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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.

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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14 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.

4:45 am July 6th, 2017

My boyfriend was addicted to Cocaine for many years, and then he finally got clean for 6 years from 2008-2014, He fell off the wagon and used several times from 2014 – 2016. Last week, he went on a 2-day binge, came home for 3 days, and now i havent heard from him in the last 22 hours….which is the longest he’s ever been out of touch with me. I think he probably knows this was the last straw, but i am still worried for his safety. He is 58 years old, and i am sick thinking that this time may have been too much for him and his body. He has not been back home for any belongings….only has the clothes on his back. I have no idea where he is. When he comes back (IF he comes back), i plan on telling him he cannot stay unless he gets professional help. When we spoke about it last week, he refused rehab because he said he has been so many times before, and he knows what he needs to do to get clean. However, I know he wants to be clean and its obvious that he cant do it on his own. Any suggestions for me when he comes back in shame again?

11:27 am July 31st, 2017

I can’t tell if my friend is dependant or addicted but I know it’s a problem he’s doing multiple drugs atleast 5 days out of the week. It has become apart of his everyday life. He doesn’t think he has a problem, he just does it because life is so much better on these drugs I want to help him but I don’t know where to start

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:10 pm August 11th, 2017

Hi Mary Jean. You may need to stage an intervention for your friend. I suggest that you look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions:

12:14 pm September 1st, 2017

So, here’s the story:
I have a friend that has wrapped himself up into a life of partying and doing blow until (and honestly far past) sunrise with an increasing frequency. When once these benders would be once a week, usually weekends, they’ve become entire weekend escapades of poly-drug combinations. It’s the cocaine that’s the ever present insidious element and holds the most profound causal position in the deterioration I’ve witnessed. He dropped out of a great school he worked his ass off to get into and the incessant ego boost that comes from habitual cocaine use has resulted in him justifying his failure with some pseudo-self-realization bullshit. I want to help, but the ego is so overblown that I’m almost certain it will result in the cimplementation erosion of our friendship as he’ll categorize me as “the enemy”, the outside force that doesn’t understand, which, by the way is absolute shit, because I’ve been down the very road he’s on, I’ve stared into the eyes of the monsters that are addiction and depression and have come out alive. The other aspect is a dependence upon the lifestyle that’s metastasized around the [ab]use of this drug, it’s become a seriously ingrained element, and I have no idea if the separation is even remotely feasible at this point. How do I approach this, or do I recognize that it’s on him to affect change in his life and just walk away? Do I lead by example by getting healthy and accomplishing things in life, or what?! I’m lost and literally watching my friend die slowly… line by line.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:40 pm September 7th, 2017

Hi E.C. Have you tried to stage an intervention? You may want to consult with an interventionist about the right approach to your friend.

5:07 pm October 27th, 2017

Please i need help. I’ve lost all my friends. I’ve lost my job. Im losing my hair. Im out of control.
Somebody help me.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:03 pm October 31st, 2017

Hi Peter. Call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant.

8:43 pm November 9th, 2017

all these stories feel like my life. I wish i would have known about his addiction before i got pregnant with our beautiful daughter. I dated him for 2 years (2010-2012) and he was the perfect boyfriend, my prince charming, i never saw it coming. shortly after our daughter arrived (2013) he went out and didnt come home til 6am drunk and drugged. i found the little green cocaine baggie when i was washing cleaning out his pockets to wash his jeans. i will never forget that feeling of desperation. I didnt know what to do, i called his brother and told him what i had found, he loves his brother and i thought his brother would help me, instead he lied to him and told him i was a lying crazy B. ever since then my life was hell. he is a functioning user, started his own business, is making good money. at first he would deny it, after a while he just admitted to it, but according to him he is not addicted, he just uses for the heck of it. fast forward to september 26,2017. he kicked me out of “his” house with out 4 year old daughter. since then it has been a big party every weekend, this weekend he failed to show up to pick up his daughter and show up to her soccer game and didnt show up to take her to school monday morning. I love him and i know 80% of our problems and arguments were over his drug use. now im the B because i do not want my daughter to be alone with him. I am scared he is going to go down hill but at this point he is done with me and hates me and said he stopped loving me over 2 years ago. he is having people over and is doing drugs in the house. Im not perfect but i can tell you that my life revolved around him and my daughter. I did everything and anything for them. I work full time, i am a full time student working on my masters, i did his accounting and bookkeeping and i was the secretary and any other position he needed i was available for him. i was the one taking my daughter to swim class, soccer, gymnastics and her activities. I just feel like im drowning right now. What can or do i do when he is done with me? what can i do about sharing our daughter? i want her to have her father in her life but when she is with him i worry. for the past month and a half i just want to cry and give up. i love him and i want my family together, but he doesnt want help and he hates me. I wish i could count on his family but they hate me because of what he had told them. During his “good” months he is wonderful and we got along great and did family vacations and enjoyed bike riding, and doing so many things. I miss that but i do not know what to do to help. 

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
11:39 am November 17th, 2017

Hi Yolanda. I first suggest that you look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions. One NGO called Allies in Recovery has some online reading that can help:
Also, our contributor, Amanda Andruzzi, writes from a personal experience, and you may leave a comment below each article, so she will give you advice:

4:30 pm December 9th, 2017

Please somebody help me figure out what to do. My boyfriend is addicted to cocaine, a lot of his friends sell it & even though they know it is ruining his life they feed it to him knowing he will take it and its easy money. He has overdosed before in the past. He came home early hours today, in tears and panicking thinking he was dying. His head was pounding and his throat all swelled up. This was at 8am, he’s been in bed since. I’ve tried so many times to help him but i don’t know what to do. Hea lost his home, his job and his family and if im honest he’s going to lose me too soon because i cant cope with the constant worry and mood swings and bike behaviour. He’s so lovely but when he has that in his system he literally doesn’t care about anyone or anything apart from his next bag and will go to extreme measures to get more. He once even beat up a dealer. Please just some advice on what i can do

Maria @ Addiction Blog
4:26 pm December 22nd, 2017

Hi Lauren. All illicit drugs make people act in ways that do not correspond with their original character. However, if your boyfriend is addicted to cocaine, than he should consider treatment as an option to deal with his problem. But sometimes people are not aware of their addiction and live in denial, refusing to see that they have a problem. The truth is, you can only help someone who actually wants help. Make sure not to talk to him when he is under the influence of cocaine. Approach him when he is sober and mention treatment as an option. You can call 1-888-497-6879 to discuss more options.

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