7 Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Treatment

7 Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a common treatment technique for drug addiction and alcoholism as well as various other mental disorders. CBT is a type of psychotherapy that is usually used on a short-term basis. It works to analyze the patient’s feelings, thoughts and behavior, and the relationship between them. Many other types of psychotherapy utilize the therapist as a guide while the patient actively reflects and talks about their thoughts and feelings. However, CBT involves the patient and therapist working in tandem to discover and analyze these thoughts and feelings.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is used to treat a number of mental conditions, which include addiction, substance use disorders, OCD, PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression and more. CBT focuses directly on problems and implements action whenever possible. For that reason, it’s known as a very rigorous and active type of psychotherapy because it involves a lot of work for both the patient and therapist. However, this intensity is also why it’s very successful in treating addiction and other mental disorders.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Substance Abuse?

The core idea behind CBT is that your thoughts cause your feelings and behaviors, not outside things like other people, situations and events. With that in mind, even if you can’t change your situation or circumstances, you can change and redirect how you think about them. According to the premise of CBT, this will then change how you feel and behave in general. In addiction treatment, CBT can help in the following areas:

• Improving self-control
• Recognizing situations where you might be tempted to use drugs or drink alcohol
• Avoiding triggers
• Developing strategies to cope with triggering situations
• Coping with other issues that lead to substance abuse

The primary goals in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are to help patients learn new coping strategies, change unhealthy habits and learn how to deal with painful emotions.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works In Treating Addiction

Skills training and functional analysis are the primary components of CBT. In skills training, CBT teaches you to unlearn negative behaviors and learn more effective coping skills. Substance abuse is often a way of managing stress or negative emotions, but it’s obviously not a real coping skill. In reality, it simply hides the problem and allows the person to get away with not thinking about it. CBT seeks to root out these problems and show patients better ways to deal with them. CBT skills training helps in the following areas:

• Unlearning negative habits
• Learning healthier habits and skills
• Changing the way you think about addiction
• Developing new strategies to deal with things that previously led to substance use

Skills training also helps you learn to tolerate distressing emotions and situations. When you encounter times of depression or anxiety, you can then manage those feelings in a healthier way rather than trying to suppress them with substance use.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy also employs functional analysis, which takes a close look at behavioral causes and consequences. You will work with your therapist to identify the various thoughts, emotions and situations that have led to using drugs or alcohol in the past. This helps you identify your risks for relapse. During functional analysis, your therapist might ask you various questions about your thoughts and feelings before you decided to use drugs or drink. Some common questions are as follows:

• What were you doing before drinking or using?
• How did you feel at the time?
• What happened immediately before you decided to drink or use?
• Did anything positive happen as a result of drinking or using?
• What were the negative consequences of drinking or using?

CBT functional analysis can also help you understand why you turned to alcohol or drugs in the first place. You will spend some time examining the various thoughts, feelings and circumstances that led you to alcoholism or drug addiction. This will further help you identify the areas where you have difficulty coping.

Benefits Of CBT For Substance Abuse

People with substance use disorders often struggle with negative emotions and thought patterns that inhibit their recovery process. CBT focuses on identifying and replacing these negative patterns. This works to improve a person’s outlook on life and also supports developing skills that assist long-term recovery. Let’s take a closer look at seven specific benefits of CBT for treating addiction.

1. Creating a Support Network

CBT provides instant support for those working through addiction. Since it focuses on action, patients know that they have someone to talk to and go to for help as they work through problems related to addiction. When someone is interested and invested in their recovery, patients are more likely to feel motivated to change unhealthy behaviors.

2. Improving Self-Esteem

For many people with addiction, low self-esteem is one of the root causes of their struggles. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps to improve self-esteem by taking action towards solutions. As you begin to find answers and solutions to your problems, you begin to have a stronger belief in yourself.

3. Developing Positive Thought Patterns

It’s common for negative thought patterns to take over in mental health disorders like addiction. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps patients identify negative thought patterns and to analyze them for accuracy. Once you realize that your negative thoughts are unrealistic and inaccurate, you can start turning them into more positive patterns.

4. Managing Anger

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also help with anger management. Negative thoughts often turn into guilt and shame, which results in misdirected anger at the world. It’s common for those with drug addiction or alcoholism to have a lot of misplaced anger. CBT teaches patients how to control their emotional responses and identify why they’re angry.

5. Cultivating Communication Skills

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help you improve your communication skills, which in turn can help your relationships. CBT works on finding ways for patients to effectively communicate without getting angry or feeling ashamed.

6. Learning Coping Skills

People with substance use disorders often have poor coping skills. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy provides ways for patients to express themselves and find healthy outlets for stress and frustrations.

7. Preventing Relapse

Relapse is common with substance use disorders. This is due to patients finding themselves in triggering situations and being unable to cope without using. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps patients identify their problems and develop coping strategies for stressful situations.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most researched and effective forms of treatment for mental disorders. It’s typically combined with other treatment methods that may include medication, holistic modalities and other forms of psychotherapy.

New Method Wellness is a dual-diagnosis Addiction Treatment Center that offers programs for treating substance use disorders like alcoholism and drug addiction. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of our many effective methods for treating addiction and promoting a lasting recovery.

For more information about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy visit our website or call 866.951.1824!

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