Medication For Cocaine Addiction


Medication for cocaine addiction comes in three separate categories. First, there are the drugs given to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal. Second, there are those meant to deal with underlying issues that might lead to relapse. Finally there are drugs used to combat cocaine addiction directly.

Medication For Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms include strong cravings for the drug, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety and irritability. Each of these can be treated with medication for cocaine addiction as they emerge. Desipramine or venlafaxine is used for short term depression and cravings, and benzodiazapines are useful for anxiety or irritability. Other drugs and nutritional supplements may be given for the side effects of the “cocaine lifestyle” – malnutrition from lack of proper diet.

Medication For Cocaine Addiction Underlying Conditions
If cocaine abuse is coupled with, or dependent upon, some underlying psychological condition, drugs may be given long-term to treat the problem. Patients would have to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety or other condition after being abstinent for some time (a week or longer). This is to ensure the medical picture isn’t due to physical withdrawal. In almost all cases, such addiction treatment is coupled with therapy to help overcome the addiction as well as deal with the emerging disorder.

Medication For Cocaine Addiction Relapse Prevention
There are currently no drugs specifically marketed to prevent relapse in cocaine addiction. There are, however, doctors who will prescribe medication for cocaine addiction that may help, although they are not yet proven effective. Among these are flupenthixol, an anti-psychotic, SSRIs (which may help impulse control), bromocriptine and amantadine. None are approved for this use. On the horizon, studies continue to find something that reduces cravings reliably and a vaccine against the cocaine molecule itself may have promise.

The news is not encouraging for those hoping for a quick fix. Cocaine addiction is difficult to kick completely and the relapse rates are high. Perhaps the best course is to realize this going in, “forewarned is forearmed.” Just as important is to realize that multiple tries might be necessary. There seems to be a learning curve in play – the more abstinence time someone builds up, even with relapses mixed in, the more they learn how to quit successfully. Thinking in terms of failure instead of positive terms of “time clean” works against addicts and feed the addiction cycle. It can be beat, it’s just harder than people think going in.

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