rehab clients were offered monthly booster sessions during months seven through nine, and could select a total of 39 individual therapy sessions while they participated in the treatment protocol. In addition, all clients assigned to the three individual treatment groups were offered GDC sessions weekly for 24 sessions:12 weekly sessions in a structured psycho-educational group and 12 weekly sessions in an unstructured problem solving group. Thus, clients assigned to any of the three individual treatments could attend up to 63 individual and group sessions during the study.

One of every four cocaine drug rehab clients was randomly assigned to GDC alone, and short case management sessions were available to them as needed. These clients primarily participated in group sessions and were offered 24 sessions during a 6-month period, followed by monthly individual case management sessions during months seven through nine.

Development of the GDC Model

The GDC approach was developed based on extensive clinical experience conducting addiction recovery groups and on a review of the relevant literature. Group therapy is one of the primary approaches used in cocaine drug rehab and other addiction recovery venues. (Rawson et al. 1989; Washton 1989; McAuliffe and Albert 1992; Vannicelli 1995; Washton 1997; Khantzian et al. 1999). Treatment groups are used throughout the continuum of care, from inpatient to intensive out-patient to aftercare programs. Cocaine drug rehab clients often complain that addiction treatment provided only in groups is too limited, and many want individual as well as group sessions. Experience in this study as well as in clinical work supports the notion that a combination of individual and group treatment in cocaine drug rehab is preferable.

The GDC model addresses common issues in the early and middle stages of recovery from addiction. The philosophy of the GDC approach is that cocaine addiction, and other chemical dependencies, are complex bio-psychosocial diseases that are often chronic and debilitating. Many biological, psychological, sociocultural, and spiritual factors interact to contribute to the development and maintenance of cocaine and other types of substance addictions (Daley and Marlatt 1997).

Addiction causes or exacerbates a variety of bio-psychosocial problems in the addicted person as well as in the family. Adverse consequences associated with addiction include medical diseases, psychological and psychiatric disorders, family and interpersonal problems, and legal, economic, occupational, academic, and spiritual problems (Weiss and Mirin 1995; Earley 1991).

Adaptation of the GDC Model to Community Programs

Although the research study found that all cocaine drug rehab programs helped patients improve, the combination of IDC and GDC produced the best results (Crits-Christoph et al. 1999, pp. 493-502). Community addiction outpatient treatment programs may not be able to offer as many treatment sessions as were offered in the treatment research study due to constraints imposed by managed care and changes in funding substance abuse services. Even with limited sessions, an IDC + GDC treatment model can be offered. For example, if a client is approved for 20 outpatient sessions, 12 could be offered as group sessions and 8 as individual sessions. While group sessions can be provided weekly, individual sessions can be spread out every several weeks or more so that patients stay connected to treatment for at least 3 months. Evidence shows that drug abusers need a minimum of 3 months in outpatient treatment to benefit from treatment (Simpson et al. 1997). Because keeping clients in treatment for 3 months or longer is important, clinicians should use multiple strategies to improve treatment adherence in cocaine drug rehab. (Daley and Zuckoff 1999; Carroll 1998; Blackwell 1976; Meichenbaum and Turk 1987; Daley et al. 1998).

Signs that Cocaine Drug Rehab Is Needed

Although each client may demonstrate a unique pattern of cocaine addiction, he or she will manifest three or more of the symptoms listed below. These are based on the following criteria for substance dependency from DSM-IV of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association 1994, pp. 175-272). These symptoms will only escalate without the benefit of proper cocaine drug rehab.

  • Excessive or inappropriate use of cocaine to the detriment of obligations at home, at work, or with others; feeling as if cocaine or other substances are needed to fit in with others or function at work or at home; or driving under the influence of cocaine.
  • Constant preoccupation with acquiring and using cocaine and living mainly to get high on cocaine while obsessively engaging in its pursuit.
  • Change in one’s tolerance for cocaine: For example, needing more to get high and experience the same effects as one did during their initial uses.
  • Having trouble reducing or abstaining from cocaine: For example, not being able to control how much or how often one uses cocaine, or using more than planned. These symptoms are sure signs that cocaine drug rehab is now a necessity.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon cessation or limitation of cocaine use, such as tremors, nausea, runny nose, and headaches, or experiencing mental symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or agitation. Withdrawal symptoms are better managed during detox and cocaine drug rehab.
  • Use of cocaine to avoid or stop withdrawal symptoms and prevent sickness and pain.
  • Using cocaine or other substances even though they cause problems in one’s life: For example, ignoring a doctor’s, therapist’s, or other professional’s advice to stop using because of the problems cocaine has caused.
  • Giving up important activities or losing friendships because of cocaine, and discontinuing involvement with activities and people that once were important because involvement with them cannot include cocaine abuse.
  • Stopping cocaine abuse for a period of time (days, weeks, or months), only to begin again: For example, promising to quit using cocaine only to begin getting high again, and being unable to permanently stop. Even intermittent long-term abuse should be addressed with cocaine drug rehab.
  • Incurring financial, legal and social trouble due to cocaine abuse: For example, job-loss or the inability to find a job; arrests and other legal problems; trouble with family or friends; and money problems.

Addicted individuals often enter cocaine drug rehab feeling demoralized and out of control. They enter a treatment program to help them regain perspective and control over their lives. Thus, treatment must provide a safe, structured environment through regular, frequent contact with the treatment staff.

Abstinence from all drugs is the primary goal of treatment in the treatment protocol-cocaine drug rehab is no exception. Changing one’s lifestyle, solving problems, and improving coping skills are additional goals that help support the overall aim of abstaining from cocaine and other substances.

Participation in Self-Help Programs

The GDC model strongly encourages participation in 12-Step self-help recovery programs such as Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The importance of actively participating in these programs is emphasized in group sessions. Cocaine drug rehab facilities put clients in touch with support groups in their area. Talking at meetings, learning and using the 12 Steps, socializing before and after meetings, calling other members, and relating to a sponsor are ways clients can actively participate in the fellowship. Analysis of data from the CCTS showed that clients who actively participated in self-help activities after residential cocaine drug rehab had better outcomes than those who attended meetings without actively participating (Weiss 1996).

Successful Cocaine Drug Rehab and Treatment

The best cocaine drug rehab programs will include behavioral therapy such as counseling, cognitive therapy, psychotherapy, medications used in some combination. Behavioral rehab therapies offer people strategies for coping with their drug cravings. Cocaine rehab and treatment teaches ways to avoid drugs and prevent relapse, and helps clients deal with relapse if it occurs. When a person’s drug-related behavior places him or her at higher risk for AIDS or other infectious diseases, behavioral rehab therapies can help to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Case management and referral to other medical, psychological, and social services are crucial components of treatment for many patients. The best cocaine drug rehab programs provide a combination of therapies and other services to meet the needs of the individual patient, which are shaped by such issues as age, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, parenting, housing, and employment, as well as physical and sexual abuse.

Cocaine drug rehab and treatment also varies depending on the characteristics of the patient. Problems associated with an individual’s cocaine addiction can vary significantly. People who are addicted to cocaine come from all walks of life. Many suffer from mental health, occupational, health, or social problems that make their addictive disorders much more difficult to treat. Even if there are few associated problems, the severity of the cocaine addiction itself ranges widely. Many people believe rehab and treatment is ineffective. In part, this is because of unrealistic expectations. Many people equate cocaine addiction with simply using drugs and therefore view cocaine addiction as an easily curable disease. In reality, because cocaine addiction is a chronic disorder, the ultimate goal of long-term abstinence requires sustained effort and sometimes repeated cocaine drug rehab attempts.

Detox and Cocaine Drug Rehab

A professionally administered detox period allows clients to better prepare for cocaine drug rehab. Because cocaine is water soluble, it goes through the body very rapidly. Although long-term cocaine use can cause significant and far-reaching physical consequences, there is no actual medical detoxification process for cocaine withdrawal. A cocaine addict may suffer from acute psychological as well as physical side effects of general drug abuse. Psychological withdrawal symptoms may include some form of depression as well as a strong craving for cocaine.

Cocaine Drug Rehab and Medication

Although NIDA’s Medications Development Division has made considerable progress in their pursuit, as yet no medications are approved for use in cocaine drug rehab. However, data from treatment programs using a variety of psychological and behavioral therapeutic approaches indicate that outpatient cocaine treatment can be successful. NIDA is supporting the development of new behavioral interventions that are showing increased effectiveness in decreasing drug use by patients undergoing treatment for cocaine abuse.

One of the most important steps in developing a cocaine dependency treatment medication is conducting human clinical studies to establish a proposed medication’s safety and efficacy. Three years ago, when NIDA and leading cocaine researchers first met to look at how clinical trials of potential cocaine drug rehab medications were being conducted. They found that differences in methodology and outcome measures made it difficult to assess and compare the results of different studies.

Dr. Betty Tai of NIDA’s Medications Development Division (MDD) said at a recent meeting of NIDA-funded cocaine researchers, that clinical trials of medications for cocaine drug rehab have come a long way since that initial workshop. The meeting was the culmination of a series of workshops NIDA’s MDD has been holding with its treatment researchers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and members of the pharmaceutical industry since 1992 to identify and resolve practical problems researchers have been confronting in conducting such clinical trials.

Through these meetings, workshop participants have identified issues that are critical to the design, implementation, analysis, and interpretation of the results of clinical trials of medications for cocaine abuse and dependence. The participants have also established and upgraded standards for conducting and evaluating these clinical trials and have developed clinical guidelines for deciding whether or not to take a proposed cocaine treatment medication further down the rigorous and costly path of safety and efficacy testing required for approval of a treatment medication by the FDA.

“Probably the most critical elements in clinical trials of cocaine treatment medications are outcome measures,” says Dr. Tai. When MDD scientists reexamined data from early clinical trials, they found that individual investigators had used a mix of outcome measures to determine whether or not a medication worked, such as self-reported reductions in drug use or improvements in a patient’s mental state or well-being. These researchers may have used many of these measures simply because an instrument was available to assess them, but they do not meet current standards for categorizing a drug as therapeutically effective, says Dr. Tai.

Through the clinical workshops, NIDA’s MDD and the FDA have established four primary outcomes for assessing the safety and efficacy of a medication to treat cocaine abuse. Clinical trials of proposed cocaine drug rehab and treatment medications now measure:

  • Patients’ drug use by urinalysis or self-report, preferably both
  • How long patients remain in treatment
  • The physician’s global assessment – a clinician’s subjective assessment of how well a patient is progressing to a drug-free state compared to similar patients
  • Patients’ self-assessment of their own progress to a drug-free state

The establishment of four core measures does not preclude individual researchers from looking at other outcome measures, such as the medication’s effect on depression, which may be related to cocaine abuse, says Dr. Charles Grudzinskas, who directs NIDA’s medications development program. However, the use of these four basic measures “will permit us to compare apples to apples, so that when we commission a meta-analysis a few years from now, people will be able to compare results using the same measures,” he says.

Many of the workshops have also addressed the difficulties in assessing one of the core outcome measures – cocaine use. Early clinical trials often measured cocaine use with qualitative urinalysis. However, this method, which is used in workplace drug testing, only gives a positive or negative reading based on whether or not a preset amount of benzoylecgonine, a cocaine metabolite, is present in the urine when the test is performed. Because this method does not tell researchers the actual concentrations of benzoylecgonine in the urine, they cannot use it to determine if a medication is having a positive effect in cocaine drug rehab.

“Methods for conducting clinical trials of proposed cocaine medications have been getting much more sophisticated,” says Dr. Tai. Now, almost every NIDA-funded trial is double-blind and placebo-controlled. Researchers have also started using quantitative urinalysis to measure precise levels of cocaine in the urine. This method can give researchers a clearer picture of the effect of a medication on the extent of drug use, she says. At the workshop last fall, Dr. Kenzie Preston of NIDA’s Division of Intramural Research showed how researchers can take that assessment one step further by using both quantitative urinalysis and patient self-reports of cocaine use to obtain a more accurate assessment of the timing, episodes, and amount of actual cocaine use than could be determined by either measure alone.

If you or a loved one is in need of quality cocaine drug rehab, please call the National Center for Cocaine Addiction (NRCCA) at (888) 515-7707 so we can find you a program that’s right for you.

Finding cocaine treatment centers, cocaine detox programs, cocaine drug rehabs can be a difficult and frustrating process. Contact the National Referral Center for Cocaine Addiction anytime toll-free at (888) 515-7707 or through our online form, for our recommendations of the best medically licensed detox centers for you or your loved one!

Detox should never be attempted in your home or without medical supervision at a licensed cocaine detox facility.