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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy As A Treatment

Unmasking Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

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.

Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, is a method of psychological and psychiatric counselling invented by Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s.


Get The Resources You Need To Overcome Dependency

Getting rid of an addiction needs certain resources and people. Drug addiction treatment programs, both outpatient and residential, will help you avoid relapses and stay sober afterwards. You can also learn the skills you need to stay sober from available psychological counsellors.

Make adjustments now by getting a suitable medical facility.


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


Cognitive-Behavioural therapy is presently in use during the treatment of 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.

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

  • Panicking
  • Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD]
  • Mood swings
  • Various forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Loss of appetite
  • 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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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy And How It Works

CBT recognizes that many behaviours and feeling are dangerous and make no sense. The feelings and behaviours of people could be coming as a direct result from past experiences and factors related to the environment.

It is the job of counsellors to help recovering addicts identify their negative feelings and actions, which are also known as "automatic thoughts." Automatic thoughts are generally impulsive and often as a result of misconceptions and internal feelings of fear and self-doubt. 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.

Recovering addicts can soothe the pain caused by distressful memories by repeatedly revisiting them. After that they can learn other, favourable behaviours that will replace those leading to drug or alcohol use.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy And Treatment For 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.

This clearly indicates that the automatic thoughts within the mind can make an individual susceptible to drug abuse and alcoholism as well.

Triggers are situations that can "trigger" cravings within the individual throughout the day and keep many people who could be addicted from improving to remain sober. Based on the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBT employs three keys to help those battling addiction resist triggers.


How Cbt Works In Helping Patients Overcome Addiction

  • Getting rid of all the negative thought that lead people to addiction.
  • Providing the tools needed for self-help to improve their moods.
  • Training people how to speak up about their feelings to others.

Keys For Controlling Triggers

  • Know Them (recognize)
  • Learn to identify what makes you want to take drugs or drink.
  • Shun
  • Try as much as possible to get away from these trigger situations.
  • Cope With Triggers
  • This involves dealing with the thoughts and feelings that cause you to abuse the substance using methods learnt in CBT.

The techniques provided by the cognitive-behavioural therapists can be practiced beyond the office of the therapist. CBT patients can use the techniques at home, office or join a support group.

Some of the self-help exercises taught in support groups such as SMART - Self Management and Recovery Training incorporate certain aspects of CBT.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Practices

There are different practices that are used to overcome an addiction using CBT.

Some of these practices are:

  • Thought Records
  • Patients recovering from addiction review their automatic negative thoughts and search for solid evidence that proves and contradicts these thoughts.
  • For comparison purposes, you can even list the proof for and against these negative thoughts.
  • The aim is to help them think positive, productive thoughts.

Example: "My manager thinks I'm useless." I need to have a drink to feel better" turns into "It's ok to make mistakes, and I will learn from them. If I learn from my mistakes and heed my manager's advice, she will appreciate it. I can change without having to use alcohol."

  • Behavioural Experiments
  • Here the exercises involve comparing negative thoughts and positive thoughts to see which influence good behaviour more.
  • One person may react better when they self-criticize while another will do great when they self-motivated.
  • Behavioural experiments help individuals figure out whether they are self-motivators or self-critics.

For example: "If I am harsh to myself after drinking to excess, I'll drink less" vs. "If I am kind to myself after drinking to excess, I will drink less."

  • Creating Images In Your Mind
  • This exercise requires recovering addicts to think about a memory that can instigate powerful negative feelings.
  • They capture their every emotion, sight, sound, impulse and thought they felt at that moment.
  • The anxiousness caused by certain negative experiences can be lessened by going over these experiences over and over.

Example: A young guy focuses on some painful experience from his childhood. He recollects every information and feeling during that time. The consistent exposure to his past begins to cause him less pain and reduces the requirement to self-medicate with the use of alcohol or drugs.

  • Schedule for Pleasant Activities
  • It is a technique that involves working out a list for the week to come, filling it with fun and healthy, activities; it helps a person break the monotony of everyday routine.
  • These activities must be modest and stress-free while at the same time inspiring constructive feelings.
  • Planning the positive activities contributes to the reduction of negative feelings being generated and a resultant urge to indulge in drinking or drug use.

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. Instead, during this time he enjoys a song from the singer he likes very much.


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.

Addicts in treatment are expected to go beyond just talking to the therapist during the CBT sitting and the therapist is not just a passive listener. In its place, addiction victims and therapists work collectively to overcome dependency.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based on actions and faster recovery. Most of the 60 - 90 day rehab programs have CBT as a component that equips addicts with immediate techniques to help in coping.

It has been observed that some techniques of psychotherapy can take many years before a strong impact is seen. In sharp contrast, CBT just requires 16 sessions before meaningful results can be seen.

Cognitive behavioural therapy techniques are also very flexible, which makes them well usable for treatment both in a clinic and on outpatient basis, and CBT can be applied both during individual counselling and in groups. CBT is a regular part of the treatment program as far as many rehab centres and addiction specialists are concerned.