Addiction Treatment Methods: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) by Rehab Recovery Centers

Addiction is a progressive and devastating disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Due to the prevalence of addiction in America, thousands of addiction treatment centers have begun utilizing a variety of therapeutic methods to help individuals recover. One of the main therapies used in addiction treatment is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, introduced in the 1970s, is known as an effective therapy for the treatment of substance use disorders and various mental health conditions.  For example, CBT is commonly utilized in the treatment of addiction, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. To explain, CBT is known to focus on the connection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to provide patients with coping skills to navigate triggers. This form of therapy is used in combination with other treatments and therapies to help addicted individuals build a strong foundation of recovery and sobriety.

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy combines the aspects of behavioral and cognitive theories to create a goal-oriented therapeutic approach. As a result, patients are able to rectify maladaptive patterns of thought while improving negative emotions and behavioral responses. To continue, CBT is a collaborative form of addiction therapy, as the therapist and patient work together to create a completely individualized treatment plan containing unique goals and plans for the future.

CBT was originally developed to treat depression, however, this form of therapy is now used to treat a variety of mental health conditions and issues such as:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Trauma

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy differs from traditional talk therapy, as it involves more than just discussion between therapist and patient. For example, CBT sessions are centered around skill-building activities and after the sessions, patients are required to complete homework in their own time. This allows patients to practice applying what they have learned into real situations in their lives.

CBT Utilized in Addiction Treatment

During addiction treatment, many patients participate in CBT. CBT is a brief form of therapy that focuses on empowering an individual and encouraging them to rely on themselves and their abilities. The goal of CBT is to instill enough coping skills and mechanisms in an individual patient, that they are able to apply them in real life after completing addiction treatment.

CBT for addiction treatment focuses on eliminating substance abuse patterns by replacing them with healthy coping mechanisms. Additionally, CBT helps patients to identify triggers, plan ways to avoid triggers, and learn healthy ways to deal with emotions or situations that would typically lead to substance abuse. This is extremely beneficial for addicts and alcoholics who have previously had a hard time staying sober or have dealt with multiple relapses.

What Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat in Addiction Treatment?

The goal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to increase awareness of a patient’s thoughts, actions, and the consequences of both. As a result, patients gain a better understanding of their motivations and patterns of drug or alcohol abuse in their life.

Treating Cognitive Distortions

During active addiction, many individuals suffer from cognitive distortions. Because of this, addiction treatment programs utilize CBT to treat these cognitive distortions. To explain, cognitive distortions are flawed perceptions about the world, the people around you, and yourself or your future.

Examples of cognitive distortions include:

  • All-or-nothing thinking – Seeing things in black or white, without understanding that there are gray areas in every situation.
  • Mental filter – Focusing only on the negative things.
  • Disqualifying the positive – Believing that the positive things do not count due to some outside negative force.
  • Overgeneralization – Viewing a recent, negative event as something that “always happens”.
  • Jumping to conclusions – Assuming your thoughts, feelings or beliefs are true without any evidence.

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Individuals suffering from addiction frequently deal with co-occurring disorders. During addiction treatment, patients must heal and learn how to cope with any underlying mental health conditions that they suffer from. Fortunately, CBT is utilized in addiction rehab to help identify and treat comorbid mental disorders as well as symptoms of addiction.

CBT addresses psychological issues directly to:

  • Reduce or eliminate the underlying causes of addiction
  • Create strategies and plans to prevent a future relapse from occurring

Once patients are able to eliminate cognitive distortions, treat the causes of their addiction, and create strategies to stay sober, they are ready to begin navigating real life and applying the techniques they have learned when necessary. This allows patients to live full, successful, and sober lives.

Finding Addiction Treatment that Uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If you or a loved one require addiction treatment that includes CBT, you are in luck. Because of the high success rates associated with CBT, many mental health and addiction treatment centers include this form of therapy in treatment plans. However, finding the right program for you or a loved one can become extremely difficult, especially if you are not educated on addiction treatment. If you need help finding a rehab program in your state that utilizes CBT, contact Rehab Recovery Centers to speak with a licensed addiction specialist.

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