Drug Rehab for Cocaine Addiction
Addiction is a very complex disease that we’ve only just begun to understand. Historically, we associated addiction with immorality with individuals who suffered from substance abuse problems thought to simply be bad people. Over the course of decades of research, we’ve learned that addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease that affects virtually every aspect of an individual’s health and life. But to further complicate things, there’s actually a ton of variation between different types of addiction, whether we’re talking cocaine addiction or some other form of chemical dependency. With cocaine addiction in particular, recovery is certainly possible so long as the individual seeks treatment at a cocaine addiction rehab center.
Since one form of addiction can be quite different from most other forms of addiction, let’s take a moment to consider cocaine dependency and the treatment of cocaine addiction. In particular, how does cocaine rehab work? Are there medications used to treat cocaine addiction? Will a health insurance plan cover the cost of cocaine rehab? And, perhaps most importantly, does cocaine rehab actually work?
How Cocaine Rehab Works
Although there are certain facets of addiction that are consistent across virtually all forms of chemical and behavioral dependency, there are certain distinctions to make between cocaine addiction and other forms of addiction. Further, it’s these distinctions that make cocaine rehabs a vital resource for a successful recovery.
Cocaine is a stimulant drug, which is quite a different substance from other common addictive substances, including heroin and alcohol. While drugs like heroin and alcohol have depressant-like effects — meaning they slow the functioning of the central nervous system — cocaine stimulates the body, causing the central nervous system and all other bodily systems to speed up. As a result, cocaine use is known to cause such effects as an increase in body temperature, increased heart rate, and elevated blood pressure. When an individual abuses cocaine frequently over a prolonged period of time, the body becomes acclimated to the fact that cocaine is constantly stimulating the central nervous system. If the individual becomes unable to obtain or use cocaine for even a relatively brief amount of time, he or she will likely experience discomfort as part of cocaine withdrawal.
The first stage of recovery at a cocaine rehab is to address the physical side of cocaine addiction. Since an individual will experience withdrawal symptoms upon abruptly ceasing the intake of the substance to which he or she is addicted, it’s important to begin the rehabilitation process with detoxification, cleansing the individual’s body and helping him or her to overcome physiological cocaine dependency. Over the course of cocaine detoxification — which typically lasts a period of between three days and a week — the individual stabilizes and becomes ready to begin the treatment phase of recovery.
During the treatment phase of recovery at a cocaine rehab, an individual will participate in intensive psychotherapy and individual counseling. The idea is to help the patient discover the underlying causes or circumstances factors that contributed to the development of his or her cocaine addiction; by learning these causes, the individual is in a better position to overcome his or her addiction while also discovering ways to compensate for those factors to minimize the likelihood of relapsing in the future.
Beyond individual counseling, patients receiving treatment at a cocaine rehab can expect to participate in group therapy. As you might have guessed, group therapy is a form of therapy wherein multiple patients participate in treatment that’s led by one or more therapists. Typically, group therapy is either psychoeducation — meaning that the patients are learning about addiction, life skills, relapse prevention training, etc. — or interpersonal process groups — forms of therapy in which the primary goals pertain to refining social skills, building or repairing relationships, etc.
What Medications Are Used to Treat Cocaine Addiction?
While there are certain forms of addiction for which the use of medication can be an integral and necessary part of the recovery process, there aren’t medications that serve a similarly vital function in an individual’s recovery from cocaine addiction. For instance, Suboxone — a medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone — is sometimes used during the detoxification stage of opioid addiction recovery; however, being that cocaine is a stimulant rather than an opioid or depressant, any medications that might be used would likely be in a minor capacity.
The reason that detoxification is an important step in the addiction recovery process is because it affords a patient with a period of time to overcome the physical side of addiction, ensuring that he or she isn’t trying to deal with withdrawal symptoms while participating in individual counseling, group therapy, and other treatments. Since the experience of withdrawal would hinder a patient’s ability to concentrate on and benefit from these treatments, detoxification is a necessary first step; however, individuals who suffer from a more intense cocaine addiction or who have been addicted to cocaine for an exceptionally long period of time might need the aid of certain medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, affording them a level of comfort as they detox.
During detoxification, there are a few types of medications that might be used to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. One of the most common types of medications used for such a purpose is muscle relaxants, which address some of the more physical symptoms of cocaine withdrawal — such as physical discomfort in limbs and joints, muscle spasms, etc. — to allow the individual to relax. Similarly, sedatives and hypnotic medications can be used to help patients sleep at night. If the patient is experience more severe withdrawal symptoms — including agitation and irritability, mood swings, racing thoughts, paranoia, etc. — a more potent medication such as some type of benzodiazepine might be necessary. The ultimate goal of using medication as part of treatment at a cocaine rehab is to provide as much comfort to patients as possible, allowing them to better focus on their recoveries.
Does Cocaine Rehab Actually Work?
To best understand how cocaine rehab works, it’s necessary to take a moment and explain some of the more specific effects that cocaine has on the brain. When an individual uses cocaine, the drug reaches the brain and causes an immense imbalance in the individual’s neurochemistry. In particular, cocaine causes a flood of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and pleasure. When this happens naturally, individuals experience short bursts of dopamine to cause pleasant feelings, but cocaine unnaturally boosts dopamine levels in the brain. As the brain adjusts to having elevated dopamine levels much of the time, the individual begins to experience discomfort when he or she is unable to consume cocaine, which is how withdrawal symptoms occur.
At a cocaine rehab, the ultimate goal is to help a patient overcome cocaine addiction. As mentioned above, this begins with detoxification, which is the initial phase of treatment to cleanse the body and break the physical or physiological aspects of the addiction. Further, the detoxification period sees the patient’s neurochemistry stabilize with the brain reacclimating to normal dopamine levels, at which point he or she will be experiencing little to no physical withdrawal symptoms. If an individual were to attempt to detox on his or her own, it’s often the case that the intensity of untreated withdrawal symptoms serve as strong motivation to continue using cocaine rather than to endure the withdrawal symptoms. In other words, cocaine rehabs help individuals to stop using cocaine without being coerced into continued use of the drug due to the experience of untreated withdrawal.
The treatment phase of recovery at a cocaine rehab is important, too. During treatment, patients learn why they developed their cocaine addictions, and this information helps them to develop strategies for mitigating those contributing factors so they have the best chances of avoiding relapse in the future. Moreover, the various other forms of treatment that comprise a cocaine rehab program ensure that patients return to their communities with practical strategies for safeguarding their newfound sobriety; this includes being much better at managing stress, avoiding destructive relationships, and even practical skills like financial and career management. At a cocaine rehab, the ultimate goal is to not only help patients get sober but to help them learn how to maintain their sobriety for the long-term.
Does Insurance Cover Cocaine Addiction Treatment?
It used to be that an individual would have to fund substance abuse treatment out of his or her own pocket, but that’s no longer the case. With the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2011, substance abuse treatment became an essential health benefit that’s covered by many government and private health insurance plans. As such, most individuals who need treatment at a cocaine rehab are eligible for their insurance plans to cover most of the cost or perhaps even the entire cost of treatment.
In instances where an individual may not have health coverage, there are still options to fund treatment at a cocaine rehab. Many addiction treatment facilities are offering flexible payment options such as subsidized or need-based pricing and the ability for patients to pay for treatment in monthly installments. Additionally, there are even institutions that offer financing options meant specifically for addiction treatment, so individuals who need treatment for cocaine addiction have several options available to make cocaine rehab affordable and accessible.