The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines drug addiction as a "chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain - they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs."1 The research of HBO's special documentary, Addiction, notes the American Psychiatric Association's definition of a person that is dependent on a substance, which is if their pattern of substance use leads to distress in three of more of these ways over a 12-month span of time:2
Tolerance of the drug:
- Need for increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect
- Diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance
- Characteristic withdrawal symptom of the substance
- The same of a closely related substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms
Loss of control:
- The substance is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended
- Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use
- A great deal of time is spent in activities to obtain substance, use of the substance or recover from its effects
Continuation despite consequences:
- Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use
- The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been cause or exacerbated by the substance.
Treatment for cocaine addiction is an important part to recovering from a period of substance abuse, drug addiction, and an often uncontrollable or unmanageable lifestyle of drug use. It does not matter if you or your loved one was court ordered to go to a cocaine rehabilitation center or was confronted by an intervention of family and friends to go to a rehab facility. While personally admitting that you have a drug addiction problem is a step towards recovery, getting into a cocaine rehab or treatment program is the most important first step, whether voluntary or involuntarily.3
Cocaine addicts' needs vary greatly. Therefore, the type of treatment given during cocaine rehabilitation should be based on a variety of factors including the amount of cocaine that has been used, how long cocaine has been used, what is the pattern of use, the degree of psychosocial disruption, the person's impulse control and medical and psychiatric characteristics.4
When finding a treatment and rehabilitation center, it is important to review the types of treatment of the facility to see if they have the capabilities and appropriate options to treat your cocaine addiction.
There are many different types of treatment and treatment facilities for drug addiction and rehabilitation. Whether the treatment center has specific areas that they specialize in or have a large range of programs, it is important to find one that will specifically meet your needs for cocaine addiction rehabilitation.
With rehabs for cocaine addicts (a stimulant addiction), it is important that the treatment center includes several basic elements that will help assess your addiction. These areas are:
- Using family historical and medical data
- Evaluation of cocaine symptoms and post-cocaine symptoms
- Diagnoses of state of cocaine user
This information and evaluation, and including the analysis within your specific treatment, will be useful when charting a course of rehabilitation that is right for you.4
1) “Drug Abuse and Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Date downloaded: June 22, 2010.
2) “Understanding Addiction: When Is Someone Addicted?” Addiction. HBO. Date downloaded: June 22, 2010.
3) “An Interview with Nora D. Volkow, M.D.” Addiction. HBO. Date downloaded: June 21, 2010.
4) Kleber, H.D, and F.H. Gawin. “Cocaine Abuse: A Review of Current and Experimental Treatments.” Cocaine: Pharmacology, Effects, and Treatment of Abuse. Ed. J. Grabowski. (pg. 11-129).