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Rehab for Crack Addiction: What Are Your Best Options?

In 2014 alone, about 1.5 million people used cocaine monthly, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Many of these people used crack cocaine.

This form of cocaine can be popped into a pipe to smoke, allowing the active ingredient within cocaine to interact with the body very quickly. The high that results is powerful, but it doesn’t last for very long. As a result, people must take repeated hits of crack so they can keep the high going. 

Brain cells subjected to repeated highs and lows can be damaged. When they are, those brain cells call out for repeated hits of cocaine. The damage done by cocaine can also increase impulsivity levels, making it harder and harder for you to resist temptation. 

Quitting crack cocaine on your own can seem impossible. But rehab programs can make the impossible seem very possible.

To have the best chance of success, you’ll need to choose your therapy partner carefully. These are a few things to consider during your search.

How Complete Is the Program?

Crack cocaine use is responsible for the damage that can lead to crack cocaine dependence and eventually addiction. But the drug use doesn’t always appear unprompted. Often, use of drugs is tied to an underlying form of trauma. 

For example, in an article published in BMC Medicine, researchers found that close to 59 percent of heroin and crack cocaine use could be attributed to negative childhood experiences, such as victimization, incarceration, poverty, and more. 

A negative event that occurs early in life can linger in your memory, and it can color the way you feel about yourself and the world around you. If powerful enough, the trauma can even lead to flashbacks of the event. Those flashbacks can keep you from feeling safe in your own skin. 

Unless these underlying traumas are addressed, they can work as prompts for drug use. When the memories arise, you might be tempted to use crack to suppress the negative feelings.

The program you choose should have the capability of addressing underlying trauma like this. With help, you can move past those terrible memories and move on to a healthier life. 

The use of other drugs can also compound cocaine addiction. According to NIDA, about 6 percent of admissions to drug treatment programs are prompted by cocaine, and the majority of users are likely to use multiple drugs in addition to cocaine. 

Each type of drug abuse might require a different treatment approach. For example, if you’ve been abusing benzodiazepines such as Xanax along with crack cocaine, you may need a very careful taper of your Xanax dose to avoid seizures. If you’ve been abusing alcohol, you may need medications to help you avoid hallucinations and seizures. 

The program you choose should incorporate testing at intake, so your team will know what drugs you’ve been taking and what dose you’re accustomed to. The program should also be capable of offering care for all the drugs you take, not just crack cocaine.

What Therapies Are Available?

woman with head in hands

Addiction treatment for crack cocaine comes in two main formats: inpatient and outpatient. In an inpatient program, you move into the facility and get care around the clock. In an outpatient program, you have more time available to you, and you live at home. 

Often, people with an addiction to crack cocaine need a safe space to live while they are in early recovery. In an inpatient program, you have the stability and support you need to help you recover. If you continue to live at home, you’ll be faced with temptations that won’t be present in an inpatient setting.

It’s vital for you to understand what kind of addiction care you will have while you are enrolled in the program. As NIDA points out, it’s important to know that the program you choose provides therapies that are backed by scientific evidence. That means the program should offer behavioral therapies, medication therapies, or both. Program directors should be able to cite the research that supports the therapies they offer, and you should be able to verify their validity independently. 

The people who provide your care should be qualified to do so. Your therapist should have credentials and experience, the doctor who prescribes your medicines should have a license, and all professionals on site should be trained in their specialties.

It’s important to ensure that everyone you will work with is prepared and trained to give you the care you deserve. The facility should also comply with all state laws regarding licensing and accreditation.

What Kind of Counseling Is Available? 


Therapy is the cornerstone of a rehab program for cocaine, as there are no medications that can magically make your cravings and urges disappear. You will need to work with a counselor to understand how your addiction developed and what you need to do to take control once more. 

In research published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers compared the efficacy of therapies given in a group format and those given on an individual basis. They found that people given individual counseling combined with group counseling had fewer days of cocaine use in the month prior when compared to either individual counseling or group counseling alone. 

Research like this demonstrates that counseling really can help individuals avoid cocaine use. It also showcases the importance of a combined therapy approach for people with cocaine addiction. 

A counselor can use many different types of therapy to help individuals recover from crack cocaine addiction. The type of therapy you need could vary depending on where you are in your recovery journey. A qualified program should adjust your therapy approach as your needs change so that you are always making progress in the journey toward sustained recovery.

How Much Will It Cost?

Addiction treatment programs can vary dramatically in cost, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Generally, addiction treatment providers will bring up the issue of payment very early in the enrollment process. These companies rely on payments to stay in business, so they are likely to ensure that the people they talk to are aware of their financial obligations. 

Some insurance programs will pay for some — or all — of the cost of care. But it isn’t uncommon for insurance programs to have relationships with some addiction treatment providers. 

Working with an addiction treatment provider that does not have a relationship with your insurance company can lead to higher fees. Choosing a program the insurance company does not support, such as choosing residential as opposed to outpatient treatment, can lead to higher costs. 

While cost should not be the only determinant in the choice of an addiction treatment center, it should be something to factor into your plans. You should be completely aware of what to expect before you enroll.

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What Experience Do You Deliver?

Some addiction treatment centers offer little more than bare-bones care. Others offer additional treatments such as:

  • Family therapy
  • Wilderness therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness meditation

Some of these amenities can be useful as you learn how to control stress and find happiness without the use of drugs. But some of these therapies could seem unnecessary or unpleasant to you. Find out what a typical day will look like so that you can understand what you might be signing up for. 

Programs offer different experiences for family members, too. Some offer your family members the ability to visit you during structured family weekends, while others allow no visitors at all. If including your family in your care is important, this aspect will be an essential factor as you choose a program.

How Should You Do Research?

Many addiction treatment program administrators know that people feel embarrassed about addiction. They may desperately want to get better, but they may be worried about asking questions or doing in-person interviews to find the right program.

As a result, many companies put a great deal of information about their programs online. People interested in programs can hop on websites to find out more about what is available, what the facility looks like, who works there, and what typically happens during the day.

This research can give you a good foundation to build on, but you will need to call to ask some very specific questions. For example, few companies place pricing information online, as prices can vary depending on addiction type, insurance coverage, and more. 

Most companies have hotlines staffed by kind and caring professionals who can answer all of your questions. During a call, you can find out all you need to know to make the right choice. Some programs allow you to tour the grounds, which can be a good option if you live nearby, but a call might be enough to help you decide. 

SOURCES

(May 2016). What is the Scope of Cocaine Use in the United States? National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved January 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-scope-cocaine-use-in-united-states

(2014). National Household Survey of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Their Relationship With Resilience to Health-Harming Behaviors in England. BMC Medicine. Retrieved January 2019 from https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1741-7015-12-72

(May 2016). How is Cocaine Addiction Treated? National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved January 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-treatments-are-effective-cocaine-abusers

(July 2010). Addiction Treatment and Stable Housing Among a Cohort of Injection Drug Users. PLOS One. Retrieved January 2019 from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0011697

(June 2013). Does the Program Use Treatments Backed by Scientific Evidence? National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved January 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/seeking-drug-abuse-treatment/1-does-program-use-treatments-backed-by-scientific-evidence

(July 1999). Psychosocial Treatments for Cocaine Dependence: National Institute on Drug Abuse Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study. Archives of General Psychiatry. Retrieved January 2019 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12940416_Psychosocial_Treatments_for_Cocaine_Dependence_National_Institute_on_Drug_Abuse_Collaborative_Cocaine_Treatment_Study

10 Questions to Ask Addiction Therapists. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Retrieved January 2019 from https://alcoholtreatment.niaaa.nih.gov/how-to-find-alcohol-treatment/10-questions-for-addiction-therapists#topic-Can-you-estimate-costs-for-treatment 

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