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Cocaine addiction: get help – Healthy body

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If cocaine is damaging your relationships, work, money situation or health, you can get help to stop on the NHS.

You do not have to be taking cocaine, or crack cocaine, every day to be addicted to it. A sign of addiction is that you’ve tried to cut down or stop but are unable to.

There are effective treatments available to help you stop.

Treatment for cocaine: where to start

You can go to see a GP, who can refer you for treatment.

Or, if you prefer, you can refer yourself directly to your local drug treatment service.

At your first appointment you’ll be asked lots of questions about your health and drug use. This is so a tailored treatment plan can be put together for you.

You’ll be given a key worker who will support you throughout your treatment plan.

Which treatments work for cocaine addiction?

Treatments that are known to be effective for cocaine addiction include:

  • Talking therapies – therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) help you to understand your addiction and to change your thoughts and behaviour. This will either be as part of a group or one to one with a specialist drugs counsellor or therapist.
  • Couples therapy – you may be offered this if you have a partner who does not use cocaine.
  • Incentives – you may be offered rewards, such as vouchers, for sticking with your treatment and for staying off cocaine when it finishes.

Unlike treatment for heroin, there are no medicines that work as substitutes for powder cocaine, crack cocaine and other stimulants.

However, you may be offered medicines to help with related symptoms, such as sleep problems. These are often used on a short-term basis because long-term use of medicines that can help you sleep can also be addictive in itself.

If you’re addicted to alcohol as well as cocaine, you may be prescribed Antabuse (disulfiram).

Other help for cocaine addiction

Some people find mutual support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous useful. These are based on the same 12-step principles as Alcoholics Anonymous.

SMART Recovery is an alternative science-based programme that helps people recover from addictions.

Some cocaine users also have problems with alcohol or cannabis.

If you’re also addicted to these or any other substances, you should be offered specialised help with this too.

Where will I have my treatment?

You’ll normally stay living at home while being treated for cocaine addiction.

Residential rehab is usually only recommended if your situation is particularly severe or complicated.

Does treatment for cocaine addiction work?

Most people who have treatment for cocaine addiction have good results.

The majority of people treated for a powder cocaine addiction remain drug free.

Page last reviewed: 15 April 2020
Next review due: 15 April 2023

Find out about the help available if you want to stop using cocaine, crack and other stimulants, such as amphetamines.