June 30, 2006, Newsletter Issue #89: Behavioral Therapy for Cocaine Use

Tip of the Week

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a common aspect of treatment for cocaine use. It is popular both because clinical trials have found it effective, and because it is relatively short-term and thus less expensive.

Rather than try to untangle the cocaine user's childhood or past issues, the cognitive-behavioral therapist focuses on the user's current situation, with a goal of reinforcing abstinence and teaching the patient skills such as:

-- Recognizing situations that are likely to lead to using cocaine

-- Avoiding those situations

-- Coping with current life stresses without depending on cocaine

Therapist and patient then work together on practicing skills such as planning for emergencies, managing cravings, refusing drugs, and understanding past episodes of drug use.

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