Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Table of Contents

Cocaine addiction can be hard to overcome, but effective treatments can help people recover and live a drug-free life.

How Does Cocaine Work?

Cocaine hydrochloride is a powerful stimulant and an addictive drug that can severely affect the central nervous system and the body.

It increases dopamine levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter involved in reward, motivation, and pleasure. Dopamine is usually released in response to natural stimuli, such as food, sex, or exercise, and then recycled back into the neurons.

Cocaine blocks the recycling process, causing a buildup of dopamine in the synapses, the gaps between neurons. This leads to intense euphoria and a sense of well-being, making cocaine users want to repeat the experience.

Dangers of Long-Term Cocaine Use Disorders

After long-term cocaine use, the brain adapts to the excess dopamine by reducing its sensitivity, making it harder to feel pleasure from natural stimuli or the same amount of cocaine.

This is called tolerance, meaning cocaine users must take more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Cocaine users may also experience chemical dependency, leading to withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug, such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and cravings.

Prolonged cocaine use disorders can cause medical complications that impair one’s health and quality of life.

Some of the dangers of long-term cocaine use include:

  • Snorting cocaine can cause irritation, inflammation, bleeding, and ulceration of the nasal passages and the septum, the cartilage that separates the nostrils.
  • Loss of smell, difficulty breathing, infections, and even nose collapse.
  • Crack cocaine can also damage the teeth and gums due to poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, and teeth grinding.
  • Smoking crack cocaine can cause lung damage, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and respiratory failure.
  • Increase the heart rate and blood pressure, constrict the blood vessels, and disrupt the heart rhythm.
  • Chest pain, heart attack, constricted blood vessels, stroke, heart muscle inflammation, and aortic rupture.
  • Cocaine use also reduces blood flow to the digestive system, causing ulcers, tears, perforations, and bleeding.
  • Cocaine users may also lose their appetite and experience weight loss and malnutrition.
  • Kidney failure due to rhabdomyolysis is when muscle tissue breaks down and releases toxins into the bloodstream.
  • Liver damage due to hepatitis C infection from sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia.
  • Brain structure and function changes affect cognition, memory, learning, attention, impulse control, and decision-making.
  • Mood disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and psychosis.

Dangers of Long-Term Cocaine Use Disorders

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

How is cocaine addiction treated? There is no universal way to treat cocaine addiction, as people may have different needs and preferences. However, some of the most common and effective treatment approaches include:


Medical detoxification is the medically monitored process of eliminating cocaine from your body and managing possible withdrawal symptoms.

Detox is often the initial treatment for cocaine use disorders and drug abuse, preparing individuals for further treatment.

Detoxification can be done in residential and outpatient settings, depending on your addiction’s severity and medical condition.

  • Inpatient detox means staying at specialized treatment centers where you can receive round-the-clock medical supervision and care to get your cocaine addiction treated.
  • Outpatient detox allows you to detox at home or in a clinic, with regular visits from a doctor or nurse. Both options have pros and cons; you should consult your doctor to decide which is best for you.

Counseling and Behavioral Therapies

Many behavioral treatments address your addiction’s psychological and emotional aspects, such as the underlying causes, triggers, coping skills, and relapse prevention strategies.

Depending on your needs and preferences, counseling and behavioral therapies can be conducted individually or in a group setting.

Some of the most common and effective types of counseling and therapy for cocaine addiction include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy helps you identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs fueling your addiction and replace them with more positive and realistic ones. Cognitive behavioral therapy also enables you to develop healthier behaviors and coping skills to deal with stressful situations and avoid relapse.
  • Contingency Management (CM): Unlike cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management uses rewards and incentives to motivate you to stay sober and achieve your treatment goals. Contingency management helps reinforce positive behaviors and outcomes and increase self-esteem and confidence.
  • Family Therapy: Cocaine treatment centers often include family therapy in recovery. Family involvement can provide vital support and help repair relationships strained by addiction.
  • Group Therapy: Group therapy sessions allow individuals to connect with peers facing similar challenges. Sharing experiences, receiving feedback, and offering support within a group setting can foster a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT is the process of using medications to help you reduce your cravings, ease your withdrawal symptoms, or block the effects of cocaine or other drugs.

People with cocaine addiction can use MAT and other treatments to improve their chances of recovery. Some of the most common and effective medications for cocaine addiction include:


Disulfiram is a medication usually used to treat alcohol addiction or alcohol misuse, but it can also help get cocaine addiction treated by blocking the breakdown of a chemical called acetaldehyde in the body.

This causes unpleasant reactions such as nausea, vomiting, headache, and flushing when a person consumes other substances such as alcohol or cocaine. This can discourage people from using these substances and motivate them to stay sober.


Modafinil is a stimulant that is typically used to treat narcolepsy. It can also help people with cocaine addiction by enhancing their mental alertness, attention, and cognitive function. This can reduce the fatigue, depression, and boredom that often trigger cocaine use and relapse.


Buprenorphine is an opioid agonist commonly used to treat heroin and other opioid addictions. It can also help people with cocaine addiction by activating the same receptors that cocaine does but with less intensity and euphoria.

This can reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that people with cocaine addiction experience and make them less likely to seek out cocaine.

Holistic Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Holistic drug abuse treatment programs utilize natural or alternative methods to heal your body, mind, and spirit from the effects of cocaine addiction.

Holistic approaches can complement other forms of cocaine addiction treatment to improve your overall well-being and quality of life.

Some of the most common and effective holistic approaches for cocaine addiction include:

  • Mindfulness and Meditation help you focus on the present moment and become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and surroundings. Mindfulness and meditation help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and cravings and increase self-control and emotional regulation.
  • Exercise and Physical Activities help you improve your physical health and fitness by strengthening your muscles, bones, heart, lungs, and immune system. Exercise and physical activity also help you improve your mental health by releasing endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and other chemicals that boost your mood, energy, motivation, and memory.

Holistic Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Recovery and Maintenance for Cocaine Addiction

If you are struggling with cocaine addiction, you may feel hopeless and alone. You may think you can never quit or will always relapse. But there is hope.

Recovery from cocaine abuse and addiction is possible; many resources and strategies can help you stay sober and healthy.

Relapse Prevention Strategies

One of the most important aspects of recovery is relapse prevention. Relapse is common in substance use disorder but does not mean you’ve failed or can’t recover.

Relapse is just a sign that you need to adjust your treatment plan, learn from your triggers and coping skills, and seek more support for your drug use.

Some of the relapse prevention strategies that can help you avoid or overcome drug use and cravings include:

  • Avoiding high-risk situations that may tempt you to use cocaine, such as places, people, or events that are associated with your drug use.
  • Having a plan for handling cravings, such as distracting yourself, calling a friend, or using a relaxation technique.
  • Seeking professional help if you have co-occurring mental disorders contributing to your addiction, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma.
  • Practicing self-care by eating well, sleeping enough, exercising regularly, and engaging in hobbies or activities that make you happy.
  • Rewarding yourself for your achievements and celebrating your milestones in recovery.
  • Being honest with yourself and others about your struggles with drug abuse and successes in recovery.
  • Seeking help from a therapist, counselor, or coach who can help you work through the underlying issues fueling your drug abuse and provide guidance and feedback.

Support Groups and Community

Support groups are comprised of people who share similar experiences and challenges with drug abuse and who can offer emotional, practical, and spiritual support.

A supportive community can provide positive influences, opportunities, and resources to enhance your recovery.

Some examples of support groups and community resources for cocaine use disorder are:

  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a 12-step program following the same principles as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) but focuses on drug addiction.
  • SMART Recovery is a self-help program that uses cognitive-behavioral interventions to help you change your thoughts and behaviors related to drug abuse.
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA) is another 12-step program for people addicted to cocaine or other drugs.
  • Online support groups: If you prefer to connect online, many online support groups and forums can offer you peer support and guidance.

Aftercare Planning for Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Another key aspect of recovery and maintenance for cocaine addiction is having an aftercare plan.

An aftercare plan is a personalized plan that outlines the steps you will take to prevent relapse and maintain your sobriety after completing a cocaine addiction treatment program.

An aftercare plan may include:

  • Continuing behavioral therapies or counseling
  • Taking medications approved or prescribed for substance use disorders
  • Attending support groups or meetings
  • Avoiding triggers for cocaine use
  • Pursuing healthy activities

Family and Social Support

Having supportive people who understand and encourage your addiction treatment can make a huge difference in recovery.

Family and social support can provide the following:

  • Emotional, practical, and financial assistance.
  • Accountability.
  • Motivation to avoid drug use.
  • Your family members, significant other, friends, and peers can help you find healthy activities and hobbies to replace cocaine use.

However, not all family and social relationships are supportive or healthy.

Some people may have family members or friends who are also on cocaine or other drugs or are unsupportive or abusive. In these cases, limiting or ending contact with them or seeking professional help to deal with drug abuse may be necessary.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

According to a National Institute on Drug Abuse report, about half of people with substance use disorders also have co-occurring mental disorders.

Dual-diagnosis treatment centers treat cocaine dependence and addiction alongside mental illness, ensuring comprehensive care.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Rehab for Cocaine Addiction: Choosing the Right Rehab Center

There are many factors to consider when looking for a cocaine treatment center or rehab, such as:

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

One of the first things to decide is whether you need inpatient or outpatient rehab.

Inpatient or residential treatment involves staying at a facility for some time, usually between 28 and 90 days.

Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, allows you to live at home and attend cocaine treatment sessions at a clinic or addiction treatment center, usually for several hours a week.

Partial hospitalization: Here, clients are given more independence than in inpatient treatment programs. Partial hospitalization programs may be ideal for highly motivated patients to recover and/or have completed more intensive programs.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

Another important factor to consider is the cost of rehab and the insurance coverage available.

Cocaine treatment can be expensive, especially if you opt for inpatient treatment or a luxury facility. However, there are ways to reduce the cost or find financial assistance.

For example, depending on your plan and provider, you can use your health insurance to cover some or all expenses. You may also be able to find scholarships, grants, loans, or payment plans offered by the rehab center or other mental health services.

Contact your insurance company and ask about your coverage options and limitations. Contact the rehab center and ask about their fees, payment methods, and financial aid opportunities.

Ready to Take the First Step? Find Hope at NuView Treatment Center

If you or someone you care about is struggling with cocaine addiction, know that recovery is possible.

At NuView Treatment Center, we understand the complexities of addiction and the importance of addressing co-occurring mental illness and behavioral health concerns. Our specialized dual-diagnosis treatment approach provides individualized care to guide you toward lasting recovery from drug abuse.

Why Choose NuView Treatment Center:

  • Personalized Dual Diagnosis Care
  • Evidence-Based Therapies
  • Holistic Approach
  • Expert Medical Team
  • Strong Therapeutic Communities
  • Insurance Assistance

Take the first step towards a drug-free life. Contact NuView Treatment Center today to learn more about how we can support your journey to recovery. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Recognizing drug problems and the need for help is the initial step. Seek treatment from a healthcare professional or treatment center specializing in substance abuse or drug abuse. They will assess your situation and guide you toward appropriate treatment options.

Treatment effectiveness varies based on individual and environmental factors. Evidence from controlled clinical trials suggests that a combination of counseling, therapy, and medication-assisted treatment yields positive outcomes in managing cocaine addiction.

Medications can assist in reducing cravings and managing withdrawal symptoms. While there are no specific medications approved by FDA for cocaine addiction, certain drugs, such as disulfiram and modafinil, show potential benefits.

Treatment for cocaine addiction involves challenges like managing cravings, avoiding triggers, addressing underlying psychological issues fueling drug use, and maintaining a drug-free lifestyle. Support from professionals and a solid social network are crucial in overcoming cocaine addiction.

One common misconception about cocaine treatment is that addiction only affects weak-willed individuals. Substance use disorder is a complex medical condition that can impact anyone. Seeking treatment is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Many insurance plans offer substance use disorder treatment coverage, including cocaine use disorder. It's important to verify your plan's coverage details and consult your provider to understand the available financial assistance.

“Common Comorbidities With Substance Use Disorders Research Report – NCBI Bookshelf.” Common Comorbidities With Substance Use Disorders Research Report – NCBI Bookshelf, 1 Apr. 2020,

Kampman, Kyle. “New Medications for the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence.” Psychiatry (Edgmont), vol. 2, no. 12, pp. 44-48, Accessed 15 Aug. 2023.

Kampman, Kyle M. “The Treatment of Cocaine Use Disorder.” Science Advances, vol. 5, no. 10, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Oct. 2019. Crossref,

Melemis, Steven. “Focus: Addiction: Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery.” The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, vol. 88, no. 3, 2015, pp. 325-332, Accessed 15 Aug. 2023.

Substance Abuse Treatment, Center for. “Chapter 5—Specialized Substance Abuse Treatment Programs – a Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians – NCBI Bookshelf.” Chapter 5—Specialized Substance Abuse Treatment Programs – a Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians – NCBI Bookshelf, 1 Jan. 1997,

Latest posts

Share this post


Leave a comment

Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Read More

Addiction & Recovery

Did you know that we are always here for you 24/7?

You don't have to try to cope with life and addiction all on your own. Reach out to us now, no matter the time of day or night, even if you're not sure what you want to do yet and just need someone to listen.

We understand what you're going through and we can help you or a loved one survive addiction and find happiness in your life again.

Fill out the form below and we will contact you soon or call us any time at (323) 307-7997.
Contact Form - Blog

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction? We can help!

Our advisors are waiting for your call: (323) 307-7997

Ready to get Help?