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Scientists claim ‘another’ cure for cocaine addiction is in reach

As addiction specialists, therapists and doctors, the team at Smarmore are always looking for ways to improve our Addiction Treatment Programme by keeping up to date with current research claiming to treat cocaine addiction effectively.

Medical Opinion: Experimental vs Evidence-based Therapies for Cocaine Addiction

As addiction specialists, therapists and doctors, the team at Smarmore are always looking for ways to improve our Addiction Treatment Programme by keeping up to date with current research claiming to treat cocaine addiction effectively.

“It has been scientifically proven that residential rehab offers the greatest chance of long term sobriety for patients addicted to cocaine; there are always ‘experts’ that are looking to change lead into gold.'”

At Smarmore, we have successfully treated over 3,000 addicts. We know that the substance or drug of choice is only a symptom of the problem and rarely the cause.

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Patients and medical experts often look for an elixir to stop addiction in its tracks. In this case, a study has found that they can prevent mice from wanting cocaine by blocking the effects of taking cocaine. In essence, the cocaine will not do anything for you. More on cocaine addiction treatments.

New data from scientist Ming Xu (Department of Anesthesia & Critical Care | The University of Chicago ) suggests there might be another alternative cure for cocaine addiction within reach.

We question whether it will be indeed as effective as therapeutic interventions.

Such claims of magic cures are bound to excite cocaine-addicted users. After all, if your solution to life’s problems is to pop a pill, then Ming Xu’s argument might ring bells.

Ming Xu claims are under pined by the following two points:

  1. That cocaine addiction is only about a physical dependency
  2. Remove the effects of cocaine and the user will not ‘use’ anymore
  3. There are no psychological/emotional factors to choosing or abusing coke in the first place.

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What the study says

An enzyme in blood plasma called butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) destroys cocaine by breaking it down into harmless byproducts. However, the enzyme is not fast-acting and does not remain in the bloodstream long enough to help addicts.

Therefore, scientists in Chicago began to rewrite the DNA to create an improved, modified version 4,400 times more potent than its natural counterpart. The scientists and researchers concluded that these engineered cells could be implanted under the skin to release cocaine-busting enzymes into the blood.

Tests performed on mice showed that the concept might work. Results showed that mice sought cocaine less than the untreated animals and could withstand fatal drug overdoses (12kg in a 75kg person).

The implanted stem cells for humans could provide enhanced levels of BChE for 20-30 years, protecting cocaine users for years – however, none of the side effects has been looked into or studied.

The gene therapy had found it could dampen cravings and protect from overdoses – but will it be effective and at what cost?

What it won’t do – its limits

Cocaine-blocking therapy may take away the drug, but it won’t target the reason you turn to coke in the first place.

Here at Smarmore Castle, we have successfully treated over 3,000 people battling drug addiction, with cocaine addiction being one of the most common dependencies.

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From our hands-on clinical experience and confidence in evidence-based therapies like CBT, we understand that treating cocaine addiction is more than just removing the substance from your system.

Taking cocaine begins with a choice; continuing to use it relies on learnt internal beliefs about self.

At Smarmore Castle, our therapists delve deeper into the psychological reasoning for turning to substances and risky behaviours time and time again.

When it comes to cocaine addiction, there is, and never will be an easy, straightforward magical cure. However, such methods exist in treating alcoholism with medications like Disulfiram, which will make you sick if you drink. And whilst this technique will prevent you from physically drinking, it does not take away the need, the want, the desire, or the reason.

You need to take mental health into consideration

Improving mental health often plays a poignant role in cocaine addiction recovery.

Addiction therapies used to target cocaine addiction, such as CBT, DBT, EMDR, are proven methods to help patients manage mental health difficulties like anxiety, depression, trauma, anger and more.

From 2018 to 2019, data collected from 72,000 addicts showed that more than half (55%) expressed help with mental health and (79%) said they were already receiving some form of support.

Read more: The relationship between mental health and cocaine.

Rehab is the most reliable option

Mental health issues can happen to any one of us, and they do happen quite often, for some as a lifelong battle and for others as a visiting guest. But as cocaine worsens your co-occurring disorder symptoms, it can lead you to take more of the drug to cope.

For some, conditions like depression can go unnoticed and instead be blamed on external factors happening in your life.

Depression has the power to grip you and leave you unable to talk about your problem, let alone admit one exists. And whilst cocaine is undoubtedly not good for mental health and worsens the symptoms, it can end up taking most of the blame when it comes down to how you feel.

Say cocaine wasn’t involved – how do you feel? What were you feeling when you first started taking it?

If you don’t feel much like yourself, or feel awful, or lost, you will likely continue to look for validation or reward from other substances or behaviours – and this could continue for the rest of your life.

This, in a sense, explains cross-addiction, where an addict switches substances or adopts a process addiction (gambling, sex etc.)

Drug addiction might indicate a present mental health need, which our therapists can help within a residential rehab environment.

Like us at Smarmore Castle, rehabs use evidence-based, proven therapies that help people recover successfully daily. We’ll remove cocaine from your life and instead install therapeutic techniques and methods that will likely serve you for the rest of your life.

Remember, everything we do is learned – so let’s unlearn and re-educate so you can get clean and rediscover your path to happiness again. Let us be the hand that brings you back. Call +353 41 214 5111.

Get in touch today

To find out how we can help you, please telephone Smarmore Castle on our 24-Hour Helpline: 041 214 5111 or click here to arrange a free addiction assessment.
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Last updated & clinically assessed 30 March, 2022