Cognitive Behavioral Therapy | CBT Therapy for Addiction
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a goal-oriented treatment program. It is designed to be short-term and is typically included in many rehab programs. The goals of cognitive behavioral therapy are to change clients’ behaviors, feelings, and thought processes. It focuses on beliefs, attitudes, and thoughts and how they relate to the ways people behave.
Psychiatrist Andrew Beck discussed cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in the 1960s. According to Simply Psychology, Beck’s therapy methods build on the ABC technique of irrational beliefs introduced by Albert Ellis.
Beck stated that people typically have constantly flowing inner dialogues that they don’t fully share with others. Cognitive behavioral therapy addresses cognitive thought processes that help clients identify emotionally charged thoughts. CBT introduces behavioral techniques to help clients understand and address negative emotional thoughts that interfere with healthy lifestyles.
People use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a common treatment method to address issues with anxiety or depression. It provides assistance for clients who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction and people who have trouble sleeping or difficulties with relationships. The CBT approach is a treatment that addresses a wide range of issues.
Professionals design CBT treatment to fit into their clients’ lives. Clients typically attend one session (typically around 50 minutes long) each week. The CBT process often takes months to address problems that are interfering with clients’ lives. Science Direct explains that CBT often takes anywhere from six to 12 months or more, depending on individual clients and their conditions.
CBT may be an effective addiction treatment. Addiction often relates to strong emotions, emotional struggles, or trauma. When professionals and clients identify such underlying influences during CBT, people can better understand and treat their addictions.
Also, addiction typically goes hand in hand with negative thinking, which may create patterns that are hard to break. When individuals think negatively about their accomplishments or the way they live their lives, they may be more vulnerable to addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy works to help address people’s thinking patterns.
When people recognize their addictions, treatment is the next consideration. While the ultimate goal is to fight and overcome addiction, treatments must address the multiple facets of one’s life and be tailored to the specific needs of individuals. Cognitive behavioral therapy may address these needs. Specialized treatment is more likely to be effective and reduce the risk of relapsing and re-entering the cycle of addiction.
How Addiction Affects the Brain and Behavior
In the early days of scientific study into the why and how of addiction and drug abuse, two common misconceptions were that drug users lacked both morals and willpower. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, research breakthroughs have given us a better and more compassionate understanding of addiction. Today, we understand that addiction is a disease that affects the brain and behavior. It does not occur because people lack morals and willpower.
Addiction leads to changes in the brain. The changes make it difficult to recognize the problem of addiction, let alone seek out treatment and rehab options. When attempting to help people with addictions, it is important to understand their problems from their perspectives. It is also important to learn the various components of treating addictions. The process is lengthy and intricate, and cognitive behavioral therapy is often only one part of the entire process.
Narcotics and alcohol addiction produces changes in the brain that are physical and long-lasting. The changes occur in the areas of the brain that handle judgment, decision-making, behavior control, learning, and memory.
Fighting addictions includes making changes to these important areas of the brain. The option to enter a rehab program, where the staff is well-versed in addiction struggles and the treatment required to overcome them, could be a worthwhile consideration.
Entering residential (inpatient) rehab centers can help people with the therapeutic process. By relocating, clients limit their physical access to individuals who may have enabled their drug addictions. Relocation can also help to reduce the environmental triggers that encourage people to continue using drugs and alcohol.
Inpatient and outpatient rehab programs are available relatively close to many locales. This availability makes it hard to argue that clients cannot travel to treatment programs.
Many rehab programs use cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT helps drug and alcohol users recognize the consequences of their behaviors and the triggers that lead to their substance abuse. Recognizing these factors and learning how to minimize them or eliminate them altogether are primary goals of CBT.
During cognitive behavioral therapy, professionals assess addictions and any mental disorders. Once that phase has been completed, cognitive behavioral therapy introduces ways to change people’s thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and environment to create more positive and productive lives. Making these changes may minimize triggers that lead to drug or alcohol use or other addictive behaviors.
Many rehab programs use cognitive behavioral therapy, other therapeutic tools, and other forms of treatment. The collaboration between the various methods may lead to more success in understanding and treating addiction.
How CBT Works to Counteract the Damages of Addiction
Studies on the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy have shown that it may be more beneficial for women than for men. This is because women may benefit from empowerment models, so the cognitive behavioral therapy approach may help women more than 12-step approaches.
Research studies indicate that cognitive behavioral therapy is often more effective when used in conjunction with pharmaceutical regimens and/or residential approaches. Researchers found that “79% of individuals treated with CBT showed rates of substance-use-reduction.”
CBT also recognizes and addresses underlying mental disorders that may occur in conjunction with addiction. Treating mental illnesses increases the likelihood that cognitive behavioral therapy may successfully treat drug or alcohol addiction.
Addiction may damage relationships with loved ones, interfere with the successful completion of daily tasks, and cause financial ruin. These conditions could contribute to negative thoughts and continue the cycle of addiction.
Using cognitive behavioral therapy provides treatment that allows clients to recognize these issues and develop behavioral techniques. This may help them change how they handle issues and allow them to create more successful and positive lifestyles.
CBT works to reprogram the addict’s dependence on the substance of choice. It allows the individual to recognize the underlying reasons behind the Addiction, as well as the components that keep them within the cycle of Addiction. CBT provides a healthy alternative to these coping methods and the dependence on a drug that interferes so greatly with a successful lifestyle. Therefore, the introduction of CBT goes a long way toward assisting an addict in recognizing the elements of the patient’s Addiction and his or her options when it comes to successful treatment.
Addicts who have moved on to lead successful lives are known to use the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques learned in Rehab into their daily lives. The use of CBT to introduce better decision making and the efforts of the rehab to encourage patients to take a walk, channel their energy or frustration into a creative outlet or otherwise process those cravings for a substance are the reason that success stories exist.
The concept of rehab came about because it was recognized that addiction was more than a bad habit and required removal from the environment in order to provide treatment and a more effective resolution to the Addiction struggle. Today, Rehab is recognized as an optimal way to address addiction, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a widely used method of helping addicts overcome their struggles. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, CBT in conjunction with disulfiram has been successful in the treatment of dependence on cocaine. Another successful combination for cocaine treatment has been the use of CBT and citalopram.