The Role of Behavioral Therapy in Cocaine Addiction Treatment

The best thing that someone who has developed a cocaine addiction can do is to seek treatment. However, there are numerous treatment options available and it can be rather difficult to choose the best one. While every individual may be unique, some treatment types are shown to be more effective than others. This is why almost every cocaine addiction rehab center utilizes behavioral therapy in cocaine addiction treatment. This therapy type usually produces the best results, allowing patients to overcome their addiction, achieve a long-lasting recovery, and lead happy and fulfilling lives. In this article, we will explain everything there is to know about behavioral therapy as it pertains to cocaine addiction treatment, as well as provide you with some tips on how to find the best treatment available.

The impact of cocaine addiction on the body and mind

Before you can understand why behavioral therapy is one of the best options for treating cocaine addiction, you might need to understand how exactly cocaine “messes up” your mind and body. First and foremost, cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that increases dopamine levels. While cocaine does have legitimate medical applications (e.g. being a topical anesthetic), most people abuse cocaine due to the “rush” that they get from it.

Cocaine can be used in different ways. You can snort it, rub it on the gums, and you can even dissolve it in water and inject it directly. Crystal cocaine can also be heated and inhaled. There are many street names for cocaine, such as snow, blow, coke, crack, etc.

cocaine tablets
Cocaine can be found in various forms, all of which are dangerous.

Cocaine is a chemical messenger

Basically, cocaine is a sort of “chemical messenger”. What this means is that cocaine will send signals to the various parts of your body (spinal cord, brain, etc.) that will affect your motor functions, heighten your feelings of pleasure, and induce euphoria. Now, these signals are not unnatural, as all of them can be felt without any drug usage. What cocaine does, however, is amplify these feelings. Needless to say, this is what makes most people want to use cocaine over and over again.

As time passes, however, cocaine will create a significant dysfunction in how dopamine circulates through your body. This has the effect of creating tolerance to the drug, requiring the abuser to take more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effect. As the cocaine dosage increases, so do the symptoms. Once the cocaine addiction is at its peak, the only solution is to visit a detox center Pennsylvania and purge your body from the effects of the drug. Unfortunately, many people choose not to receive treatment and try to contend with the symptoms of cocaine abuse on their own.

The symptoms of cocaine abuse

Initially, cocaine will present the person who is using it with an easy way to increase their level of energy and happiness. Furthermore, people who use cocaine report that they are more mentally alert. However, as addiction to cocaine grows, negative symptoms start to appear. Some of the milder symptoms of cocaine addiction include:

  • Irritability
  • Decreased appetite
  • Paranoia

Aside from being able to produce these symptoms, cocaine abuse is extremely dangerous to your overall health. For example, cocaine has been known to constrict blood vessels and create dangerously high body temperatures. Furthermore, cocaine can lead to arrhythmia and tachycardia and can lead to dangerously high blood pressure. If that was not enough, cocaine abuse can also lead to very dangerous long-term side effects, such as:

  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Malnourishment
  • Movement disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s)
a hallucination
Cocaine abuse can even lead to long-term hallucinations.

The good news is that cocaine addiction is very treatable. Simply enrolling in an outpatient detox rehab PA program will usually be enough to purge the drug from your system. However, to truly overcome an addiction to cocaine, one has to seek complete treatment.

While there are many treatment options for someone who suffers from cocaine addiction, behavioral therapy is almost always included. Behavioral therapy in cocaine addiction treatment allows for treating the source of the problem, allowing the patient to change the way they think, behave, and react.

An overview of behavioral therapy as a treatment option for cocaine addiction

Behavioral therapy is a term that signifies a variety of treatment modalities. The most popular form of behavioral therapy is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) but there are many others that can be utilized in treating cocaine addiction. Overall, behavioral therapy has the goal of identifying any unhelpful behaviors an individual might have and then changing them to helpful ones. Most of the time, behavioral therapy will focus on the “here and now”, which is what differentiates it from other forms of therapy.

Due to how versatile behavioral therapy is, it can be used to treat a variety of disorders, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic disorders
  • Phobias
  • Bipolar disorders
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

And, of course, substance use disorders. This therapy type can be utilized by both adults and children, as there is no age restriction. Furthermore, behavioral therapy can be used in both inpatient and IOP Pennsylvania settings. The reason why behavioral therapy is so effective is that it has many types, each dealing with a specific problem.

Group exploring the role of behavioral therapy in cocaine addiction treatment
Behavioral therapy can be performed in both individual and group settings.

Types of behavioral therapy used in cocaine addiction treatment

There are many types of behavioral therapy, including exposure therapy, applied behavior analysis, rational emotive behavioral therapy, social learning theory, etc. However, for the purposes of overcoming cocaine addiction, three behavioral therapy types stand above the rest:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency management, and
  • Motivational interviewing

These three therapy types have proven to be the most effective methods of helping people overcome their cocaine use disorder. Let’s see what each one entails.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is an evidence-based therapy approach that allows people who suffer from cocaine use disorder to fully understand the psychological aspect of their addiction. CBT focuses on identifying and changing the connections between the person’s actions and thoughts. Most of the time, a person who is suffering from cocaine addiction will be controlled by their “automatic thoughts”. An automatic thought is a thought that always comes first to mind and originates from internalized negative feelings. These thoughts are what prohibit most people from achieving a long-lasting recovery.

Through CBT, you will get to understand these thoughts and where they are coming from. Once that happens, you will be able to change the way you think and make healthy choices for yourself. Furthermore, CBT will “debunk” any misconceptions and insecurities you might have, and provide you with all the tools you need to increase positive thinking.

The best part about CBT is that it can be modified to fit virtually any setting. You might attend CBT sessions from a partial hospitalization program rehab Pennsylvania, or you can do so from the comfort of your own home. Furthermore, CBT can be easily combined with other therapy types. Speaking of which, let’s see what the next therapy type is all about.

Contingency Management

Also known as the “prize method”, the “carrot and the stick” method, and “motivational incentives”, contingency management (CM) is probably the most debated behavioral therapy in cocaine addiction treatment. This is due to the fact that this therapy type is quite unique. With contingency management, patients will receive rewards for completing certain treatment goals (and, in some cases, penalties for not meeting them). The most common type of CM is when patients receive monetary prizes (cash, vouchers, other prizes, etc.) for completing specific goals. These prizes usually also increase over time, scaling with the time that the patient has remained sober.

person holding a $1 bill
Contingency management often offers cash prizes for meeting therapy goals.

The best part about CM is that it does not require a professional medical setting for it to work. While you may receive the most benefits of this therapy by going to a Scranton drug rehab center, for example, CM can be performed by members of your family, close friends, or any people that might be interested to see you recover from your cocaine addiction.

The theory behind contingency management is that a person gets to consistently act in effective ways and gets rewards for acting accordingly. This is not unlike how substance use disorders work. Most people choose to abuse substances due to immediate rewards. CM applies the same theory – positive behaviors get rewards and negative behaviors get “punishment”.

The reason why many people worry about contingency management is due to the belief that CM is, essentially, “bribery”. Some medical professionals also believe that any external reinforcement goes against the spirit of recovery. One thing is certain, however, CM works. That is something that no one can dispute.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a therapy type that focuses on strengthening the patient’s commitment and motivation for recovery. This therapy type recognizes that lack of motivation is one of the most significant roadblocks on the road to recovery. MI has an entirely different perspective from other therapy types, as it allows the patient to adopt a different style of solving their problems. Whereas some other therapy types allow the patient to rely on someone else to solve their problems, MI tries to encourage the individual to solve their problems for themselves.

Another way in which MI is different is that the therapy sessions themselves are called “interviews”. During these interviews, the patients are encouraged to create their own goals instead of having the therapist impose their views on what is best for the patient. While MI might not work for everyone, when it does work it works brilliantly. This is why almost every drug rehab center Wilkes Barre PA has on offer provides this form of therapy to its clients. When you think about it, there is nothing better than being empowered to solve your problems on your own!

Lastly, MI does not focus on what caused the addiction in the first place, contrary to many other therapy types. Therefore, the best way to utilize MI is in a combination with other behavioral therapies. This is why most treatment centers use MI in an inpatient setting, alongside other treatment options.

"You got this" sign next to a laptop
MI is all about providing you with enough motivation to overcome your cocaine addiction.

Benefits of behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy in cocaine addiction treatment has a large list of benefits, due to the fact that it allows changing unhelpful thoughts, emotions, and behavior, into positive ones. To be more specific, however, behavioral therapy will allow you to:

  • Be assertive
  • Establish proper self-esteem
  • Learn how to question your views
  • Open up to new possibilities
  • Alter your perception of the world and your place in it
  • Feel comfortable and at ease with yourself
  • Improve your coping skills
  • Manage your anger

Furthermore, behavioral therapy will provide you with a support network that you can lean on. By attending behavioral therapy sessions, you will always have someone to turn to when you have a problem, whether you are attending a drug rehab Allentown PA program or attending teletherapy sessions. Simply knowing that there is someone out there who has your best interest in mind can be quite empowering.

You will also be able to improve your communication skills through behavioral therapy. During the sessions, you will learn how to communicate with others without feeling any shame, guilt, or anger. Lastly, behavioral therapy for cocaine addiction will allow you to prevent relapses much more easily by providing you with all the tools that you need.

However, behavioral therapy is but one of the tools in your recovery arsenal. If you want to maximize your chances for long-lasting recovery, you will want to combine behavioral therapy with other treatment types. Furthermore, the best therapy is going to be personalized just for you.

The importance of an individualized treatment plan

The reason why having a personalized treatment plan is the best option is due to the fact that everyone experiences cocaine addiction in a different manner. The way that you process thoughts and express emotions can be wildly different from someone else. Furthermore, we all have unique personal histories and recovery needs. This is the primary reason why the”one-size-fits-all” approach does not work when it comes to treating cocaine addiction.

The best way to approach treatment is as your own personal journey. You will have your own physical and mental issues to sort out and you need to do it at your own pace. This is precisely why you need a personal treatment plan.

person walking on an asphalt road
Each person has their own, unique, road to recovery.

There are several factors you need to consider before enrolling in any cocaine rehab program. First, you will want to make sure that your insurance covers the treatment options that you need. Therefore, if you have Anthem insurance, for example, you will want to make sure that you fully understand your Anthem rehab coverage. The most important thing is that you are able to fully commit to treatment, without worrying about the financial aspect.

This is why there’s a comprehensive admissions process in every single treatment center. During the admissions process, you and your team of medical professionals will discuss the various options at your disposal. They can also talk to your insurance provider on your behalf, allowing you to focus on what matters most.

Do note, however, that addiction recovery is not an exact science even with a personal treatment plan. There are simply too many factors that may influence your recovery process. Furthermore, behavioral therapy for cocaine addiction is not without its risks, either.

Success rates and potential risks of behavioral therapy for cocaine addiction

While it is practically impossible to determine the exact success rate of behavioral therapy for cocaine addiction, the fact that more than 80% of people who attend behavioral therapy as part of their addiction treatment manage to stay sober nine months post-rehab speaks volumes.

As for the risks, there are surprisingly few of them when it comes to behavioral therapy. In other words, behavioral therapy is inherently safe. However, some people might feel uncomfortable exploring painful feelings throughout behavioral therapy. Other risks may include feeling physically drained after the sessions, and experiencing temporary stress or anxiety. This mostly occurs in exposure therapy, however, which is usually not a part of behavioral therapy in cocaine addiction treatment. Having a good therapist will minimize these risks and maximize the benefits.

There can be another risk, however. Behavioral therapy might be so effective in changing the way you think that it might not prepare you for the things that you cannot change. This may have an adverse effect if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t do anything to change your environment (e.g. abusive families, educational system, etc.). What behavioral therapy can do, however, is help you deal with those issues if they arise.

The role of therapy in aftercare and relapse prevention

Recovering from addiction is not as simple as finishing a rehab program. The fact that most people relapse at some point after their treatment speaks for itself. This is why aftercare is so important. Behavioral therapy plays a large role in aftercare, as it can provide you with the means to adjust to your new situation. Most people who complete any of the cocaine addiction rehab programs find themselves not knowing what to do and how to react to the “outside world”. Luckily, behavioral therapy is all about providing individuals with the ability to discover their true potential.

therapy group talking about behavioral therapy in cocaine addiction treatment
Behavioral therapy can help you prevent relapse and stay sober.

Through behavioral therapy, you will be able to create your own, unique, coping mechanisms, as well as acquire the necessary skills for lasting recovery. This, in turn, will help with relapse prevention and will increase your overall quality of life. Aftercare is so important, in fact, that most insurance companies will cover it. If you take a look at Blue Cross Blue Shield drug rehab coverage, for example, you will notice that it has extensive aftercare options. By continuing to attend your behavioral therapy sessions, you will be able to keep your cravings at bay and slowly work toward lasting recovery.

The role of family and support systems in the recovery process

Aside from behavioral therapy, the best thing that can help you achieve a complete recovery is getting support from your friends and family members. Recovery is a process, after all, and having a support system during this time is absolutely critical. This is why most treatment centers have extensive alumni programs. However, nothing can replace the support from the people you love and who love you in turn. Getting support from your family members can make all the difference.

Practical tips on seeking behavioral therapy for cocaine addiction

Even though you might understand that behavioral therapy is the best option when it comes to treating cocaine addiction, finding the best option can be quite daunting. Furthermore, you will want to make sure that you are able to commit to the therapy before you start. Otherwise, you will just be wasting both your time and money and nothing will come of it.

To make committing to the therapy a bit easier, you might want to:

  • Mark the appointments on your calendar
  • Keep a journal
  • Set goals prior to therapy
  • Decide how you will handle mistakes

Once you are able to commit, however, the next piece of the “puzzle” is to find a good therapist. Finding a good therapist is all about utilizing all the options you have at your disposal. You may want to start by checking with your local treatment centers, as you will be able to meet your therapist in person. Almost every treatment center will allow you to exchange a few words with your future therapist without charging you a dime.

Ultimately, the role of behavioral therapy in cocaine addiction treatment is to change your thinking and behavior so you can feel good about yourself. There will be ups and downs, of course, but if you persevere, you can definitely achieve long-lasting recovery!

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