Suffering From Addiction? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help

Written By Alla Levin
January 09, 2024

Suffering From Addiction? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach. It’s commonly used to treat depression and other mental disorders. There has been promising research showing that it is also a handy tool in treating drug addiction and alcoholism.

It has proven particularly effective when integrated into a complete treatment plan. CBT is a structured and goal-oriented short-term approach to addiction and alcoholism that usually lasts less than six months. It teaches people how to identify negative and self-defeating thoughts and actions that often fuel addiction and substance abuse. It’s a very useful tool in unlearning maladaptive behaviors that play a role in developing alcoholism and substance abuse.

CBT for Substance Use and Alcoholism

Programs like the Huntington outpatient program seek to help those with mild substance abuse problems, and CBT is sometimes part of individual treatment programs. These programs use CBT in two ways: functional analysis and skills training. During the functional analysis, CBT works to help patients discover the causes and consequences of behaviors.

During therapy sessions, the patient will identify thoughts, feelings, and situations that lead to becoming an addict to help pinpoint what could lead to a relapse. Getting a better grasp on what’s driving or contributing to the addiction allows patients to actively choose to find ways to manage better what’s fueling drug or alcohol use.

The skills training is a way to help patients unlearn destructive habits and behaviors and learn new, healthier ways of managing stress, tough situations, and mental health issues. It is also instrumental in changing the way patients perceive their substance abuse and learning healthier coping strategies to combat the forces that led to alcoholism or addiction. Patients discover ways to tolerate distressing feelings better.

Benefits of CBT

Battling with negative thoughts and feelings can make recovery extremely difficult. However, CBT is meant to help patients identify and replace the destructive patterns that are derailing their lives. It’s a big help in supporting long-term recovery.

This therapy does well with assisting patients in improving their self-control, becoming more self-aware, learning to isolate self-destructive thoughts and actions, and exploring healthy ways to handle distressing situations. Developing coping strategies can help avoid relapse, and CBT is a facilitator to inspire patients to be more motivated to recover from addiction and alcoholism. The skills that are learned during CBT are useful in more than just overcoming addiction. Patients often apply them to other areas of their lives.

CBTs Effectiveness on Alcoholism and Addiction

CBT can be used effectively on its own or combined with another treatment modality to treat addiction. But it works best when paired with other treatment options. There are several distinct interventions to use independently or combined. It’s a highly researched therapy and there’s tons of evidence supporting its efficacy. This psychosocial approach has far-reaching effects that can positively change lives.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, there is help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline can help you get started on the road to recovery wherever you are.

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