Analysis of an Intervention for Cocaine Abuse
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the more effective interventions employed in treating cocaine addicted, dependent, or abusing patients (Cocaine abuse and treatmentà, 1999). However, it is important to recognize that there seems to be no lasting, reliable, inexpensive cure or intervention for cocaine addiction; the process of treatment is often complicated, requiring several types of treatment, since addicts usually have many other social and psychological problems. However, given that only about 10 to 15 percent of people who try cocaine become addicted, and of those who do, most succeed in breaking the habit, the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may well be better than expected (Cocaine abuse and treatmentà, 1999).
Cognitive and behavioral techniques, often imparted through group therapy, are increasingly popular in treating cocaine addiction and other forms of drug abuse (Cocaine abuse and addictionà, 1999). The principles of operant and classical conditioning are used to make the drug itself less appealing and to create rewarding alternatives by altering the patients' internal and external environment. Patients are assisted in developing more appropriate cognitive schema and coping skills, anger management techniques, and self-care strategies. In CBT, contingency contracting is often used. Most significantly, the self-defeating behavior of addicts is modified by changing their beliefs about themselves, their lives, and their futures (Cocaine abuse and addictionà, 1999).
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 1997, about 1.5 million Americans were known to be current cocaine users, although the organization estimated that the true figure was closer to 3.6 million (New treatments for cocaine addiction, 2001). Conventional therapies for cocaine addicts, according to the Harvard Mental Health Letter (New treatments for cocain...