Cocaine is a very addictive drug and can be one of the most difficult drugs to stop. Cravings tend to become stronger over time and all too often lead to addiction. I have been treating addictive disorders for over 25 years and have put together a protocol that has a very high success rate. From 1986-1993 I was the clinical director of Cocaine Alternatives in Orange County where I taught cocaine addicts how to deal with cravings and stop cold turkey. Cocaine just isn’t a drug one tapers off. In 2001, I integrated these teachings into my neurofeedback program. Combined together, I find outcomes are even more effective.
On a conscious level a person needs to learn how to make the right choice when they have an urge to snort or smoke cocaine. They need to be educated about what the urge is and how cocaine has created an artificially induced biological drive. Each addict has to have a plan, one that is in the here and now. Talking about one’s past never cured cocaine addiction, so all I focus on is what a person can do now. Later, it may be helpful to understand why a person started. The fact is, they’re using today because their brain got addicted. It’s as simple as that.
If a person is actively using and cannot stop for at least 2 weeks at a time before relapsing, I recommend they see me three times the first week. I provide information that can be used immediately to help the person deal with the cocaine urge. The urge will not go away by itself and must be faced directly. The client memorizes the plan and I make sure he or she understands how to apply it.
Then I recommend a series of high frequency neurofeedback trainings designed to calm down the hyperactive mind, reduce anxiety, and reduce depression. A person typically watches a DVD movie while training their brain. Then, I switch to low-frequency training, also known as altered states training, or alpha-theta training. My client is instructed to mentally rehearse situations where they will likely be at risk for relapse and mentally go through the choice making process as they were taught. With eyes closed they listen to certain tones that guide their brain waves into 6-9 cycles per second dominant pattern. It’s a twilight state of consciousness. One is neither asleep nor awake. In this zone the non-conscious mind absorbs the new strategy and resolves old psychological traumas that may have caused the initial reason to use. Each session strengthens motivation and reduces the risk of relapse.
The total number of visits is typically 20-30. I designed it to be time limited. I have found that a recovered addict is just that, recovered. Some may want to attend a 12-step program, but most do not need it. I know this sounds radical as it is not the mainstream philosophy, but I only go by experience. My graduates rarely return to using cocaine.