Published on May 5th, 2021 | by Bibhuranjan0
6 Ways Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Aids Addiction Recovery
The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes substance use disorder as a mental disorder that affects an individual’s behavior and makes them unable to resist or control the consumption of drugs and alcohol. As a mental illness, one of the treatments for addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy.
This therapy is commonly used in treating substance addiction in most treatment centers in the country, including Fort Myers drug rehab centers and other Florida-based treatment facilities. Whether for inpatient or outpatient treatments, cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to provide patients coping techniques for stress. In therapy, patients also learn to anticipate issues and enhance their self-control to help them achieve recovery.
What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
As a form of psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is part of substance abuse recovery programs and helps treat co-occurring disorders such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. During therapy sessions, therapists guide patients to explore how their thoughts and feelings affect their behavior. Individuals can use CBT to recover from drug and alcohol addiction by:
- Recognizing circumstances that may influence them to drink alcohol or use drugs
- Preventing triggering moments from affecting them
- Finding different coping strategies to help them withstand substance cravings
- Practicing self-control to resist addiction triggers
- Learning how to cope with other external factors that may lead to substance abuse
- Changing previous harmful habits
- Managing negative emotions
How Does It Work?
Cognitive behavioral therapy begins once a patient has completed the detox process. A therapist engages the patient by asking them questions that will provide insights into what led to their substance abuse. In the therapy sessions, individuals recovering from substance use disorder learn how to:
- Identify their triggering factors – As part of CBT, the therapist may ask the patient to recall the last time they used a substance. They need to try to identify the circumstance they were in and the factors that led them to drink alcohol or use drugs. They may also be asked to revisit painful memories until they gain acceptance of the past and reduce the anxiety.
- Recognize the emotions triggered by particular situations – The patient will need to think about how they felt in those situations. Did they feel afraid, anxious, or pressured? This exercise is important because it allows them to identify and label the emotions they felt, so that they know how to recognize them in the future. In the therapy sessions, patients are also guided to examine and evaluate any negative thoughts that occur impulsively. For example, they may see feedback from their boss as a criticism of who they are as a person. To evaluate it, they are offered different pieces of evidence that may disprove their initial thoughts and allow them to see the situation for what it truly is. In this case, the boss may be simply be telling them what they need to improve on.
- Understand the consequences of their actions – What did they do after feeling a certain way, and what were the consequences of their actions? Did they strain any relationships or risk their safety? These are very important questions for patients to answer so they can understand their immediate reactions to certain emotions. They may also discover certain patterns in their behavior that led them to use substances.
- Change their beliefs on substance abuse – As part of the recovery, they need to unlearn previous behavior and thought processes that led them to abuse substances. A new mindset is needed to help them overcome their substance use disorder.
- Develop healthier coping skills to prevent substance abuse – Patients learn healthier ways to deal with negative emotions. Therapists may also teach them techniques on how to manage stress like using positive thoughts to change their behavior. Patients may find that shifting to positive self-talk can be more effective for preventing them from using drugs or drinking alcohol than being too hard on themselves.
- Support their long-term recovery – Research shows that patients retain the skills they learn during their cognitive behavioral therapy when they complete their treatment. This is important to ensure their recovery beyond the walls of the rehab facility.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective way to treat substance use disorder. It is often partnered with other methods to help individuals maintain their substance-free lifestyle. Since every situation is different, those struggling with addiction need to consult their doctors on the best treatment plan for them.
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