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Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Print version ISSN 2237-6089On-line version ISSN 2238-0019


ARAUJO, Renata Brasil et al. Cue exposure treatment and coping skills training as adjuvant therapies in the management of craving in a crack cocaine addict. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. [online]. 2011, vol.33, n.3, pp.181-188. ISSN 2237-6089.

OBJECTIVE: An increased prevalence of crack cocaine users has been observed in clinical samples over the past years, underscoring the need for conducting research and developing treatment strategies aimed at this population. The objective of this study was to describe the case of a crack cocaine addict (inpatient) submitted to cue exposure treatment (CET) and coping skills training (CS) as adjuvant approaches to the conventional addiction treatment. CASE DESCRIPTION: A male patient, 29 years old, single, with complete high school, was dependent on crack cocaine and marijuana and also had a diagnosis of harmful alcohol use. The patient had been hospitalized for 2 weeks and had undertaken a protocol comprising four motivational interview and relapse prevention sessions. Six sessions of CET and CS were carried out over 2 weeks, including both in vivo and imaginal exposure to stimuli evoking craving for crack cocaine, such as a crack pipe, a lighter, and simulated crack cocaine rocks (in vivo exposure), or remembering places and friends associated with drug use (imaginal exposure). The patient was also trained to use strategies for the management of craving. Three months after hospital discharge, toxicological screening was performed to assess abstinence. CET and CS were considered by the patient to be important techniques for the maintenance of abstinence and of a low level of craving 3 months after discharge. COMMENTS: These findings suggest that the two techniques may be useful as adjuvant therapies in the treatment of crack cocaine dependents. CET and CS should be assessed in clinical trials in order to demonstrate their real benefits.

Keywords : Drug users; crack cocaine; substance-related disorders.

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