Many detox and rehabilitation centers today use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) when working with people seeking addiction treatment.  This form of mental health counseling was developed by Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s.  It has helped many individuals find a happy road to recovery.  In its simplest terms, this form of therapy helps people identify and confront troublesome thoughts and emotions during their recovery phase from addiction.  Due to its success rate, it has become the prominent therapy method for addiction treatment today.

Therapists using CBT to work with clients help them to find the relationship between their thoughts and actions.  This helps them understand and become more aware of how emotions and decisions can affect their recovery process.

Disorders Treated with CBT

Along with addiction treatment, CBT has been used to successfully treat individuals with other disorders.  This includes bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  While CBT techniques can be used by individuals themselves, it is best to work with a trained therapist particularly in the early stages of recovery.

The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Process

The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is for the individual to recognize that some feelings and harmful behaviors are not rational.  They may stem from past negative experiences or buried issues.  As the person begins to recognize what motivates them to feel or do harmful things, they can better deal with the emotions when they arise.  If their motivation or issue is not addressed, it can lead to further substance abuse and prevent recovery.

During their sessions, therapists work with individuals to identify their ‘triggers’ or negative thoughts.  Negative thoughts are created from misinformed instincts or compulsions.  Often, they develop because the person has insecurities that have been deeply buried.  When negative thoughts do come to the surface, people self-medicate with drugs or alcohol in an attempt to deal with them.  While working through painful memories may not be pleasant, in the end, it lessens the impact they have.  During the process, they are also developing new constructive behaviors to prevent relapse.  To facilitate thinking, therapists often give tasks for patients to work on when they are not in session.  For many, thinking through everything in quiet moments can bring helpful insight that is beneficial to the whole recovery process.

Addition Treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The prime cause of depression and anxiety disorder is rooted in automatic negative thoughts or self-doubt.  Individuals with addiction issues often also report experiencing either one or both of these disorders.  It has been found that people with either issue will be more liking to abuse drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.  Some recovering addicts may receive medications, such as antidepressants, in conjunction with their therapy sessions.  This will be part of their treatment plan.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help Recovering Addicts?

This type of therapy helps individuals identify and deal with their insecurities and negative thoughts when they occur.  This can prevent them from turning to drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with their emotions.    The tools and skills they learn during therapy helps them to better manage mood changes and communicate what they are feeling or going through.

Learning to Manage Triggers

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cognitive behavioral therapy helps recovering addicts identify and manage the triggers that may cause a relapse in three significant ways:  recognize, avoid and cope.  First, the therapy helps individuals identify the situations that created the cycle of addiction.  Identifying the source of pain or events that led to drug use or drinking helps break the cycle and prevent a relapse.  As the triggers are identified, the recovering addict then can avoid those situations or people in the future.  At the same time, the CBT techniques that they have learned during therapy now become effective tools for dealing with negative thoughts or problematic emotions as they arise. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, reach out to us. We offer a great program designed specifically around your needs. We want to make sure you see the full light of recovery and do whatever possible to make it happen. Contact us today.

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