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Article Summary

Cocaine Addiction Relapse

Cocaine addiction relapse happens to recovering addicts at different points in their recovery process as well as for different reasons. For some, life is always looking over their shoulder thinking that they are going to experience a relapse. It does not have to be that way. The biggest key is avoiding the triggers that made the addict use and continue to use.? It could be something as simple as driving through the area where they used to buy drugs.?

Cocaine is a highly addicting drug, to which individuals succumb rapidly and avidly. Additionally, a cocaine addiction relapse without proper treatment is likely, after months, even years, of abstinence. An important observation regarding relapse and cocaine includes: (1) Alcohol is usually the first drug cocaine addicts use, often addictively. (2) Alcohol is the drug abstinent cocaine addicts most often use before relapsing to cocaine. That is, alcohol is the most common reason for relapse to cocaine. (3) Because most cocaine addicts are alcoholics, effective treatment exists for them. (4) Most treatment centers treat for multiple-drug addiction because at least 80 percent of alcoholics younger than 30 are also addicted to one or more drugs.

Therapy and Relapse

A cognitive-behavioral therapy was developed for the treatment of problem cocaine addiction. Cognitive-behavioral strategies are based on the theory that learning processes play a critical role in the development of maladaptive behavioral patterns. Individuals learn to identify and correct problematic behaviors. Cocaine addiction relapse prevention encompasses several cognitive-behavioral strategies that facilitate abstinence as well as provide help for people who experience relapse.

The relapse prevention approach to the treatment of cocaine addiction consists of a collection of strategies intended to enhance self-control. Specific techniques include exploring the positive and negative consequences of continued use, self-monitoring to recognize drug cravings early on and to identify high-risk situations for cocaine use, and developing strategies for coping with and avoiding high-risk situations and the desire to use. A central element of this treatment is anticipating the problems patients are likely to meet and helping them develop effective coping strategies.

Research indicates that the skills individuals learn through cocaine addiction relapse prevention therapy remain after the completion of treatment. In one study, most people receiving this cognitive-behavioral approach maintained the gains they made in treatment throughout the year following treatment.

signs that have preceded cocaine addiction relapses:

I deny my fear.
I convince myself that "I'll never drink/use again."
I decide that "not using" is all I need.
I try to force sobriety on others.
I become overconfident about my recovery.
I behave compulsively... I overwork or underwork, I overtalk or withdraw.
I start isolating.
I make unrealistic or haphazard plans.
I live in the "there and then."
I start daydreaming of failure.
I view my problems as unsolvable.
I avoid having fun.
I over-analyze myself.
I become irritated by friends or family.
I am easily angered.
I begin blaming people, places, things and conditions for my problems.
I begin doubting my disease.
I eat irregularly (over- or undereating, snacking).
I have listless periods.
I sleep irregularly (oversleeping, undersleeping).
I experience periods of deep depression.
I develop an "I don't care" attitude.
I hoard money, sex or power.
I openly reject help.
I rationalize that drinking or using can't make my life worse than it is now.
I feel sorry for myself.
I have fantasies of social drinking or using.
I begin to lie consciously.
I increase my use of aspirin or other nonprescription medications.
I am overwhelmed with loneliness, frustration, anger and tension.
I begin contacting or visiting my drinking or using "friends" and places.
I convince myself I'm cured.
I lose control.
I tell myself it's okay to deal. I can use the money. It will be quick and easy.

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