How Does Motivational Interviewing Help a Cocaine Addict?

Cocaine is an addictive drug that is found in the form of a white powdery substance that can be snorted or mixed with water and injected with a needle. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), cocaine is a mood enhancer. When the “high” of cocaine wears off, the abuser will crash and have cravings for days afterward. It is these cravings that lead to addiction.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a technique designed to improve rehabilitation outcomes for addiction treatment. It is defined by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Department of Service for Results as a “person centered communication method of fostering change by helping a person explore and resolve ambivalence. Rather than pressure, Motivational Interviewing looks for ways to access internal motivation for change.”

Cocaine and Addiction

In the United States, approximately 1.5 million people abuse cocaine annually. According to NIH, cocaine is one of the top five most heavily abused drugs in the country. There are many signs that may point to an addiction to cocaine, such as the following:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Constricted arteries
  • Decreased blood flow
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Lung damage
  • Kidney failure

These signs and symptoms must be taken seriously, as they can ultimately lead to death. The NIH states that cocaine is responsible for more emergency room visits than any other drug. There are treatment options available for cocaine addiction, though, including motivational interviewing.

Motivational Interviewing and Addiction

The process of Motivational Interviewing (MI) focuses on optimism, respect, benefits for change, and empathy. Practitioners of MI operate under the assumption that with encouragement, a person is more likely to approach change and rehabilitation with an open mind, instead of viewing it as a battle to be fought.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supports Motivational Interviewing as a collaborative effort between the patient, the counselor, and family. Constant encouragement and empathy lessen feelings of distrust, confrontation, and resistance, which can block addiction treatment and rehabilitation therapy.

The Stages of Change

SAMHSA’s approach to Motivational Interviewing focuses on a step-by-step process known as the “Stages of Change”. The process accepts that an addict follows a process of change and that Motivational Interviewing helps a patient through these stages. The stages are described by SAMHSA as the following:

  • Pre-contemplation – Not seeing a problem behavior or not considering change
  • Contemplation – Acknowledging there is a problem but struggling with the pros and cons
  • Preparation – Taking steps and getting ready to change
  • Action – Making the change and living the new behaviors
  • Maintenance – Maintaining the behavior change

The Stages of Change allow counselors to determine where addicts are in their recovery process and use motivational strategies to promote recovery throughout the cycle of change. The process is designed to lead to positive treatment outcomes that promote understanding of the addiction and higher goals of rehabilitation.

Cocaine Addiction Help

If your or someone you love is dealing with addiction or you are seeking strategies for intervention, there is help available. Please call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admission coordinator that can help connect you with the treatment options that may be right for you and your situation. Lines are open 24 hours.

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