Cognitive-behavioral therapy, also referred to as CBT, has been used to treat substance abuse issues since the 1970s. 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.
CBT is talk therapy, and a combination of both behavioral and cognitive theory. The main focus with this type of treatment regime is pinpointing the behaviors and thought patterns that cause someone to struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. 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.
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.
How CBT Works
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.
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.
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.
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.
Analyzing Thought Patterns
One thing clients are often asked to do when undergoing CBT treatment is 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.
Creating A Healthy Schedule
Planning for 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 clients general mood and strengthen the client’s will power to avoid relapse.
Benefits Of CBT
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.
We’re Here To Help
If you or a loved one are looking for the right substance abuse treatment, consider our CBT offerings at Soba Recovery Centers. We have locations in Arizona and Texas, and we specialize in detoxification, residential inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and aftercare options. Reach out to us today to learn more!