How long does it take to recover from the effects of cocaine abuse?

I’m often asked by clients when does it get better?  Some people are troubled by the effect of their substance abuse and that they don’t feel as sharp as they used to be, or have difficulty in dealing with certain aspects of everyday life.

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After long periods of drug abuse there can often be a decline in person’s mental faculties.  Using drugs like cocaine can cause a decrease in short-term memory, mental reasoning and also executive functioning.

What is executive function?

Executive function is a clinical term that refers to how a person’s brain manages information and tasks. It is concerned with planning, time keeping, paying attention, impulse control, avoiding saying or doing the wrong things and asking others for help. 

 

The higher amount of cocaine a person uses has a direct effect on the increase of damage done to the functioning of their brain. Dependent cocaine use is associated with a range of neuropsychological impairment.  Studies show us that 30% of dependent cocaine users exhibit significant cognitive impairment (Vonmoos et al 2013).

Most people would probably respect the fact that doing large amount of a drug normally associated with risk and danger would cause some damage, but can the damage ever be repaired?

Cocaine or crack cocaine has been shown to cause an effect upon the brain’s functioning for some 12 months into a person’s abstinence (Vonmoos et al 2014).

It’s important to understand this, if you’re recovering from heavy cocaine abuse your judgement and ability to set yourself achievable goals might be severely affected for the first 6 months.

In a rehab setting we often encourage people to let go of their previous way of thinking and trust in the process of overcoming their addiction.  This can sometimes seem like a leap of faith for some.

As a significant amount of people will face problems post-rehab, we also encourage people to look beyond their 2-3 month stay here and adhere to a strict relapse prevention plan to aide them through these difficult 12 months.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4104339/

-Written by Dylan Kerr

 

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