Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Addiction Treatment

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Drug and alcohol addiction are treatable conditions. Addiction changes the brain and creates patterns of thought, behavior, and emotion that impair day-to- functioning and lead to long-term problems.

The key to moving past drug and alcohol addiction – which we now call substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder, respectively – is finding the right treatment and the right treatment providers.

One pathway to healing is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT.

How CBT Helps People in Recovery

Self-sabotaging thoughts can fuel the disordered use of alcohol and drugs. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people in recovery by teaching them how thoughts and patterns of thought influence feelings and behaviors. Understanding this an important step in learning effective tools that lead to behavioral change.

This supports their primary goal: achieving lifelong sobriety.

Once an individual in recovery understands the connection between thought and behavior, the next step is recognizing how and when thoughts associated with addiction arise. The techniques utilized in CBT do exactly that: they teach people how to recognize and cope with these life-interrupting patterns of thought. Identifying these patterns and problems helps them avoid further harm to their health, life, and recovery.

Next, CBT helps people in recovery connect those thoughts with the behaviors that ultimately cause them harm. They learn how to identify those behaviors and habits, then replace the counterproductive habits of addiction with the positive habits of recovery. This process improves their overall well-being and increases their chances of sustained sobriety.

CBT and Co-Occurring Disorders

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help people in recovery manage challenging emotions and thoughts that are often associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trauma. This, in turn, allows them to understand how those co-occurring disorders contribute to their addiction. With guidance from a trained therapist, the person learns healthy and productive ways to cope.

A therapist helps them recognize unhealthy environments, people, attitudes, and situations. They also help the person anticipate future circumstances that might cause relapse.

In collaboration with a skilled therapist, a person in recovery can bring the cycle of negative thoughts and damaging behaviors under control. Additionally, where addiction strips a person of hope, CBT, and an experienced CBT therapist, can help them rediscover their optimism. The process of CBT helps them feel more positive about who they are and what they need.

More Benefits of CBT

Every person has a unique set of circumstances that leads to addiction. Reducing triggers and life-interrupting behaviors requires an individualized treatment plan to help them change course. Cognitive behavioral therapy offers many benefits for identifying and treating issues that prompted their misuse of alcohol and drugs.

CBT takes work, but it gives the person a chance to build a solid foundation for deep healing. In addition to those mentioned above, the benefits of CBT include:

  • Resolving problems in interpersonal relationships
  • Strengthening communication skills
  • Healing from a traumatic experience
  • Coping with loss, grief, and life stressors

These benefits help people in treatment create a life free from alcohol and drugs, because improvement in these areas has a positive impact in all phases of life. Recovery is about building a whole new set of personal coping skills and leaving the learned behaviors of addiction behind. CBT offers techniques that countless therapists and patients have applied successfully over decades. CBT skills create a solid foundation for independence and growth.

Take Control of Your Recovery

If you’re seeking treatment for an alcohol or substance use disorder, make sure any treatment center you consider has experienced CBT therapists on staff. That’s not the only thing to look for, though. The most effective treatment centers use an integrated, holistic approach to treatment, and CBT is only one piece of the puzzle.

In highly regarded and well-respected addiction treatment centers, individual counseling approaches like CBT are included alongside other treatment approaches, such as:

Recovery is a lifelong journey that you do not have to make on your own. Compassionate, evidence-based treatment provided by caring, experienced practitioners can help you change your life for the better, and give you the practical tools you need to learn, grow, and thrive in recovery.