Cognitive behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) is typically used for mental health treatment. It is a type of talk therapy conducted by a mental health counselor. In this type of therapy, clients attend one-on-one sessions with a therapist to help them deal with their negative thoughts and emotions. This treatment helps people identify negative thinking which allows them to begin changing the patterns to develop more positive behaviors.
CBT can be used by itself or in combination with other therapies. CBT benefits people who are struggling with mental issues like depression or PTSD, and it is also effective for treating addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy for drug addiction helps an individual change their way of thinking in order to make the adjustments needed to facilitate addiction recovery.
Some of the automatic negative thoughts, also known as cognitive distortions, that people commonly experience include blaming, catastrophizing, dichotomous thinking, emotional reasoning, labeling, mind reading, overgeneralizing, and personalizing. The types of thoughts involved in each of these can vary widely, but they often include assumptions that may be intensified by emotions.
These thoughts can make it difficult for a person to take a step back from the situation and evaluate it before reacting. These patterns of thinking are usually invisible to people until attention is drawn to them, often by a therapist, which makes it even more difficult to realize how much they can affect everyday actions. Learning to notice and overcome these patterns can lead to successful addiction recovery.
Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Overcome Addiction
CBT is applied to addiction treatment by identifying potential issues and then helping the client develop the skills to cope with those problems before they happen. By learning how to avoid situations that can lead to drug abuse and how to deal with the urge to use, you can discover and develop new patterns that will keep you from turning to substance abuse.
When it comes to addiction, people may experience cognitive distortions that contribute to their substance abuse. Perhaps you tend to overgeneralize situations and expect that because your spouse came home late from work one night, they will continue to do so even though they are usually on time. This may cause you to become overwhelmed by your thoughts and feelings, leading you to pour a drink to deal with the situation. CBT can help you realize that although the situation may seem persistent, you are capable of recognizing that it is a rare scenario and you are able to deal with it using healthy coping skills instead of alcohol.
The previous example also illustrates how CBT can help people avoid relapse. When an individual becomes addicted to a substance like drugs or alcohol, they often develop a set of negative behaviors that hinder recovery. CBT helps people identify these behavioral patterns in order to eliminate them, replacing them with positive behaviors. When you are able to look at a situation with more clarity, it can help you see that turning to drugs or alcohol only causes more issues in the end.
The skills that people learn while in CBT are meant to persist long after treatment has been completed. After you have finished with all of your therapy sessions, you are equipped with the skills and knowledge to continue staying away from situations and negative emotions that can lead to substance abuse and relapse.
Additionally, CBT can be combined with other types of therapy or medications to treat addiction. Addiction treatment specialists will be able to determine if CBT is a good choice for your situation. They will also evaluate whether adding medications or other therapies may make your treatment even more effective.
What to Expect During Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is a research-based treatment that effectively treats drug and alcohol abuse, as well as other mental health disorders. CBT is designed to be therapeutic while focusing on problems and goals.
A patient works with a therapist in a relaxed environment to identify the behaviors, thoughts, and actions that lead to thoughts of drug abuse. Once these are discovered, the therapist and patient work to come up with alternative thinking methods that can help avoid negative behaviors.
In addition to therapy sessions, patients work on practicing CBT during everyday life. This can include things such as watching for examples of cognitive distortions, keeping a journal, practicing mindfulness, and working to overcome automatic thoughts. Clients come to their next session ready to talk about what they identified, practiced, or struggled with. The counselor can encourage progression in each area as the activities eventually become more natural.
The skills a patient learns in cognitive behavioral therapy for substance abuse are both useful and practical. By learning strategies to cope with the negative feelings that may trigger drug or alcohol abuse, clients will be better able to handle the difficult situations that can come up during life’s stressful moments.
Developing healthy coping skills is an important part of CBT. These may include deep breathing, relaxation techniques, improved decision-making skills, and retraining thoughts. By using these skills in place of turning to drugs or alcohol, you will be able to regain control of your life and stay sober, even when challenges arise.
Developing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Skills During Rehab
Cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction can be very beneficial to individuals who are attending rehab. The skills learned using CBT can result in great success for those that need rehab to get back to a better place in life. Rehab programs allow people to take a break from their normal lives in an environment that is supportive and encouraging. Because you are away from some of the situations or people that may be triggering for you, this is an excellent time to think about what types of issues you may need to prepare to face in the future. Building these skills with the help of trained addiction professionals before you need to actually use them is an excellent way to set yourself up for success in the future.
Individuals can meet with a therapist for CBT treatment while in rehab. They can also partake in dual-diagnosis treatment to get to the bottom of any co-occurring problems that may exist, such as depression or PTSD. The most important part of CBT in rehab is to identify the negative behaviors and patterns that cause a person to turn to substance abuse. These behaviors can then be eliminated and replaced with positive thoughts and behaviors that will keep an individual struggling with addiction away from situations that can trigger them.
If automatic negative thoughts and feelings are not identified and managed, then it will be much more likely that an individual will relapse even after going through a full rehab program. The skills learned in CBT are meant to last a person a lifetime so they can avoid relapse and build toward a healthier and happier life free of addiction.
Success Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
During cognitive behavioral therapy, you meet with a trained therapist to talk about your thoughts and feelings in a safe and private environment. Along with your counselor, you work to identify and understand thoughts and behaviors that can lead to negative consequences such as substance abuse. During treatment, you can learn the skills necessary to cope with these thoughts and to replace them with positive versions.
The core of CBT is dealing with thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to substance abuse. When applied to addiction treatment, results using CBT have been very successful in helping people overcome addiction and avoiding relapse.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is extremely effective in helping people figure out what feelings, thoughts, and situations are contributing to their substance abuse or addiction. Learning and developing these skills can help you achieve sobriety and live the happy, healthy life you deserve.