CBT is a method used to treat mental illnesses and addiction by addressing negative thoughts and feelings.
In the 1960s Dr. Aaron T. Beck founded a type of mental health counselling known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
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CBT helps people to fight addiction by helping them to deal with the negative thoughts and feelings behind the addiction.
Today, cognitive behavioural therapy is widely used to treat addictions. Getting in control of your thoughts and perception about life an addiction will help in overcoming this behaviours and this is something the patients are trained on at CBT.
Some addiction patients also have other issues concurrently occurring with the addiction problems like:
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Various forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Loss of appetite
PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
There are many rehab centres that provide CBT and you can find one near you today.
Many harmful actions and emotions which people indulge in do not fall in the rational or the logical category and these actions can be identified by cognitive-behavioural therapy. 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." A person's feelings play a very big part in the life of a person and their addiction. Trying to suppress the pain inflicted by these experiences people self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.
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.
Recovering addicts can soothe the pain caused by distressful memories by repeatedly revisiting them. Once they can cope with the issues without freaking out, they are then taught how to cultivate healthy habits in place of the substances they were addicted to.
The Role Of Cbt In Treating Addiction
Whenever there is an addiction, there is usually another mental issue such as depression and anxiety disorders and these usually stem from automatic negative thoughts.
Someone is bound to start using drugs or be addicted to alcohol if they constantly have negative thoughts and feelings of depression.
It may be hard for a person trying to stop drug addiction to do so when they are in the same environment that led them to that behaviour in the first place. Based on the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBT employs three keys to help those battling addiction resist triggers.
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 the patient on how to express themselves better.
How To Manage Triggers
Recognize Triggers In Time
Learn to identify what makes you want to take drugs or drink.
Keep Away From Them (Avoid)
Abstract oneself from trigger situations whenever it's possible.
The techniques of getting rid of these feeling you have learnt from CBT will come in handy in this place.
Even when outside the treatment centre, you can still practice the methods learnt in CBT. 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.
Techniques Applied In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
There are exercises peculiar to CBT-based treatment for addicted patients.
Some of the exercises are:
Patients recovering from addiction review their automatic negative thoughts and search for solid evidence that proves and contradicts these thoughts.
They are required to list the evidence in favour of or against the automatic thoughts and indulge in a comparison and a contrast to the thoughts.
This helps them eliminate the bad thoughts and stick with the good thoughts.
An example is "My supervisor thinks and 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 can change without having to use alcohol."
Exercises of this kind contrast negative and positive thoughts against each other in order to see which ones are more effective in changing the patient's behaviour.
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.
For example, some people may drink less if they criticize themselves more while others may drink less if they encourage themselves more.
Creating Images In Your Mind
This involves bringing up memories that cause highly negative feelings.
They capture their every emotion, sight, sound, impulse and thought they felt at that moment.
This will get rid of any nervousness they have been feeling.
Example: A difficult childhood memory is the focus of a young man's thoughts. He presently recalls every detail and emotion of the particular moment. The more he replays it in his mind, the less painful it is and this leads to a lower need to indulge in alcohol and drugs as a way of self medication.
The Schedule of 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.
The key is to have activities that are uncomplicated and easy to execute while bringing out positive feelings.
Preparing these lovely exercises assists to low negative involuntary feelings and the ensuing desire to drink or abuse drugs.
Example: A financial advisor who works a lot, finds fifteen minutes every day to relax at his desk instead of drinking alcohol or using drugs at work. He or she can begin to use the extra time at their desk to enjoy some new music from a melodious artist.
What Is The Difference Between Cbt Vs Other Kinds Of Psychotherapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy provides a perfect alternative to less effective and engaging treatment techniques.
The CBT sessions aren't simply about the therapist quietly listening while the patient goes on and on about their lives. Both the therapist and the patient are actively involved in the therapy session and work together.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based on actions and faster recovery. 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.
Other psychotherapy approaches could take up to a number of years to produce results. In most cases, 16 sessions of CBT will yield tangible results.
CBT therapy can be adapted to make it effective in outpatient or inpatient programs as well as in counselling sessions for groups or an individual. There are many addiction treatment clinics and professionals who incorporate CBT in their treatment programs.