Cocaine is a stimulant drug that makes you feel energized and excited. It’s also highly addictive. When left untreated, cocaine addiction (also called cocaine use disorder) can lead to serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
If someone you love struggles with cocaine addiction, you can take a number of important steps to support their recovery.
How To Support Cocaine Addiction Recovery
To help your loved one recover from cocaine addiction, you must learn all you can about the disease. In particular, understand that it’s not a moral failing or a choice. It’s simply a medical condition that requires treatment and support.
If possible, determine why your loved one started using cocaine in the first place. Many people abuse the drug to cope with stress, grief, or other mental health concerns.
When discussing your loved one’s cocaine abuse, be patient and nonjudgmental. Explain that while you don’t support their drug abuse, you’ll do everything you can to help them find treatment.
Choose The Right Treatment Program
When searching for a cocaine addiction treatment program, make sure it meets your loved one’s needs.
For example, some programs are inpatient, while others are outpatient. In general, inpatient treatment is recommended if your loved one has a moderate-to-severe addiction. Outpatient treatment may work if they have a milder addiction and a stable, supportive home.
In addition, if your loved one has a co-occurring mental health condition (such as depression, schizophrenia, or posttraumatic stress disorder), they should attend a dual diagnosis program. These programs treat addiction alongside other mental health concerns.
No matter what program you choose, ensure it offers services proven to help treat cocaine addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), these services include:
- medical detox, in which treatment providers will help your loved one stop using cocaine with minimal withdrawal symptoms
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in which a therapist will teach your loved one coping skills to manage cocaine cravings and other mental health concerns
- contingency management (CM), in which a therapist will motivate your loved one to stay sober by offering rewards (such as restaurant gift cards or movie tickets) for negative drug tests
- 12-step programs, such as Cocaine Anonymous, in which your loved one will connect with other people recovering from cocaine addiction and learn helpful coping strategies
A good treatment program also offers aftercare planning. That means that before your loved one leaves the program, their treatment team will design a plan to reduce their risk of relapse.
Depending on your loved one’s needs, this plan may include strategies like ongoing therapy, support groups, regular exercise, and employment assistance.
Convince Your Loved One To Attend Treatment
If your loved one refuses to attend treatment, consider staging an intervention. An intervention is a meeting meant to persuade someone to seek addiction treatment.
The intervention should involve other people concerned about your loved one’s drug use, including family and close friends. Each of you should gently but firmly highlight the issues caused by your loved one’s addiction. You should also present a treatment plan you want them to follow.
Also, emphasize the consequences your loved one will face if they don’t seek treatment. For example, explain that if they lose their job, you will not give them money or a place to stay. While these consequences might seem harsh, they can motivate your loved one to get the help they need.
You may want to ask a doctor, therapist, or other professional to assist with the intervention. They can help you rehearse key points and handle any emotional outbursts from your loved one.
Support Your Loved One After Treatment
Once your loved one finishes treatment, watch for signs of relapse. These may include:
- mood swings
- rapid speech
- anxiety, irritability, or confusion
- loss of motivation
- isolation from friends and family members
- changes in eating and/or sleeping patterns
- larger pupils
- weight loss
- decline in personal hygiene
- nausea and vomiting
You may also find cocaine paraphernalia (items associated with cocaine use) in your loved one’s personal spaces. These items include:
- rolled up papers or bills
- hollowed pens
- tin foil
- small mirrors
- razor blades
If you think your loved one has relapsed, talk to them. Remind them that relapse is a normal part of recovery. It doesn’t mean they failed. Instead, it means they need additional or modified treatment, which you can help them find.
If someone you love struggles with cocaine, please reach out to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center. We offer comprehensive substance abuse treatment options to support your loved one’s long-term recovery.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.