acquiesce - June 9th, 2022

How CBT Can Help with a Cocaine Addiction

When treating an addiction to cocaine, it’s crucial to find the right approach for your unique circumstances. At Acquiesce, one of our most popular forms of treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at exactly what cognitive behavioural therapy is and how it can help you to overcome a cocaine addiction.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)? 

Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT is a focused approach that helps cocaine-dependent individuals understand and cope with the psychological aspect of their addiction.

It allows them to regain control over their thoughts and feelings, leading to a smoother path towards recovery.

Identifying the connections between the individual’s thoughts and actions can change the way in which they view their addiction, giving them a new perspective and hope for moving forward.

How Does Cognitive Behavioural Help Individuals Overcome a Cocaine Addiction?

Cognitive behavioural therapy often discusses ‘automatic thoughts’. These are the first thoughts that come into an individual’s mind that originate from internalised negative feelings or fears from a past trauma, mental health issue or as a result of misconceptions they have been taught, such as “Once an addict, always an addict.”

These negative thought processes and beliefs can undermine your efforts to make healthy choices, which is why CBT works to debunk these insecurities and misconceptions and provide tools to increase positive thinking.

How Does Someone Become Addicted to Cocaine?

As with other drugs, repeated use of drugs (often at weekends, clubbing or partying) such as cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward circuit and other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. 

The reward circuit eventually adapts to the extra dopamine caused by the drug, becoming steadily less sensitive to it. As a result, individuals become less sensitive to the dopamine their own body produces and they can be left feeling depressed, angry and agitated.

This then leads to the individual using cocaine more frequently in order to feel ‘normal’ and happy once more.

However, the issue with this is that the brain continues to become more tolerant to the drug and the individual will have to start taking stronger and more frequent doses to feel the same high they did initially and to obtain relief from withdrawal symptoms. 

Taking such high and frequent doses can lead to an overdose, just one of the reasons why it’s essential to tackle cocaine addiction early on. 

Addiction can also be broken down into 4 steps of a cycle:


The trigger of an addiction is either an external factor or internal thought that triggers strong feelings. These actions or feelings are most likely negative and can be difficult to face or resolve alone. Common triggers include:

  • Stress from work
  • A traumatic experience
  • Breakup/Divorce
  • Mental Health Disorders e.g. Depression, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Bipolar Disorder.


Instead of confronting these issues or seeking help from a doctor, these feelings and concerns are pushed aside or avoided.


The individual uses substances such as cocaine to evoke positive feelings and replace the negative emotions. This is of course a quick fix and does not solve the problem long term, but rather takes the focus away from it for a short time.


If these actions are repeated as a way to keep avoiding having to deal with the negative emotions or actions and they start to become a dependency, then an addiction begins. This is especially true if the individual finds themselves trying to stop but ends up relapsing.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps to find the trigger and teaches individuals how to confront it and cope with it healthily moving forward without resorting to drugs.

What are the Benefits of CBT with Cocaine Addiction Recovery?

Cognitive behavioural therapy works well in treating so many different addictions due to its flexibility and adaptability.

Thanks to its evidence-based, recovery-focused approach, CBT is highly effective and offers a number of short and long-term benefits, including:

  • CBT acknowledges the past and looks forward to the future, helping the individual to review and renew their old ways of thinking to facilitate a positive change.
  • CBT interrupts the negative thought patterns, allowing the individual to change their feelings and behaviours and create healthier coping mechanisms and make better choices.
  • By confronting their self-defeating thoughts, the individual will gain greater levels of self-awareness and self-esteem to replace some of the feelings of shame that hold them back. This creates a greater foundation for recovery.

CBT Cocaine Treatment at Acquiesce

The Acquiesce Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-based approach includes SMART recovery, psychosocial interventions and positive psychology. These support an individual to gain skills, tools and resources to manage their addiction practically day to day.

They allow an individual to look at the reasons behind their actions and behaviours, and at the relationship between the way a person thinks and their problems with addiction.

They are aimed to support the individual to break the cycle of destructive behaviours and actions and to form new healthier habits so that they can respond to challenges in a more effective, healthier way.

Acquiesce approaches the two main factors of the psyche: Spiritual and Social.

As part of the spiritual CBT, you can gain the following skills:

  • Yoga
  • 12 Step approaches
  • Meditation
  • Spiritual principles
  • Healing Therapies
  • Workshops
  • Affirmations
  • Mindfulness

As part of the social CBT, you will have access to the following:

  • Mutual aid
  • Educational advice and access
  • Employment support, advice and guidance
  • Social and leisure activities, bowling, walks etc
  • Family support
  • Housing advice and guidance
  • Budgeting advice and support

Get The Right Kind Of Support With A Cocaine Addiction

If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from a cocaine addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. At Acquiesce, we provide a programme and treatment which includes cognitive behavioural therapy to help you overcome a cocaine addiction.

Get in touch with our team today to find out how our drug rehabilitation programme can help you.

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