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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Addictions

Unmasking Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT is a method used to treat mental illnesses and addiction by addressing negative thoughts and feelings.

A classification of mental health counselling is cognitive-behavioural therapy which was founded in the 1960s by Dr. Aaron T. Beck.


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Cognitive-Behavioural therapy is helpful to people to address any problematic thoughts and feelings which they could have in order to overcome addiction.


Nowadays, CBT has become a common part of treating addictions. Patients undergoing CBT treatment are taught to recognize the triggers in their minds, emotions, and behaviour that lead to them taking the drugs. This makes it easy to work on recovery.

Along with addictions, CBT also facilitates treating various co-occurring disorders, such as the following:

  • Nervousness
  • Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD]
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Various forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Various forms of eating disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

There are many rehab centres that provide CBT and you can find one near you today.


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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. Such feelings and behaviours may be caused by either environmental effect or experiences from the past.

With the help of cognitive behavioural therapists, recovering addicts can fetch out negative "automatic thoughts" of their own. A person's feelings play a very big part in the life of a person and their addiction. The abuse of drugs or alcohol is in many cases an attempt to get rid of these negative thoughts.


A person can stop their over dependency on drugs if they identify the thoughts and emotions that lead them to abuse drugs or behaviour in a certain way.

These addiction can be gradually minimised if they address the past experiences and thoughts. The positive behaviours that are learnt through CBT can thereafter be used instead of using drugs or alcohol.


Dependency Treatment And Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

It is Automatic negative thoughts that are often the major cause of various depressions and anxiety disorders, which commonly occur together with addiction.

It means that automatic thoughts can make a person more likely to take drugs and drink alcohol.

How to identify what brings on the urge for the drug or alcohol on a day to day basis. There are three ways in which CBT can help recovering users deal with triggers according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Drug Addiction And Alcoholism Can Be Overcome With The Help Of Cbt Because

  • Helping them dismiss misconceived notions and insecurities that have possibly led to substance abuse.
  • Strengthen the patient with better ways of self-motivation.
  • Training people how to speak up about their feelings to others.

How To Manage Triggers

  • Recognize Triggers In Time
  • Learn to identify what makes you want to take drugs or drink.
  • Avoid The Triggers
  • Try as much as possible to get away from these trigger situations.
  • Cope
  • This involves dealing with the thoughts and feelings that cause you to abuse the substance using methods learnt in CBT.

You don't have to be at the centres to try using the CBT techniques of overcoming addiction. Recovering addicts do not need to visit a specialist for advice but can indulge in several CBT exercises by themselves either from home or in a group setting.

The techniques of CBT are also being used in the SMART programs and other self help groups on addiction.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Practices

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

Some of the exercises are:

  • Keeping Thought Records
  • Patients recovering from addiction review their automatic negative thoughts and search for solid evidence that proves and contradicts these thoughts.
  • The participants are supposed to evaluate their thoughts critically to see the downsides it is causing to their lives.
  • The objective is to assist them to think in a balanced manner and critically evaluate their thoughts to feel constructive about themselves.

For example: "My boss thinks I'm worthless. I need to have a drink to feel better' becomes 'it's normal to commit mistakes, and I can learn from the example. I will have a chance to prove my worth to my supervisor by rectifying my mistake. 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
  • The people can overcome their feelings by thinking of a past experience that was unpleasant.
  • During this moment, they are required to take note of every sight, emotion, sound, thought and impulse.
  • This will get rid of any nervousness they have been feeling.

Example: A young man emphasises on uncomfortable memories of his childhood. He reproduces every feeling and emotion which he experienced at that moment. Following constant experience, the recollection lessens the pain and thereby decreasing the craving for alcohol or drugs.

  • 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.
  • All the activities on the list should be easy to do, simple, and trigger positive emotions.
  • Preparing these lovely exercises assists to low negative involuntary feelings and the ensuing desire to drink or abuse drugs.

Example: A financial advisor working in a high stress environment can take 15 minutes off the job to do something relaxing instead of turning to alcohol or drugs when overwhelmed. Instead, the break is used to listen to a recently released song from a new music sensation.


How Cbt Or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Varies From Other Therapies

While others therapies may be less hands-on, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy provides an approach that is much more attentive.

The addicts who are recovering can have an active session with their therapists who will be willing to listen not just passively. Both the therapist and the patient are actively involved in the therapy session and work together.

The foundation of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focuses on action-based treatment, which will be rapid. A number of 60 to 90-day rehabilitation programs also include CBT within the package to provide people an opportunity to learn instant coping techniques.

It may takes years to see tangible results with most psychotherapy methods. More often than not, CBT needs 16 meetings to deliver significant results.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can easily be adapted, which makes it very idyllic in both outpatient and inpatient situations as well as group and private counselling atmospheres. Numerous therapists and addiction treatment centres are commonly including CBT along with the recovery plans which are offered by them.