Cognitive Behavior Therapy also referred to as CBT Therapy, has been used to treat substance abuse issues since the 1970s. Over the years it has become one of the most widely used and effective drug addiction treatment methods. These days, CBT is used in a variety of ways. For some patients, CBT alone is enough to treat drug dependence. For others, CBT is used alongside other types of addiction treatment such as the prescription of withdrawal medications and counseling.
With cognitive behavioral therapy, addicts can learn how their thoughts, feelings, and actions are all connected. CBT is a short-term therapy method that focuses on changing thought patterns, which in turn can help people combat drug addiction.
There are important reasons why CBT is a preferred treatment method for addiction and is used in many settings. Before jumping into the benefits of CBT, let’s first describe what this treatment method is and how it works.
How CBT Therapy Works?
CBT is talk therapy and a combination of both behavioral and cognitive theory. The main focus of this type of treatment regime is pinpointing the behaviors and thought patterns that cause someone to struggle with drug or alcohol addiction.
CBT treatment starts with an initial meeting. During this time, the therapist or counselor will get to know the client. They’ll have a chance to speak about their previous drug use and what their life is like.
Addiction is the result of cyclical maladaptive thought patterns. A person struggles with addiction because they regularly return to negative, painful, and harmful thoughts. An addict will use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Many of the actions and emotions that fuel addiction are not rational. Instead, impulses can play a huge role. It can be difficult for a patient to learn about the potentially negative ramifications on their own. Even if you rationally know you should avoid drug use, you might succumb to your impulses. That’s what makes this form of therapy such a crucial one. The feelings and behaviors that fuel such experiences are often the results of past behaviors that have not been explored.
Once the addict has a greater level of understanding as to why they behave a certain way, it becomes much easier to successfully overcome addiction. CBT helps a patient to identify their personal “triggers”. These triggers are what cause negative automatic thoughts to take place. These thoughts are based on impulse and are based on internalized feelings.
During a CBT session, a therapist works with the client to teach them new coping skills. This skill set focuses on the person’s view of the world and system of beliefs. Instead of focusing on addiction alone, this therapy focuses on the behaviors and way of thinking of the addict.
After the ice is broken between the therapist and client, the therapist will put together a list of target behaviors to focus on during the therapy sessions. These target behaviors are the problem behaviors that trigger drug use. The goal of CBT therapy is to help the addict avoid triggers in the future.
How the Past Can Affect the Future
One of the important concepts of CBT is understanding how the past can affect the present and the future. For example, someone who suffered a traumatic event and has PTSD or someone who is coping with depression may be tempted to “self-medicate” through drug and alcohol abuse.
Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol are a terrible form of “medication” and will lead to more problems. While drugs and alcohol may seem to provide temporary relief, neither will address the underlying causes. Often, drug and alcohol abuse will worsen your depression and other mental conditions.
Instead of continuing to revisit their most painful memories over and over again, cognitive behavioral therapy allows them to overcome. Positive behaviors replace the negative ones, making long term recovery much easier for a potential patient.
CBT helps you recognize how bad memories from the past, pre-existing mental conditions, and other factors can inform and drive your impulses.
The Benefits Of CBT in Addiction Recovery
Addiction treatment is not about shoehorning the client into a plan that works for others. It is about finding the plan that works best for the client. CBT is a key element in addiction recovery and there are a number of benefits to be enjoyed.
CBT treatment is beneficial because it addresses the fact that substance abuse is typically the result of repeated thought patterns and behaviors. CBT treatment helps addicts manage their compulsion to consume drugs by identifying and avoiding the scenarios that bring rise to this compulsion.
It’s important to set goals in therapy. Unfortunately, overcoming drug abuse takes time. Setting intermediate goals and making a schedule for anticipated accomplishments is a good way to stay motivated throughout treatment. During CBT treatment, the therapist and client will set out specific goals that address behavioral problems that need to be corrected.
Analyzing Thought Patterns
One thing clients are often asked to do when undergoing CBT treatment is to keep a record of their thoughts. This record helps to pinpoint the negative thoughts that are the most damaging and most likely to result in drug use. Part of this step in CBT treatment is disproving negative thoughts.
Problematic thoughts are rationally analyzed to show that they are counter-productive. The therapist and the client make a list of evidence that shows how and why these thoughts should be corrected.
Automatic thoughts can drive drug and alcohol consumption. However, you can mentally learn to control these thoughts and may even be able to replace them with positive thoughts. Doing so can be difficult, especially in the beginning. With practice, however, you’ll be able to:
- Dismiss False Beliefs (i.e. I am not worth anything): Substance abuse is typically caused by insecurities and false beliefs. When we allow these beliefs to fester, they can lead us down the wrong path. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to change course. That’s why the professionals at Soba Recovery are here to help. Our experienced therapists walk patients through the process and keep them from experiencing fear and self-doubt.
False beliefs and insecurity tend to go hand in hand. If the addict does not replace these negative thoughts with positive ones, the recovery process is not going to go as smoothly as it could. Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves and dismissing false ideas that cause insecurity is a major piece of that puzzle.
- Use Self Help Tools to Better Your Mood (i.e. understanding that you are a valuable person): Patients do not always have the ability to make the right choices when it comes to their behaviors because they have not been given the necessary self-help tools. When patients are committed to their recovery and given access to the resources that Soba Recovery has to offer, they are given the self-help tools that are designed to help them better their moods.
Addicts will often use as a means of regulating their own moods and this is a behavior that must cease once the client is given the chance to re-integrate into their daily routine. The “triggers” that are experienced each day are what keep addicted people from being able to enjoy a full recovery. Thankfully, these triggers are easy to identify.
- Working on Communication Skills: A lack of communication skills can cause any patient to feel as if they are not being heard by their friends and loved ones and this is highly understandable. Communication skills are also important when it comes to properly expressing thoughts and ideas in a manner that is constructive. Addicts often find themselves accustomed to speaking in a way that is not helpful to themselves or others.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is designed to identify the situations where the patient’s communication is lacking and keep them from making the same old mistakes. Instead of relying on communication methods that do not get the desired results, the patient is given a whole new lease on life. Triggers are much easier to avoid when communication is strong and CBT is helpful for identifying communication-related issues.
False beliefs, poor communication, and an inability to help yourself all contribute to impulsive thoughts. By addressing these issues, you can improve your own mental state, which will help you resist and break the addiction.
One major focus of CBT treatment is identifying triggers that lead to drug use. After triggers have been identified, the therapist and client draw out a plan. This is a plan that will prevent exposure to triggers. This could include no longer frequenting certain locations or people that make relapse more likely. Preventing triggers could also involve obtaining control over thinking patterns that push the client to use drugs.
Many cognitive-behavioral therapists focus on three skills for managing your triggers, including:
- Recognize – Identify the circumstances, environments, and conditions that lead to drinking or substance abuse.
- Avoid – Learn how to avoid circumstances that will encourage you to drink or abuse drugs.
- Cope – Finally, use CBT tactics to address bad thoughts and to address emotions that could lead to drug abuse.
Creating A Healthy Schedule
CBT treatment isn’t just about avoiding drug abuse triggers. It’s more holistic than that. Part of CBT treatment includes developing a schedule of healthy activities. Improving overall health can improve the client’s general mood and strengthen the client’s will power to avoid relapse.
One of the best things about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is that it can be used outside of the therapist’s office. Once you learn CBT strategies, you’ll be able to use the tactics on your own. CBT can become part of your daily efforts to reduce drinking and substance abuse.
CBT has proven to be one of the most effective methods for treating drug and alcohol addiction. While there’s no sure-fire cure for addiction, essentially everyone struggling with substance abuse should try CBT.
Further, CBT helps address underlying issues. Anxiety and depression can lead to addiction and make it harder to break the cycle. CBT can help you cope with mental conditions. In the long run, this will lead to better mental health.
Benefits of CBT Therapy On Mental Health
Mental health is one of the most important aspects of addiction recovery. With the assistance of CBT, patients have the chance to confront the aspects of their thought processes that are causing them to experience problematic thoughts. By overcoming the thoughts and feelings that fuel addiction, patients stand a far better chance of having a successful long term prognosis.
CBT is not just for addiction, though. There are other mental disorders that are treated through cognitive behavioral therapy as well. CBT can offer much-needed assistance for those struggling with psychological conditions that may be linked to drug addiction including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Eating disorders
- Attention deficit disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
CBT Treatment for You
Interested in CBT treatment? Good for you! Learning how to use CBT tactics is a great step towards fighting and eliminating addiction. At Soba Recovery, we work with recovering addicts all the time and CBT is one of the many treatment methods we use.
If you or a loved one are looking for the right substance abuse treatment, consider our CBT services at Soba Recovery Center. We have locations in Arizona and Texas, and our treatment programs specialize in detoxification, residential inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and aftercare options.
When clients check-in at either our Soba Mesa or Soba Texas rehab centers, they are given access to the finest detox and drug rehabilitation that the region has to offer. When it comes to addiction treatment, there are few settings that can provide the same level of peace and tranquility. This ranch style setting delivers the peace of mind and comfort that few facilities can match.
There’s no one size fits all addiction treatment program. Often, a mix of treatment types, including group therapy, CBT, and more, is required to truly defeat addiction. Soba Recovery will work with you to develop a customized drug addiction treatment plan that will work for you.
Reach out to us today to learn more!