Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Addiction Recovery
02/21/19: Addiction Recovery
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is an evidence-based mental health counseling therapy that was discovered in the 60s by Dr. Aaron T. Beck. This form of therapy has been used to treat mental health issues, but now has been used in addiction recovery treatment.
What Is CBT?
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is talk and behavioral therapy. Patients that undergo this form of therapy are encouraged to reframe their negative thinking patterns and turn them into positive ones. They are encouraged to discuss what is going on in their mind so that they may cope with any negative feelings they are having. Changing one’s thoughts will ultimately change actions and behaviors.
This therapy focuses on understanding the way a person thinks, feels, and perceives themselves and the world around them. CBT aims to modify a person’s behavior patterns with positive and negative reinforcement, depending on which behavior a person wants to promote or obstruct.
Exploring what a client does or does not want to do is all apart of the CBT process. CBT pushes the client to look at their problems closely under a microscope to truly understand where the problem stems from and what they need to do to stop it or reinforce it. This can help a client truly understand themselves and what they need to do in order to achieve the change they wish to see.
CBT For Addiction Recovery
For many people struggling with addiction, it is a behavior pattern that they cannot break. Some may want to live in the addiction or may not even realize they have an addiction. For those that want to live sober, they realize that they are struggling with addiction, want to make a change, but don’t know how. This is why CBT has become increasingly popular in the addiction recovery world.
Not only is CBT used to fight drug/alcohol addiction, it is also used to fight any other addiction you can think of. Gambling, sex addiction, eating addiction, and any other excessive behavioral patterns that may be harmful to a person. All these things are considered bad habits and bad habits are not easy to get rid of. Some addicts try their hardest to defeat addiction on their own, but often times fail because it is not only a matter of free will. This is where CBT comes in.
CBT’s purpose is to try and explore a person’s thoughts and feelings in hopes to alter their behavioral pattern and help them beat their addiction. Any kind of addiction can alter the way a person thinks and feels, creating an unhealthy behavioral pattern that reinforces their addiction.
During Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Recovery, addicts sit down to record their thoughts, feelings, and emotions in order to better understand why they have an addiction. They also go through this therapy in an effort to manage their triggers, or what causes them to fall back into their bad habits. Through this, a person can identify their problems and effectively cope with them in an effort to beat negative feelings and their addiction.
During CBT, clients are guided on a journey that helps them refocus on reality. Through this, they can identify destructive behaviors that encourage bad habits, and eventually, build up positive emotions to fight against the negative ones.
The CBT process can be summed up into 4 simple steps:
- Identifying the sources of negativity.
- Becoming mindful of the emotions and beliefs associated with the sources of negativity.
- Recognizing and reframing negative thinking patterns.
- Practicing positive thinking and personalized coping mechanisms in real-world situations.
How CBT Works as an Addiction Treatment
The Cognitive Behavior Therapy process helps addicts overcome their negative behaviors with the following techniques:
- Dismiss negative emotions (insecurities, doubt, depressions, etc.)
- Self-help that helps boost their mood when needed
- Promotes healthier communication
Another great thing about the CBT process is that addicts can use these techniques to help them focus on their recovery and manage their triggers. Triggers are what causes an addict to fall back into their destructive behaviors and coping with/managing them is vital in addiction recovery. However, triggers are not so easily managed. It’s important for an addict to use these three techniques in order to avoid any possible relapse from their triggers:
- Recognize: The first step in recovery is to recognize and understand that there is an addiction. This is the first step in managing triggers.
- Avoid: Once triggers are identified, next is the finding out how to avoid or remove them.
- Cope: Lastly, once you figure out how to avoid triggers, it’s essential that you find ways to cope with any negative emotions triggers may bring out. These negative emotions can cause relapse and it’s important to know how to cope with them in order to stay sober during your addiction recovery.
Types Of Addiction CBT Can Treat
CBT can be used to treat many different addictions. Most notably, CBT is often used to treat substance abuse victims. Cocaine, marijuana, meth, heroin, and alcohol are all very common addictions for those going through CBT. These are easily the most common substances that are abused. CBT is great therapy for those who are trying to kick their addiction and achieve long-term sobriety.
Not only can CBT help with addiction, but it can also be used to help treat mental disorders. This therapy has seen great success when it comes to treating those with mental health disorders. Some common mental disorders people deal with in CBT are anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, OCD, and ADD. It is not uncommon for people outside of substance abuse to go through CBT to help them manage their negative behavior patterns.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in order to help them achieve long-term recovery. It’s important for these people to understand their behaviors and better manage them.
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