Research shows that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a highly effective short term, focused approach to helping cocaine addicts maintain abstinence from the drug. CBT uses learning processes to assist cocaine users recognize, avoid and cope with the underlying behaviors and attitudes that precipitate relapse into use after a time of abstinence.
The CBT approach has been evaluated and has been proven effective in clinical trials. There is solid empirical evidence to support the use of CBT when dealing with relapse prevention for cocaine addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Its flexible, individualized approach can be used with a variety of patients and in various settings, such as inpatient or outpatient treatment and individual or group therapy.
The two critical components of CBT are functional analysis and skills training. Therapists use functional analysis to identify the cocaine addict’s thoughts, feelings and circumstances before and after use of the drug. This helps therapists and patients identify high risk situations and thought patterns that may lead to relapse. As therapy continues, some high risk situations that were present early in treatment may not be as dangerous for the patient, but others may still be relevant for the person trying to abstain from the drug. This information helps therapists to focus on the most important factors that could contribute to a relapse after much progress has been made.
Skills training is used by therapists to help cocaine abusers unlearn old habits associated with cocaine use and relearn new habits that are much healthier. For cocaine addicts who start using the drug early in life, cocaine use may be the only coping mechanism they rely on to deal with a host of problems in their lives. CBT skills training helps patients to cope with problems in their lives using alternative methods to cocaine use.