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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Addictions

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy And Understanding It

Over Dependency on drugs and other ailments can be treated by changing the thinking mentality and emotions of a person and this is the core of cognitive behavioural therapy.

Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s founded the Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as a means of treating mental illnesses.


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Help and resources from many people are required if you are looking to overcome an addiction. You can recover successfully with the help of either residential or non-residential treatment. There are mental health specialists on hand to help you learn life skills that will keep you on the path to recovery.

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They can get over any form of addiction by changing their mentality about it.


Today, cognitive behavioural therapy is widely used to treat addictions. Getting in control of your thoughts and perception about life an addiction will help in overcoming this behaviours and this is something the patients are trained on at CBT.

Apart from addiction, CBT is also used for treating co-occurring disorders such as:

  • Apprehension
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]

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How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Helps

CBT clearly shows that a good deal of destructive emotions and actions are neither reasonable nor logical. The nature of the place where a person is living and even their history may play a part in their behaviour.

A recovering user may have certain negative thoughts that automatically come to mind and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help to identify them. Involuntary ideas from a sudden urge and frequently emanates from a mistaken belief and a subconscious way of thinking based on low esteem and fear. It has been observed that many people look forward to be self-medicating themselves to overcome the painful thoughts and feelings with the help of alcohol or by abusing substances.


Addicts find it easier to overcome their addiction when they begin to understand why they are acting or feeling in a certain manner and how their feelings and actions are leading them to the use of prohibited substances.

The pain caused by certain experiences may be lessened if these events are revisited often and addressed. The positive behaviours that are learnt through CBT can thereafter be used instead of using drugs or alcohol.


The Role Of Cbt In Treating Addiction

The root causes of depression and anxiety which are common among people, and are co-occurring disorders with addiction emanate from the automatic thoughts which have imbibed themselves within the individual.

Someone is bound to start using drugs or be addicted to alcohol if they constantly have negative thoughts and feelings of depression.

How to identify what brings on the urge for the drug or alcohol on a day to day basis. As alleged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBT helps people recovering from addictions deal with their triggers in three main ways.


How Cbt Works In Helping Patients Overcome Addiction

  • The false beliefs and insecurity issues that causes substance abuse can be resolved using CBT.
  • Providing the tools needed for self-help to improve their moods.
  • Carrying out training on effective communication skills.

Skills For Managing Triggers

  • Recognise
  • Learn to identify what makes you want to take drugs or drink.
  • Shun
  • Stay away from places and situations that make you want to drink or take the drugs.
  • Confront
  • This involves dealing with the thoughts and feelings that cause you to abuse the substance using methods learnt in CBT.

Even when outside the treatment centre, you can still practice the methods learnt in CBT. Whether you are at home or in a group, there are many situations that you can use to practice the CBT exercises.

To encourage people to stay sober, various support groups such as SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training) program also make use of CBT when creating their self-help exercises.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Practices

There are exercises peculiar to CBT-based treatment for addicted patients.

Here are some examples of CBT techniques that are widely used in treatment of addictions:

  • Thought Records
  • Patients recovering from addiction review their automatic negative thoughts and search for solid evidence that proves and contradicts these thoughts.
  • They are required to list the evidence in favour of or against the automatic thoughts and indulge in a comparison and a contrast to the thoughts.
  • This helps them eliminate the bad thoughts and stick with the good thoughts.

An example is "My supervisor thinks and worthless. I feel better when I drink, I'll take a drink right now " becomes " it is okay to make mistakes as now I know what not to do. My manager will appreciate that I am learning from my mistakes and heeding his or her advice. I do not need alcohol to get a better feeling of myself.

  • Behavioural Experiments
  • To see the one that has a greater effect on behaviour, the effects of positive thoughts can be compared to those of negative ones.
  • It is well-known that some people respond better to self-kindness while others could display better responses to self-criticism.
  • These experiments are useful in finding out what causes an individual to improve their behaviour.

Example "I'm likely to binge drink less if I am hard on myself during and after the binge drinking" vs. "I'll probably have fewer drinks if I am talking to myself kindly after the session of binge drinking."

  • Creating Images In Your Mind
  • This exercise requires recovering addicts to think about a memory that can instigate powerful negative feelings.
  • The person then carefully notes what they were seeing, hearing, feeling and thinking in that moment.
  • Frequently by visiting the painful memories a recovering addict can reduce the anxiety caused by the memories over a period of time.

Example: A young man emphasises on uncomfortable memories of his childhood. He reproduces every feeling and emotion which he experienced at that moment. Eventually, repeatedly remembering this episode gives him less pain, and he doesn't feel the need to take drugs or drink alcohol to ease this pain.

  • Pleasant Activity Program
  • Enjoyable activities which can help break up regular routines can be learned by people simply by making a list of the healthy activities because the technique requires them to do so.
  • These are activities that are designed to elicit positive feelings and are usually easy to do.
  • By scheduling these simple activities that individuals can easily reduce some of the negative and automatic thoughts within the mind and gain control over the subsequent need to indulge in the use of drugs or alcohol.

Example: It will be better for an overworked financial advisor to consider relaxing at his or her desk for 15 minutes every day, rather than indulging in drugs or alcohol on the job. They may choose to use that time to listen to some music or read on something interesting.


How Cbt Or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Varies From Other Therapies

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is more likeable than many other methods of therapy.

The CBT sessions aren't simply about the therapist quietly listening while the patient goes on and on about their lives. In its place, addiction victims and therapists work collectively to overcome dependency.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy applies fruitful, action-focused techniques aimed at quick result. Most of the 60 - 90 day rehab programs have CBT as a component that equips addicts with immediate techniques to help in coping.

Some kinds of psychotherapy can take years until they produce a reliable result. In most cases, 16 sessions of CBT will yield tangible results.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be adapted to make it effective during inpatient and outpatient sessions, along with individual and group counselling environments. Numerous therapists and addiction treatment centres are commonly including CBT along with the recovery plans which are offered by them.