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How to Help Someone Addicted to Cocaine

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Knowing how to help a friend, family member, peer, or coworker with an addiction to cocaine is difficult. Addiction can take a serious toll on relationships, making a conversation about addiction treatment even more challenging. While this type of intervention can be uncomfortable, it is worthwhile, and it can initiate treatment and recovery for the person you care about.

In this article, we’ll talk about cocaine addiction and statistics, signs and symptoms that a loved one is addicted to cocaine, how to approach a loved one about their cocaine addiction, types of cocaine addiction treatment, and how to find treatment and rehab for your loved one.

Cocaine Addiction and Statistics

If you’re battling an addiction to cocaine, you’re not alone. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2020, there were 1.3 million people aged 12 and older with cocaine use disorders.1

Cocaine is a powerful and short-acting stimulant drug produced from the coca plant.2 Also known as coke, blow, and snow, cocaine is a highly addictive drug that looks like fine, white powder. Cocaine is usually snorted, injected, or smoked.2

Cocaine can produce sensations of energy and euphoria and is highly addictive, with great potential for misuse. Chronic use of cocaine can lead to cardiovascular problems, as well as infections and other issues associated with injection drug use.

How to Tell if Somebody Is on Coke

If you’re concerned that a loved one is either on coke or addicted to cocaine, some of the more common signs and symptoms include:2

  • High levels of happiness and energy.
  • Irritability.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Mental alertness.
  • High sensitivity to sight, sound, and touch.
  • Restlessness.
  • Extreme and unreasonable distrust of others (paranoia).
  • Nausea.
  • Tremors and muscle twitches.

How to Approach a Loved One About Their Cocaine Addiction

One of the most important things to remember when approaching a loved one about their cocaine addiction is to be understanding and compassionate. You want to make sure your loved one knows that you fully support their recovery and recognize that addiction is a struggle that will not be easy to overcome. Emphasize that you will support them through the entire cocaine addiction treatment process, including potential relapse scenarios. This sort of encouragement and relief can make a huge difference for someone misusing cocaine, who may already be feeling alienated by their drug habits.

Try to avoid language that stigmatizes your loved one or their addiction, and don’t blame them for it. As much as you can, try to speak to them as though they are suffering from any other disease. Addiction is widely recognized as a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain.3 While it may have been your loved one’s choice to use in the beginning, the changes that take place in the brain make it extremely difficult for them to stop.

Your loved one may express anger or rationalize their drug use and deny that it’s a problem. This is common. Express that you don’t want to see them suffer and ask if they would be willing to get help. If they don’t agree right away, don’t blame yourself—give it time and ask again.

Approaching someone with cocaine use disorder to talk about their addiction and potential treatment options can feel intimidating, but with proper preparation, you can make the most important difference in their life.

CRAFT

Professional guidance can be extremely helpful through this process. Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is an effective, evidence-based approach.4 CRAFT involves meeting with a therapist to train in preparation for confronting an addicted loved one. You will learn:4

  • How to cope with stress relating to the person’s cocaine use.
  • How to communicate effectively with the user.
  • How to avoid enabling, destructive behaviors.
  • The best way to present and incite treatment enrollment.

Regardless of how you choose to approach your loved one, make sure you remember that cocaine addiction is a difficult thing to fight, but having a supportive network can make all the difference in the world for a person’s recovery.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

There are currently no FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine addiction, so treatment focuses on behavioral therapy techniques that have been shown to be effective. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the following have shown success in cocaine addiction treatment:

  • Contingency management, also known as motivational incentives, offers those in recovery rewards for maintaining sobriety.5
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) will help you practice coping techniques to prepare you to resist future relapse temptations.5
  • The Matrix Model has been shown to be especially effective in treating stimulant abuse. In this therapy, you will engage with family and group therapy, addiction education, relapse prevention, and self-help groups. You will also take regular drug tests to guarantee sobriety.6

Many types of outpatient treatment programs are available to cocaine users. During treatment, you’ll attend group therapy sessions and lectures on drug abuse, addiction, and recovery. If you choose to attend an outpatient program, it’s important that you have a strong support system at home to help ensure your recovery. If you believe you won’t be able to avoid triggers and will have easy access to drugs, however, you may wish to pursue inpatient treatment instead.

Inpatient cocaine treatment facilities are more structured. You are required to stay at the facility for the duration of your treatment. When you first arrive, you will likely complete the detoxification process. Rehab centers have medical staff onsite to help you through any withdrawal symptoms you might experience, such as depression, mood swings, and fatigue.

Once the detox process is complete, you will then attend individual and group therapy sessions and educational lectures and learn how to live without cocaine. Your time spent at the facility focuses on your recovery and prepares you to face the outside world without using drugs.

Post-Treatment Options

The end of rehab doesn’t mean the end of treatment. You can transition from rehab to an outpatient program or sober living facility where you can live in a sober environment and enjoy a supportive atmosphere. During sober living, you will learn new skills to ensure that you stay sober when you’re back home. You may also take advantage of various aftercare services, such as continued behavioral therapy and mutual support groups.

Find Treatment and Rehab for a Loved One

When trying to find rehab services for a loved one, you may have to reach out to multiple facilities. You may also call a drug abuse helpline to discuss your treatment options. It can benefit you and save you time if you have your loved one’s health insurance information at hand.

The facility may be able to tell you right away if they accept your loved one’s health insurance, as well as if they offer ways to make treatment more affordable, such as financing, loans, or sliding scales. A sliding scale is an adjustment of cost based on the patient’s financial need. Some programs may offer scholarships on a case-by-case basis.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to battle your addiction alone. Cocaine addiction help is available, and drug rehab centers help people fight their addictions every day. American Addiction Centers (AAC) maintains a strong partnership with a large group of insurance companies at our addiction treatment facilities.

Start the journey to recovery and find out instantly using the form below if your insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab and associated therapies. Call free at to speak with an AAC admissions navigator today.

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Lauren Brande, MA, has dedicated her life to psychological research. She started off her career with a scholarship from the Western Psychological Association for her undergraduate work in perceptual processing. In 2014, she achieved her master of arts in psychology from Boston University, harnessing a particular interest in the effects that drugs and trauma have on the functioning brain.

She believes that all research should be accessible and digestible, and her passion fuels her desire to share important scientific findings to improve rehabilitation.

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