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How to help a cocaine addict

It takes a lot of time, energy, and willingness to begin to understand cocaine addiction and what an addict goes through. Whether you need help with cocaine addiction for yourself or for a loved one, the key to successful treatments for cocaine addiction is to have a combination between psychosocial support, medical assistance, and a good aftercare plan. We review what you can do to help an addict get the treatment s/he needs. And then we invite your questions about helping a cocaine addict at the end.

Help a cocaine addict quit

The first thing you can do to address addiction with someone that you love is to understand the difference between drug dependence and addiction. Cocaine addiction does not necessarily overlap with physical dependence to cocaine. Addiction triggers strong cravings and loss of control over cocaine use, despite the negative consequences. And physical dependence is best described as the body’s need for cocaine to perform normally. When a cocaine dependent person does not have cocaine, withdrawal symptoms occurs. However, a cocaine addict can be addicted to cocaine without being dependent on it.

Still, dependence and addiction can occur simultaneously for cocaine addicts. The bottom line is that in order to address cocaine addiction, you need to be ready to treat both physical needs of the body as well as psychological urges of the mind. And the first phase of cocaine addiction treatment is generally detox. What happens during detox?

Helping an addict during cocaine detox

Detoxification is the process during which cocaine leaves the body, including its metabolites. During this period, a cocaine addict can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms, especially extreme fatigue and continued cravings for cocaine. The psychological urge for more cocaine is repetitive and isoften accompanied by depressed mood, agitation, restlessness, vivid and scaring dreams.

In fact, cocaine detox is not an easy process to facilitate. Medical supervision is highly recommended to minimize risk of relapse. General physicians, family doctors are medical professionals address the acute withdrawal symptoms as they occur. But the absence of the biochemical dopamine in the brain can cause discomfort and it will take time before the body returns to feeling “normal” again.

Keep in mind that detox is only the first step of cocaine addiction treatment. Detox is an acute period and should be followed by evaluation, stabilization and then entry into an addiction treatment program. Aftercare plans are esepcially inportant during cocaine addiction treatment, because chances for relapse are always high if cocaine addicts are not monitored for a certain period of time after they finish detox.

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Helping a cocaine addict friend

1. Be informed about addiction treatment. During the course of cocaine addiction treatment, addicts usually:

  • are medically monitored and given medications when needed
  • attend individual, group and family therapy
  • attend support group meetings, such as Cocaine Anonymous
  • are invited to participate in sober recreational activities
  • are offered educational sessions about the nature of cocaine addiction
  • make a plan for relapse prevention

2. Offer support, but know that you can only do so much. Cocaine addiction treatment include elements of psychological support, psychotherapy, and/or behavioral therapies. While psycho-social support can come both from the family and friends of the cocaine addict, psychotherapy is essential to any drug addiction treatment. This is the part of treatment that you cannot facilitate; it’s up to the individual to address dyfunction in the mind and dig deeply into negative patterns. Psychotherapists use individual and group sessions to get to the root cause for cocaine use (often triggered by trauma).

3.Know that interventions might show limited results. Interventions are one of the most popularly practiced methods that family and friends use to address cocaine addiction. The final goal of an intervention is for a cocaine addict to accept admission to an addiction treatment program. However, unless an addict is internally motivated to change, interventions may be perceived as group bullying sessions.

Self help cocaine addiction

Can a loved one treat themselves for cocaine addiction? Yes, there is always the option for self help for cocaine addiction. And of course one of the biggest resources for information on how to maintain a successful self help process is through a support group.

Support groups are fully peer-led organizations that offer a combination of guidance, support and encouragement. Peer support groups can be very useful because socializing with people who share similar problems leads to mentoring and networking between those in need and those who have overcome cocaine addiction. First hand information on how to deal with depression, isolation and inner weakness can be a life saver. Support groups such as 12 step programs, SMART Recovery, Life Ring, and others offersimple but specific steps that lead to successful recovery from cocanie addiction.

Get help cocaine addiction

Who to contact to begin the process of cocaine addiction treatment? Cocaine addiction treatment is not a simple thing to organize. You need to be well prepared and informed about all the possibilitiesout there within the frame of your budget. Following are some recommendations when planning for cocaine addiction treatment.

  • Talk to your family doctor or physician to get the best references for addiction treatment center in your area.
  • Research all treatment facilities in your area as well as the requirements they have for future patients
  • Get contacts and recommendations for the .best clinical psychologists to offer psychotherapy and consider visiting sessions with the whole family.
  • Read online about the variety of cocaine addiction treatments and all of their pros and cons and decide which combination will suit your loved one best.
  • Identify all support groups you or a loved one may have access to.
  • Go through the local governmental websites to check for nay updates on the addiction treatment vouchers.

Helping a cocaine addict questions

Still have questions about how to help a cocaine addict get the treatment s/he needs? Make sure you post your questions or comments in the comments section at the bottom of the page. We hope to respond quickly with a personal answer.

Reference sources: National Institute of Drug Abuse Drug Facts: Cocaine Abuse
National Institute of Drug Abuse: Principle of Drug Addiction Treatment
National Library of Medicine: Web-Based Cognitive Behavioral Self-Help Intervention to Reduce Cocaine Consumption in Problematic Cocaine Users: Randomized Controlled Trial

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

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3 Responses to “How to help a cocaine addict
11:05 am November 30th, 2015

Well seriously this drug addiction sucks and I know it very well as one of mine friend was suffered from this addiction. The drug addiction ruined his life and he lost all the money and yeah family too.

7:27 am May 28th, 2017

Hello, my name is Cindy, my son and his girlfriend are on cocaine.i really need help to help them, they have 6 children in the house with them and I felt something was going on, but everytime that I will ask them are they on any drugs, the answer is always no until yesterday,they told me the truth that they are using..what can I do to help..

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
11:38 am May 30th, 2017

Hi Cindy. I suggest that you call the Cocaine Helpline on 1-888-497-6879 to get in touch with dependable hotline professionals available 24/7. You will be talking to someone knowledgeable about cocaine abuse, rehab and recovery centers who can help you find a cocaine recovery program.