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Answers to more than 1000 questions about psychology, mental health, healthy living and relationships, written by a team of experts appointed by the Commission of the European Communities.
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The aim of Web4Health is to give good and useful free medical advice, help and self help in the areas of mental health, psychology, personality disorders, relationships, stress, anxiety, depression, emotional abuse, substance abuse, sexual abuse, types of mental illness, etc.

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When the Use of Cocaine Gets Out of Hand

Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.

First version: 22 Jul 2008. Latest revision: 22 Jul 2008.

Question:

 What can you do when you realize that the use of cocaine gets out of hand?

Answer:

The only good advice is to stop using cocaine. If you choose to do so, it is absolutely necessary to change your lifestyle with possibly radical consequences, for example, not going out with the same people anymore, or going out to other places. Maybe it is better to stop going out completely and find yourself some other activities. It is important to make a conscious choice; that you realize why you want things to be different. It can help to make up a balance. Make an inventory of what you like about using cocaine; for example, no worries, more self-confidence, a free feeling with others around, and the ability of keep on partying and drinking. Also make an inventory of the disadvantages of using cocaine: the money it costs you, the bad and unsatisfying feeling you have afterwards, the embarrassment.

You can also make a balance sheet of the expectations when you stop using cocaine. What do you think you will lose when you quit? What are you afraid of (losing friends, having a 'boring' life)? And what do you think are the advantages of quitting, what will it bring you? Once you have made these lists, the motives should be clear to stop or to continue. If you decide to stop, prepare yourself. Which things in life do you have to change to make it happen:

  • Who are you going to inform about your plan and ask for support? Maybe a non-using friend?
  • What will the support look like? Make different plans for the weekend. Agree that you can always call when it is tough.
  • Who else should you inform? Possibly the people you used to go out with and use?
  • What can you do during the weekend? Make a kind of program for the weekend. If you do want to go out, how can you do that without using? Or maybe it is better not to go out and try to do something else. More.
  • How do you deal with the desire to use? Think of what you can do when you feel the need to use: try to list as many alternatives as possible, for example, take a shower, exercise, call a friend: find distraction.
  • What are risky situations? Determine what you consider risky situations/feelings/thoughts that could cause you to use again (for example: "one last time", or feeling lonely, or having a lot of money and the opportunity to buy some cocaine). Try to find alternatives for all these situations.
  • To put it briefly: if you want to quit, you should prepare thoroughly and ask for support in your surroundings.
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