Individuals dealing with substance use disorders often benefit from psychotherapy or talk therapy. With therapy, people gain insights into the circumstances or reasons behind their substance abuse. An effective way to recover from addiction is to undergo addiction therapy.
Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is one of the most popular forms used in treating addictions. People who want to quit using substances can benefit from CBT as it can help identify the negative and self-defeating thoughts and actions that contribute to substance abuse.
Drug-dependent people can learn to abstain through this therapeutic approach.
CBT – What Is It?
The American Psychological Association defines Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as “a psychological treatment.” This type of mental health treatment has demonstrated excellent results in treating various psychological conditions, including substance use disorders.
CBT treatment focuses on treating, as the name suggests, the way we think and behave. According to CBT, psychological issues arise from the way we think and behave. A second principle of the therapy is that new coping mechanisms can be learnt, meaning that nothing in our behavior or thinking is set in stone and is changeable.
CBT is based on the idea that a person’s feelings and behaviors stem from their thoughts, not from external influences like other people, circumstances, or events.
Hence, changing your perspective is more important than changing your circumstances. CBT aims to change how you think, feel, and behave. It is empowering for people undergoing addiction recovery because it puts them in the driving seat to steer their course of life instead of the addictive urges. Reputed recovery centers, like the Delphi Health Group, use CBT in treating their patients that come for therapy sessions in their outpatient services.
CBT (CBT) can help a person:
- Enhance self-control
- Increase awareness about situations in which drug or alcohol use is most likely
- When possible, avoid triggering circumstances
- When situations trigger cravings, develop strategies to cope with them
- Identify and address other problems and behaviors that may contribute to substance abuse
What is the role of CBT in recovery?
The recovery process differs from person to person, depending on the substances used and the life circumstances. CBT, however, can be effective for a lot of people. Through CBT, people in recovery learn to identify and cope with the thoughts and behaviors that led to their substance use. In addition, coexisting mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, a common mental health issue associated with addiction, can also be addressed by applying this approach.
The goal of CBT is to allow individuals to identify exactly how they perceive themselves (their negative self-image), and how they misinterpret how others view or interpret their actions. Upon identifying these thoughts and feelings, individuals work with a counselor or a therapist to develop a plan in attacking the false and limiting beliefs.
By assessing oneself this way, one is less likely to rely on drugs or alcohol as a crutch and can avoid and overcome triggers and stressors.
The purpose of therapy is to redefine your perception of life, of the circumstances, and the challenges that can come in your way. Your therapist will help you walk through your thinking patterns in identifying the self-destructive tendencies that keep you tied to your addictive urges.
The Benefits of Using CBT for Addiction
Cognitive-behavioral techniques can help you overcome your addiction in many ways, including:
Substance abuse is interlinked with depression. Individuals who are unaware of their depressive tendencies may turn to alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism. Consequently, this creates a substance-use disorder, which in turn exacerbates your mood disorder.
The goal of CBT is to inculcate an awareness within you to identify negative thoughts, so that you can then deal with the negative patterns in a constructive way. Changing your thoughts will then influence you behaviorally. CBD oils also help manage depression symptoms. Consult your doctor if you’re eligible to use cbd oil for mental health issues. Know more about it here.
One of the primary factors underlying addiction is the presence of a low self-esteem. With CBT, however, self-esteem can be improved. Once an addict’s self-esteem has been treated, they may be able to overcome the self-destructive behaviors.
Moreover, the more you reinforce a person’s self-worth, the more likely they are to believe that they deserve a much better life than the one they currently have.
The person struggling with an addiction must have a strong desire to improve his/her situation in order to overcome the addiction. Without this desire, addiction counselors know most addicts will not be able to overcome their addiction permanently.
Anxiety is different from depression. Depression can last for a longer time, but anxiety is more cyclical, with greater effects on the person’s mind and body. CBT can help reduce anxiety by letting you accept your shortcomings and avoid dwelling on the mistakes or problems. CBT teaches whatever the life conditions may be, we can always find a way to overcome it.
Develops positive thinking
Negative thought patterns often reinforce feelings of helplessness among addicts. They often turn to drugs, alcohol, and gambling as coping mechanisms for these distressful, bleak feelings. It is possible to replace this negative-thought pattern with positive thinking that helps us combat the challenges coming our way. The likelihood of engaging in destructive behavior, in order to cope with a stressful situation, is much lower for individuals who are confident that they can handle whatever life throws at them.
Resisting peer pressure
Most people find peer pressure hard to resist, and addicts, in particular, are at risk of relapse when they meet old addict friends of theirs. In CBT, they will learn to practice new behaviors that will help them achieve goals.
After CBT, they’re much more likely to consider refusing to partake when offered their drug of choice. Thus, they increase their resistance to peer pressure. They learn to say “no” to the substances or activities that created the addiction in the first place. Eventually, they will start to feel more confident in exposing themselves to the high-risk situations for relapse and still manage to control themselves.
When it comes to treating alcoholism and substance abuse, cognitive behavioral therapy can be highly effective. The treatment can be used alone or in combination with other approaches to support a person’s long-term recovery.