Can Cocaine Addicts Recover?
Can cocaine addicts recover? The answer is yes, cocaine addicts can and do recover. A life without the habitual use of cocaine is at hand. Recovery from cocaine addiction is possible. Make the decision to go into cocaine addiction recovery. You are in charge of your life. A life of sobriety can be a good one, full of hope and promise.
However, the road to sobriety will not be an easy one. This is because recovery from cocaine addiction can cause deep and intense changes inside the brain and body which could make the early recovery process difficult.
Cocaine is a white powdery substance that stimulates the brain immediately after use. Some will choose to snort it up the nose, others prefer to mix it with water and inject it. Others will rub it on their gums.
For a new user, it all starts out innocently enough. You are with your friends and decide, just for fun, to try cocaine. All your friends are doing it and you don’t want to be the odd person out. You think to yourself — what harm can it do? Surely, I can’t get addicted if I do it just this one time. This is where the danger lies. Whether you inject, smoke or inhale cocaine, cocaine rapidly increases the brain’s supply of dopamine. Dopamine triggers sensations of pleasure in response to certain actions and behavior.
The following are the effects that first-time users will feel almost immediately:
- Pleasure and feelings of happiness
- A heightened sense of sexual arousal
Since this is the very first experience for the brain, the feelings will be the most intense. For the user, the tolerance builds immediately. The next use of cocaine will elicit decreased levels of pleasure. In this way, the user will almost always go for the next fix and in higher amounts. This is the danger of using cocaine.
Read about How Addiction Changes the Brain
Dangers of Cocaine Addiction
Once a person becomes a cocaine addict, the addiction takes over his/her life. All that preoccupies the addict’s mind is getting the next ‘high’. This craving replaces almost everything else that he/she has enjoyed doing prior to becoming a cocaine addict.
Cocaine addiction disrupts the life of a user by consuming his/her every waking moment. Sometimes the desire to get ‘high’ is so powerful that that is all the addict thinks about.
For the cocaine addict, all the individual about at work, at home and even in the community, is the next fix. In this way, the addict starts to live for the next ‘hit’ which affects how he/she functions around the family, co-workers, and the community. In certain cases, the addiction can make the addict more likely to suffer from other serious illnesses.
Recovery From Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction recovery affects every part of a person’s life. For that reason, treatment needs to affect every part of a person’s life as well.
The first step of cocaine addiction recovery is to stop the use of the drug. You will need to learn new ways to cope with daily life. You will need to relearn how to deal with stress, anger, or social situations and how to have fun without a cocaine ‘hit’.
The key here is to understand that there is a problem and to become motivated to change for yourself. The recovery from cocaine addiction takes time. You may hit bumps along the way as you re-learn to live your life on the road to recovery.
As you begin to recover from cocaine addiction, leverage on the support of your family and self-help groups. Do everything to stay determined and focused on cocaine addiction recovery. Preparing for the your future is worth the effort.
With a supervised detox program, an individual can get sober and then be ready for the next step in the recovery process. Choose a comprehensive program that incorporates a variety of rehabilitative services in the regimen. Cocaine cravings are strong and unyielding. Therefore, look for programs that provide ongoing and comprehensive relapse prevention support. This means that there is a menu of services that treatment counsellors can use to meet the specific medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal needs of the individual to foster their recovery from addiction.
Can cocaine addicts recover? Emphatically yes. Cocaine users can recover from cocaine addiction by seeking help and working with a team of qualified professionals who can offer advice, help, and healing. That help could allow recovering addicts to stave off the call of cocaine after the detox program.
Can Cocaine Addicts Recover?
There are two well known approaches to cocaine addiction recovery:
1) Residential program – People can move into the rehab facility for treatment. At this treatment facility, you will have access to a team of professionals around the clock. The best thing about the program is that you are housed in a completely drug-free environment as you heal. This is the best option for cocaine addicts in recovery.
2) Outpatient program – Cocaine addicts in recovery can continue to live at home, while accessing addiction education through a series of appointments. Some outpatient programs offer daily help. Others offer help a few times per week. This type of program can work well for people with a strong support system at home as well as a strong desire and willingness to get well.
Recovering Champions has a unique and personalized approach to outpatient treatment on Cape Cod. Read more.
Many programs use medications to help in the treatment process. While there is no cure-all medicine that can take away the dependence on cocaine, there are programs that help people stay away from it.
MAT for Cocaine Addiction
To facilitate recovery, medication assisted treatment (MAT) is available to help patients sustain recovery. Treatment medications are needed to help the brain get back to normal. These are slow acting medications that help to gradually stave off drug cravings and have a calming effect on the body. This helps cocaine addicts focus on counseling and other psychotherapies related to their drug treatment.
These medications include:
Methadone, if taken as directed, is a medication that enables a recovering addict to function normally. It prevents cocaine withdrawal for about 24 hours, so this has to be taken daily. Methadone does this by blocking the “high” a person gets from the drug. Some people stay on methadone for only 6 months to 1 year and then gradually stop taking it. Sometimes, recovering addicts relapse and begin to use cocaine again. On the other hand, others stay on methadone for a longer time. This is called methadone maintenance treatment. People receiving this treatment often have good jobs and can lead happy, productive lives.
Buprenorphine is another medication that may be used to treat cocaine dependence and is sometimes used to help people make that transition.
In addition, a doctor treating a patient with buprenorphine may in most cases, provide or refer the patient for counselling.
Naltrexone is a synthetic drug that is used mainly to treat heroin addiction. It works in the brain to prevent the effects of opiate addiction such as feelings of well being and pain relief. It also decreases the desire to take opiates.
Naltrexone is just one part of a complete treatment program for drug abuse which includes compliance monitoring, counseling, behavioral contract and lifestyle changes.
If you detoxify from cocaine and start to take naltrexone, it may not work well unless you have a strong social support system, including someone who will make sure that you continue to take the medication regularly.
Cocaine addicts in recovery can strengthen the recovery process by attending individual counseling. It is also important to go to 12-step meetings. Studies by the NIDA show that doing so will benefit you even if you are a reluctant participant. At such meetings, professionals who understand the ins and out of recovery can give you input, guidance and suggestions on challenges you may encounter along the way.
As a cocaine addict in recovery, your counselor can help you to understand why you became addicted to cocaine in the first place.
In the treatment center, you will also be able to meet other people in treatment who will understand what you are going through. They will share stories of their struggles with you and you with them. In this way, this support group or community of like-minded individuals who want to stop using drugs, who want to mutually support each other and share stories of recovery can uplift and uphold each other’s spirits. This serves to strengthen the recovering addicts’ resolve and determination.
Follow Up Care
Follow Up Care or Continuing Care is needed even after a person has successfully completed a treatment program. As a recovering cocaine addict, the danger of a relapse will remain present. But, the longer you stay in treatment, including follow-up, the more likely you will stay in recovery.
Once you have completed basic treatment, the treatment facility will offer a follow-up care program. Alternatively, the treatment center can refer you to another site. Most programs recommend that a person stay in follow-up care for at least one year as there will be many temptations and cravings for that ‘fix’.
During follow-up care, your support buddy or family member will meet periodically with a counsellor or a group to determine how you are coping and help you to deal with the challenges of recovery.
For a few individuals, particularly those who have been in residential treatment programs, more intensive forms of follow-up care may be helpful. There are halfway houses or sober houses which are alcohol- and drug-free places where you can choose to live after completing a residential program.
Such stays usually last from three months to one year, and counselling is provided onsite or at an outpatient facility. There is the option of transitional apartments that provide small group living arrangements if you need a sober and drug-free living environment. The residents support each other. Here, you can get involved in outpatient counselling and participate in support groups that help to mutually encourage and uplift each other.
The Importance Of Support
The first weeks of cocaine addiction recovery treatment are stressful. Each family member is adjusting to changes, starting to deal with past conflicts, and establishing new routines. Take good care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eat healthy, rest, exercise, and talk to supportive friends and relatives. Your church, mosque, synagogue, temple, or other spiritual organization can also provide emotional support.
Although recovery from cocaine addiction is a big adjustment for you, it is also an adjustment for your family members and support systems. For the past few years, your loved ones may have assumed roles or taken care of tasks that were your responsibilities. Now, as time passes, you and those in your support circle may need to learn new ways of relating to each other and to learn different ways of sharing activities and chores.
Granted, recovery from cocaine addiction will not always be easy. For some, treatment will be less of a challenge. Others may suffer a great deal while they adjust to a new life and try to live a clean life without cocaine.
If you feel sad, angry or confused, these feelings are normal. Don’t get down on yourself.
Preventing Cocaine Relapse
When an addict trying to kick the habit is under stress, his/her brain is primed to call out for cocaine. In many cases, stress and reminders of an addict’s past life such as friends, associates, places and things are common triggers that can lead to a relapse.
To help with this, a relapse prevention therapy can be helpful. This involves:
- Identifying relapse triggers
- Learning to avoid those triggers
- Coping with triggers if they cannot be avoided
- Consistently altering techniques, based on successes and failures
- Learning coping skills which are taught in group therapy sessions in which people have an opportunity to learn and practice together. People in recovery also benefit from individual counselling.
Develop A Mutual Support Community
Cocaine addicts often foster close friendships with dealers, users, and buyers. This locks the addiction in place. During the recovery process, it is important that the community be replaced by a healthier option strengthened by a common purpose.
For many, that sober community comes through participation in Cocaine Anonymous (CA).
CA holds meetings regularly and allows people with an addiction to learn more about how cocaine works and how other people have overcome an addiction. Many meetings are held in person, but according to its website, online meetings run round the clock, every day of the year. Therefore, people who want to recover from cocaine addiction can get help from where they are.
Take the step by step approach to your return. As you work to get clean, almost all your time may be taken up with the recovery process at first. In the beginning of the process, there may not have time for much else. Even if you live in the treatment facility, you may be so busy with treatment appointments that there is hardly any time to socialize with people outside of the program. When you return to your community, go back to work and connect with your family as you try to live a normal life.
A sober living home offers a safe solution for recovering addicts who are transitioning back to the community. Such homes are usually located in residential neighborhoods so that house members feel like they are part of society. However, these have rules and guidelines that support the residents in sobriety.
These homes offer a controlled environments that offer many benefits, including an enforced environment of sobriety, a mandate to attend 12-Step meetings, and social support for recovery. This creates a perfect environment that nurtures cocaine addict recovery, allowing them to work and otherwise participate in the community. It works a little like a transitional step between inpatient care and total freedom. Enrollment in such meetings can help people ease back into society before returning home.
When individuals feel safe and strong in sobriety, they may transition out of aftercare programs. They may no longer need to regularly meet with counselors, live in a sober home, or go to daily CA meetings. They may return to life in the community at large and live a life of sobriety.
Be motivated to change your behavior for yourself. Understand that the recovery from cocaine addiction takes time. There is no instant ‘fix’. This will require determination and a lot of work to re-learn these life skills so you can take charge of your life again.
Every day in recovery is a victory, but maintaining that victory is hard work. Sleep well, exercise, eat right, work on a life of sobriety, avoid temptation, and lean on your support community. These are all essential steps to take to avoid relapse. Do this each and every day.
Recovering Champions provides industry-leading treatment for clients looking to recover from cocaine addition. Start your journey by reaching out to one of our recovery specialists.
Recovering Champions Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.