Many people who attend addiction treatment are addicted to more than one substance. One of the most common multiple drug addictions involves cocaine and alcohol. According to a 2018 study, 74% of people who regularly used cocaine also abused alcohol, and up to 60% of people who are addicted to cocaine also have an alcohol use disorder.
Simultaneous cocaine and alcohol abuse can have devastating effects on one’s physical and mental health. If you or a loved one are addicted to cocaine and alcohol, our comprehensive treatment programs near San Diego can help you get your life back on track.
The Dangers of Concurrent Cocaine and Alcohol Abuse
People may mix cocaine and alcohol for numerous reasons. Both of these substances are popular in party scenes. People who are under the influence of alcohol may have poor decision-making abilities and reduced inhibitions, leading them to engage in risky behaviors such as cocaine use. They quickly realize that cocaine not only enhances the effects of alcohol, but helps them feel more awake, encouraging them to stay out and party longer.
On the other hand, people who abuse cocaine are often around alcohol, and may drink to enhance the drug’s effects. However, mixing cocaine and alcohol is incredibly dangerous because mixing cocaine and alcohol leads to the formation of cocaethylene, a toxic metabolite that is not present when each substance is used individually. This process occurs in the liver during the metabolism of both cocaine and alcohol.
Cocaethylene is associated with a range of adverse effects and increased toxicity. It has been found to be more harmful to the cardiovascular system than either cocaine or alcohol alone, leading to an elevated risk of heart-related complications. Not only that, but the prolonged presence of cocaethylene in the body can contribute to organ damage, particularly in the liver. It may also increase the risk of adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and arrhythmias.
Unlike cocaine, which has a relatively short duration of action, cocaethylene lingers in the body for a longer time and increases the risk of an overdose.
Polysubstance Abuse Treatment for Cocaine and Alcohol
Polysubstance abuse, particularly involving cocaine and alcohol, presents unique challenges that require a specialized and comprehensive approach to treatment.
The initial phase of treatment often involves detoxification, which must be conducted under medical supervision. Detox helps individuals safely withdraw from substances while managing withdrawal symptoms.
In the case of cocaine and alcohol, detoxification aims to stabilize the individual physically before proceeding to the next phases of treatment. Benzodiazepines like Valium (diazepam) may be prescribed to help lessen symptoms of withdrawal and prevent potential complications, such as seizures.
People who have a severe substance use disorder involving cocaine and alcohol can benefit from inpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment programs near San Diego offer intensive addiction treatment services on a residential basis. Clients live at the treatment program for the duration of the care, spending most of their time in various activities, such as:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Behavioral therapies (cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and others)
- Holistic therapies (art, yoga, exercise, nutrition, meditation, etc.)
- 12-Step facilitation
- Mental health treatment
- Relapse prevention therapy
- Aftercare planning
- Case management
In San Diego, treatment centers take an individualized approach to treating cocaine and alcohol abuse. Each of these services is uniquely tailored to meet your needs.
Some clients may qualify for medication-assisted treatment (MAT), an approach that combines medications with behavioral therapy and counseling. While there aren’t any medications approved to treat cocaine addiction, studies have found that treatment with disulfiram is associated with better treatment retention and outcomes, as well as abstinence from cocaine and alcohol, in people who were addicted to both substances.
Disulfiram, commonly known as Antabuse, is a medication traditionally used to treat alcohol use disorder by creating an aversive reaction to alcohol consumption, making people feel ill if they drink alcohol. This is thought to create an aversion to alcohol.
After finishing an inpatient program, individuals may step down to an outpatient program. During this time, clients begin integrating back into daily life while attending scheduled therapy sessions. Therapy provides ongoing support to help individuals cope with challenges that arise and prevent a relapse on cocaine and/or alcohol.
Sustained recovery requires a robust aftercare plan tailored to the unique needs of individuals overcoming polysubstance abuse. Aftercare may include continued therapy, support group participation, lifestyle adjustments, and ongoing medical monitoring for clients who are participating in medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Find Treatment for Cocaine and Alcohol Abuse Near San Diego
Seeking treatment at a specialized addiction treatment center that understands the complexities of polysubstance abuse is crucial. At ARISE Treatment Center, we recognize and understand the unique challenges people who are addicted to cocaine and alcohol face, and we’re committed to providing a high standard of care that paves the way for long-term recovery.
If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine and alcohol abuse and are seeking treatment near San Diego, please contact us today. An admissions counselor can verify your insurance, assess your situation, and match you with the right treatment program for you.