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Cocaine Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation

Written by Thomas Christiansen

& Medically Reviewed by Dr. Annie Tye, PhD

Medically Reviewed

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Last Updated - 08/15/2020

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Updated 08/15/2020

Key Takeaways

  • Professional medical detoxification provides individuals who struggle with cocaine addiction a safe space to undergo the uncomfortable process of flushing chemicals out of their bodies and dealing with the symptoms of withdrawal
  • Inpatient (residential) rehab facilities give people in recovery 24/7 access to support from professionals who can provide tools and, in some cases, pharmacological interventions that interrupt cocaine cravings
  • Outpatient rehab may be an all-day, every-day treatment plan or a weekly group session
  • Lifelong sobriety requires constant maintenance and a dedication to sober living

Cocaine addiction treatment can be intimidating. Learning the steps of treatment and rehab can help ease people through this essential first step of recovery.

Cocaine addiction can be challenging to overcome, but there are many treatment options that work to interrupt the addiction cycle and provide tools and coping strategies for long-term success. It’s important for people considering addiction treatment to know the options and what to look for in a cocaine rehabilitation program for treatment to be as beneficial as possible.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug and rehabilitation generally requires support from medical professionals and social networks. A common regime for cocaine addiction treatment begins with medical detoxification and residential rehabilitation, followed by outpatient rehabilitation and long-term aftercare.
It is important to note that even moderate cocaine use can cause substantial structural alterations in the brain, leading to physical and psychological manifestations that cause drug-seeking behavior. Cocaine addiction is a legitimate disease that, like other diseases, requires medical intervention and long-term care and support.

Medical Detoxification

The first step toward recovery from cocaine addiction is often medically managed detoxification (medical detox). Cocaine addiction is associated with substantial physiological changes, and when cravings are not satisfied, users frequently experience profoundly debilitating physical withdrawal symptoms. Detox gives the body time to flush out chemicals that accumulated and overcome the immediate withdrawal symptoms that are associated with eliminating cocaine use. Cocaine detox is generally most successful when carried out with the assistance of medical professionals who may provide medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms. The use of prescribed pharmaceuticals to counter the immediate symptoms of cocaine withdrawal is done under the direct care of medical professionals, but not all people require drug-assisted detox.

Residential Rehabilitation

Once the physical withdrawal symptoms passed, the psychological drive to use cocaine must be addressed. Chronic cocaine use physically alters the structure of the brain, causing people to crave and seek out the drug. Cocaine rehab frequently begins with residential rehab, also known as inpatient rehab. This form of rehab has proven to be an effective way to minimize relapse. Residential rehab frequently includes individual and group therapy sessions, mental health assessments, wellness exercises and may include spiritual care. Among the most effective behavioral interventions is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Residential rehab centers provide CBT with the goal that patients will continue to use the method throughout recovery. CBT focuses on identifying triggers and negative thought processes and actively replacing them with coping mechanisms and positive reinforcement strategies. CBT is compatible with other rehabilitation therapies, making it a particularly useful tool for many people in a variety of circumstances. Mounting evidence suggests that pharmacological strategies may support relapse prevention. Cocaine use causes substantial changes in brain chemistry and several drugs have been identified that may interrupt cocaine’s ability to hijack neural networks. For example, drugs that affect levels of the neurotransmitter GABA (baclofen, tiagabine) or glutamate (topiramate, disulfiram) are promising. Some rehabilitation facilities are equipped to provide pharmacological interventions to residential and outpatient clients.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

There are several types of outpatient drug rehab. For individuals who struggled with serious cocaine addiction, outpatient rehab should follow a residential program, but some users who have milder dependency issues can successfully abstain from cocaine use with only outpatient treatment. Most rehab facilities offer full-day and intensive outpatient programs, which provide daily support but allow individuals to maintain personal schedules. Outpatient care can include one-on-one and group therapy, and many patients begin with daily or weekly treatments that progress to bi-weekly or monthly sessions.


Teletherapy is becoming more common and is available for those struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. Partial Hospitalization (PHP), Intensive Outpatient (IOP) and Outpatient levels of care normally qualify for online substance abuse treatment. Treatment involves video conferencing for both individual and group therapy.

Dual Diagnosis Rehab

A key, but often overlooked, component of addiction treatment is addressing the potential for an underlying mental health issue. Depression and anxiety are common disorders that can potentiate drug addiction as individuals seek ways to deal with feelings of helplessness and high stress levels. Cocaine, especially before addiction becomes entrenched, provides temporary feelings of euphoria and self-worth, making those suffering with mental health issues particularly susceptible to developing cocaine addiction. Thus, it is important for those seeking treatment to find a rehab center that can assess mental health status in conjunction with addiction. Individuals who are candidates for dual diagnosis treatment should seek a treatment plan that addresses each issue separately as a part of a holistic recovery plan.

Aftercare and Sober Living

Drug rehab aftercare programs are continuing care support groups that allow recovering users to meet on a regular basis. Many individuals in recovery develop strong support networks through such programs and find that aftercare is a rewarding endeavor even years after completing rehab. Drug rehab aftercare is a valuable tool in establishing and maintaining a sober lifestyle.

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Inpatient vs Outpatient RehabOutpatient Rehabilitation

The decision to undertake inpatient or outpatient rehab is best addressed after undergoing an addiction assessment with a professional. Inpatient care requires that the individual remain under supervision in a specialized facility 24/7 for days or weeks. Inpatient care generally is a continuation of the initial medical detox program. Inpatient rehab is particularly suited to individuals who are concerned about their mental wellbeing once they are no longer self-medicating. Some inpatient programs are gender-specific, which may allow a person in recovery to be more comfortable in group sessions.

How Long Does Rehabilitation Take?

Rehabilitation is a process that can vary quite a bit from one person to the next. Medical detox generally occurs over the course of several days, and subsequent inpatient/residential treatment may take weeks or months. Outpatient rehab is frequently undertaken for several months. For a chronic cocaine user, rehabilitation may be a long-term process. For an infrequent user with mild dependency, rehabilitation may be achieved within weeks or months. Rehabilitation and sober living are sound strategies for establishing life-term sobriety.

What Does Cocaine Rehab Cost?

Because of how varied treatment can be, many people wonder how much rehab costs. The answer depends on the intensity and length of treatment, the location of treatment and the quality of care. Free programs exist, but a person in outpatient rehab can generally expect to pay between $1,000 and $10,000 for a 30-day program. For people seeking intensive or full-day outpatient programs, the cost can range from $7,000 to $20,000 per 30 days.

Inpatient (residential) care varies the most, with a 30-day stay ranging from $3,500 to more than $25,000. The cost of treatment may seem daunting, but many programs offer financing plans or scholarships for people who cannot afford to cover their entire rehab program. Some people have successfully used GoFundMe or Kickstarter to raise funds that support their rehab costs.

Will My Insurance Cover Rehab?

After learning the cost of rehab, the next question is typically: “Does insurance cover rehab?” Many insurance companies provide coverage for drug rehabilitation. Marketplace rehab insurance plans and Medicaid/Medicare vary state-by-state but will generally cover at least some of the cost for rehab. Some people may have to enroll in rehab without insurance. For people without insurance, many states offer state-run treatment programs that operate on a sliding fee scale. Other options for funding insurance include scholarship programs and some people found success crowdfunding rehab programs with sites like GoFundMe or Kickstarter.

Choosing a Cocaine Rehabilitation Center

There are several factors that influence how to choose a rehab center, but it is important that people ensure that the facility provides care from trained, licensed staff. The following factors should be considered when selecting a rehab center:

  • Location: some people may benefit from traveling out of town for their rehab, thus removing themselves from any triggers associated with their drug use.
  • Cost: insurance or payment plans will also play a role in determining where someone can go for rehab.
  • Methods of treatment provided: because addiction is unique to each person, the facility must be able to meet a person’s needs
  • Treatment effectiveness: a facility that offers proven treatment methods is best for long-term sobriety.
  • Treatment length: the facility needs to be able to accommodate whatever length of time someone needs for treatment.
  • Staff to patient ratio: enough medical professionals should be available to ensure the patient receives the quality care they deserve.

What to Expect When You Go to Rehab

The first step in any rehabilitation setting will consist of an evaluation to determine your specific needs. Because cocaine addiction can result in profound physiological changes, medically assisted detox may be the first step. If this is the case, you can expect 24/7 medical supervision and care, and you may be given drugs to ease physical symptoms of withdrawal. The subsequent transition to inpatient treatment will include therapeutic sessions that aim to clarify your own goals for treatment, as well as provide you with realistic expectations. Throughout inpatient treatment, you should receive both one-on-one and group sessions that will help you reorient to a sober lifestyle. Many residential programs offer classes that are designed to provide patients with healthy outlets (arts-and-crafts, cooking) that can inspire sobriety when patients struggle with cravings.

Outpatient treatment can vary from all-day, every-day treatment to weekly group sessions. Regardless of the frequency, it is crucial that you feel that you have a strong support network. Ideally, you will have consistent access to someone who can help you overcome cravings.

What Happens After Rehab?

It is imperative that people who have struggled with cocaine addiction avoid relapse. Finding new hobbies is a useful way to channel energy that used to be devoted to finding and using cocaine. Most rehab programs offer continuing care groups that former users can attend in order to develop strong support networks. Many people who are well into recovery and who have successfully developed strategies for sober living find it rewarding to offer support to people who are just starting down their own path to recovery.

How Rehab Helps

While cocaine recovery may be possible without undergoing a rehabilitation program, it is important to understand that cocaine addiction causes physical and psychological changes that can profoundly affect people. Cocaine rehab programs understand these changes and can provide tools that minimize the risk of relapse.

The immediate physiological effects of quitting cocaine can be overwhelming and potentially dangerous. Medically assisted detoxification mediates the risks and can significantly diminish the physical withdrawal symptoms. Rehab aims to give people who are overcoming cocaine addiction the tools that will reduce cravings and minimize the risk of a setback occurring.

View Sources

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)”. January 2018. Accessed on July 10, 2019.

McHugh, Kathryn; Hearon, Bridget; Otto, Michael. “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Substance Abuse Disorders.” Psychiatr Clin North Am, September 2010. Accessed July 11, 2019.

Kampman, Kyle. “New Medications for the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence.” Psychiatry, December 2005. Accessed July 11, 2019.