When dealing with addiction, people often think that rehab is the only solution. They might imagine using heavy drugs to detox or spending time in isolation while in recovery. But that is not how recovery works, and an important component of addiction treatment involves therapy. One of the most common types of therapy used to help people overcome addiction is cognitive-behavioral therapy, also known as CBT.
What Is CBT?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that leads people through problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so that they can learn new patterns of behavior and overcome addiction. CBT helps clients discover connections between their thoughts, feelings, and actions and increases awareness of how each impacts their recovery. Armed with this knowledge, individuals in recovery can begin taking steps toward a healthier life.
CBT is commonly used to treat other disorders that can co-occur with addiction, including:
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety and depression
- Attention deficit disorder
How Does CBT Work?
By engaging in cognitive-behavioral therapy, clients learn that many of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are not rational. Many stem from environmental factors, past experiences, or current stressors. Understanding these things and how they relate to addiction empowers them to be more successful in the recovery process.
Therapists help clients identify their automatic, negative thought patterns and discover where they originate. These subconscious thoughts are often based on misconceptions and lead to impulses that are hard to control. Those dealing with addiction will then self-medicate to avoid the pain that comes with it.
CBT is based on the belief that facing these negative thought patterns and the subconscious reasons behind them helps reduce the pain associated with them. When the pain is lessened, clients can replace the negative behaviors associated with addiction with new, positive approaches and techniques they learn during treatment.
How Does CBT Help Those with Drug or Alcohol Addiction?
There are many benefits to using CBT in addiction recovery. Because CBT deals with thought processes and how they affect behaviors, changes in how clients deal with negative thinking bring about positive results. CBT essentially equips clients with the tools needed to sustain lasting results. There are several other benefits of CBT for addiction recovery:
- Teaches clients how to communicate effectively
- Gives clients a healthier way to handle negative emotions and situations
- Equips clients with tools to improve their moods and handle stress
- Helps clients resolve the negative or false beliefs that led to addiction
- Provides clients with ways to deal with triggers and cravings
- Helps clients recognize and identify what led to their addiction
Various CBT Techniques
Each therapist will have a different approach, but many of the techniques used are similar. A therapist who uses a cognitive-behavioral therapy approach might ask a client to keep a thought journal to disprove their negative thoughts. They may work on behavioral experiments with the client where negative and positive thought patterns are compared to determine which is more effective. This reframing of thoughts helps the client take a more positive approach. Another approach is to create a self-care list. This is a list of healthy, enjoyable activities meant to encourage positive emotions and break up the day’s routine. Imagery-based exposure is another technique used, which involves recalling painful memories in detail to eventually reduce the pain they cause. These are just a few techniques therapists can draw from to help with addiction treatment.
Colorado Medication Assisted Recovery Uses CBT in Addiction Treatment
Colorado Medication Assisted Recovery can help clients looking to use therapy in their addiction treatment. Whether dealing with alcohol dependence, opioid withdrawal symptoms, or another type of addiction, we work toward a complete recovery for clients using CBT and other therapy methods. Options include telehealth and outpatient programs to meet a variety of needs. Visit our website or contact us at 833.448.0127 for more information.