This form of addiction is a serious issue that can have lasting effects on your health and damage your relationships. If you are wanting to stop, it’s important to know recovery is possible.

Cocaine is a stimulant which increases the speed of message transmission in the brain. It tends to trigger a state of euphoria, intense energy, heightened sensitivity and intermittent reduction in appetite and the need for sleep. Cocaine use can lead to anxiety, mood swings, impulsive behaviour and physical health concerns including heart problems, headaches and stroke and gastrointestinal difficulties.

Cocaine may be a popular recreational drug in your social circle, or in your professional industry. Individuals also sometimes start using it to aid weight loss or improve performance at work or in athletic endeavours.

This may then lead to:

  • Requiring progressively higher amounts of cocaine to reach the same ‘high’.
  • Inability to reduce the amount of one is using.
  • Experiencing cravings and urges to use.
  • Decreasing ability to fulfil responsibilities at work or at home.
  • Continuing to use in situations that may lead to physical danger.
  • Reduced involvement in previously important or meaningful activities.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms and continued use to ease the withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment for cocaine abuse may involve admission to a detox or rehabilitation admission to support a person to safely cease their pattern of use. Ongoing therapy is often required, and may incorporate psychodynamic psychotherapy which explores unconscious patterns of relating to self and others through the activation of various defence mechanisms, along with motivational interviewing, which seeks to clarify and support an individual’s wish to change. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), which explores the links between thoughts, emotions and behaviours in the context of substance use, is another treatment methodology that may be drawn upon.

Call Bayside Psychotherapy on (03) 9557 9113 to find out if we’re able to help you. Your call is completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation.

You can also book an appointment by using our online booking form for online appointments. Or, if you prefer, you can book an in-clinic session.

The trained team at Bayside Psychotherapy will aim to help you manage or overcome your cocaine problem.

How can counselling help with cocaine addiction?

The difficulties most often faced by people trying to free themselves from addiction occur when they encounter the often unsettling withdrawal symptoms that come after deciding to quit. This is also complicated by the fact that the emotions and thoughts your addiction was blunting return to full power, and they can seem very threatening and overwhelming.

Our therapists aim to help you work through the emotional upheaval during cocaine withdrawal, and consider collaboratively the origins of your difficulties with addiction. It is very important for individuals to be as honest as possible about their substance use. Clients with a sustainable commitment and a proactive approach to engaging in therapy tend to get the most out of the process.

You can make an appointment for an in-clinic session at our Highett premises in Melbourne, or online using Skype, Zoom or other secure platforms.

Call us on (03) 9557 9113 or use our contact form to book your confidential appointment to discuss your individual circumstances.

How long will treatment take?

Timeframes vary from person to person. There may be more than one attempt at finding a viable treatment option for you but we will work with you to try to manage your addiction to cocaine, usually recommending a team care arrangement depending on the circumstances. It can be a slippery road with diversions, speed humps and potholes along the way. If you feel ready to speak, especially after having engaged with an addiction doctor who recommended therapy, feel free to reach out for an initial session.

What is Bayside Psychotherapy’s treatment philosophy?

We are committed to providing high quality evidence based care. To facilitate safe withdrawal, we often suggest engaging an addiction doctor, psychiatrist or detox program. From there, our therapists work collaboratively in alignment with the goals of each individual to develop a program to help them work through the triggers and factors driving their substance use. The treatment is customised to your needs. If something isn’t working, it can be altered. Our practitioners may draw on multiple treatment approaches to target your particular symptoms of addiction, anxiety, and substance withdrawal.

Make your appointment online. Alternatively, call our Highette clinic at (03) 9557 9113 during business hours, or use our contact form to enquire. Your call is completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation.

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Note: This information is informative only and is not to be used for diagnosis or substitution of appropriate assessment and/or treatment by a registered practitioner. Information on this page and our entire site should not be construed as implying that our therapists are specialists in treating any particular condition. While some of our therapists may have experience working with people suffering from a specific condition, not all of our therapists do. We do not guarantee any particular level of performance, cure or management of symptoms. Each case is unique and responds differently to treatment, and collaboration between client and therapist is crucial. Always seek appropriate assessment from a qualified professional such as a GP, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist or social worker before seeking treatment, and especially if you are acutely distressed.

Frequently Asked Questions

An addiction to cocaine is a critical health issue that can have lasting effects on your physical and mental health, as well as your overall wellbeing, relationships, and workplace associations. Cocaine emits a psychoactive effect when ingested and produces its highly addictive effects primarily by acting on the brain’s limbic system - a set of interconnected areas that stimulate pleasure and regulate motivation. An initial, short-term effect releases a build-up of hormones which causes a rushing sense of euphoria, and thus the desire to take the drug again, often repeatedly until a true addiction has formed.

In the short-term, as well as the rush of dopamine, which causes an intense feeling of pleasure, elation and contentment (and is often referred to as the “happy hormone”), cocaine can also temporarily decrease the need for food and sleep, leading people to believe they can do anything, and at a quicker speed. In saying this, other users have reported feelings of sluggishness, a lack of motivation, and even depression when the drug is exiting the system (often referred to as the “come down”).

Long-term effects of cocaine use can lead to substance abuse of other dependants such as heroin or methamphetamines; disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks; sleep disturbances; mental illness; depression; headaches, seizures, strokes, coma, and even death.

There are several risk factors associated with cocaine addiction. These include a person’s predisposition to addiction, their brain chemistry, being exposed to trauma, malnutrition, and living in unstable and unhealthy environments.

A person’s genes can put them at an increased risk for cocaine addiction and abuse too. Living with a family member that abuses the drug often dramatically increases the likelihood that others in the household may develop an addiction to the same or similarly dangerous substances. Exposure to the repeated use of the drug can also increase the chances that a person will develop an addiction themselves, as well as experiences with childhood trauma, bullying, and substance-abusing parents.

Whilst there is currently no universal medication approved to treat cocaine addiction, treatment for cocaine abuse and dependence may involve admission to a rehabilitation centre to support a person to safely detox and eventually cease their habit. Ongoing therapy is also recommended for some people (often following rehab discharge), which may encompass behavioural interventions or psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Exploring the unconscious patterns of relating to one’s self and others through the activation of various means of defence, psychodynamic psychotherapy uses motivational interviewing that seeks to simplify and sustain an individual’s goals to improve. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) may also be suggested and implemented and aims to explore the links between thoughts, emotions, and behaviours all in relation to addiction.

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Therapists who do online

  • Adam Szmerling
  • Carolina Selvarajoo
  • Humaira Ansari
  • Kelli Tranter
  • Lawrence Akers
  • Natalie Szmerling

Therapists who do in-clinic

  • Adam Szmerling
  • Natalie Szmerling