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Using Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Address Drug Addiction

Using Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Address Drug Addiction

Addiction Treatment

Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT for short, is one of the most widely used and effective drug addiction treatment methods. There are important reasons that CBT is a preferred treatment method and is used in many settings. Before jumping into the benefits of CBT, let’s first describe what this treatment method is and how it works.

With cognitive behavioral therapy, addicts can learn how their thoughts, feelings, and actions are all connected. CBT is a short-term therapy method that focuses on changing thought patterns, which in turn can help people combat drug addiction.

CBT is also useful for addressing other psychological conditions that may be linked to your drug addiction, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

CBT is useful for treating a variety of mental conditions. It’s also a powerful method for addiction treatment.

So How Does CBT Actually Work?

One of the most important insights from Cognitive Behavior Therapy is recognizing that not all thought processes are rational. While it’s tempting to think of humans as perfectly rational, almost robotic beings, that’s far from the truth.

Addiction is not necessarily a rational problem. Instead, impulses can play a huge role. Even if you rationally know you should avoid drug use, you might succumb to your impulses.

How the Past Can Affect the Future

One of the important concepts of CBT is understanding how the past can affect the present and the future. For example, someone who suffered a traumatic event and has PTSD or someone who is coping with depression may be tempted to “self-medicate” through drug and alcohol abuse.

Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol are a terrible form of “medication” and will lead to more problems. While drugs and alcohol may seem to provide temporary relief, neither will address the underlying causes. Often, drug and alcohol abuse will worsen your depression and other mental conditions.

CBT helps you recognize how bad memories from the past, pre-existing mental conditions, and other factors can inform and drive your impulses.

Learn How to Engage in Positive Behaviors

Automatic thoughts can drive drug and alcohol consumption. However, you can mentally learn to control these automatic thoughts and may even be able to replace them with positive thoughts. Doing so can be difficult, especially in the beginning. With practice, however, you’ll be able to:

  • Learn how to dismiss false beliefs (i.e. I am not worth anything).
  • Use self-help tools to improve your mood (i.e. understanding that you are a valuable person).
  • Learning how to communicate effectively.

False beliefs, poor communication, and an inability to help yourself all contribute to impulsive thoughts. By addressing these issues, you can improve your own mental state, which will help you resist and break the addiction.

A cognitive-behavioral therapist will help you recognize and cope with negative automatic thoughts. Many cognitive-behavioral therapists focus on three skills for managing your triggers, including:

  • Recognize- Identify the circumstances, environments, and conditions that lead to drinking or substance abuse.
  • Avoid- Learn how to avoid circumstances that will encourage you to drink or abuse drugs.
  • Cope- Finally, use CBT tactics to address bad thoughts and to address emotions that could lead to drug abuse.

One of the best things about CBT is that it can be used outside of the therapist’s office. Once you learn CBT strategies, you’ll be able to use the tactics on your own. CBT can become part of your daily efforts to reduce drinking and substance abuse.

Further, CBT helps address underlying issues. Anxiety and depression can lead to addiction and make it harder to break the cycle. CBT can help you cope with mental conditions. In the long run, this will lead to better mental health.

CBT has proven to be one of the most effective methods for treating drug and alcohol addiction. While there’s no sure-fire cure for addiction, essentially everyone struggling with substance abuse should try CBT.

CBT Treatment for You

Interested in CBT treatment? Good for you! Learning how to use CBT tactics is a great step towards fighting and eliminating addiction. At Soba Texas, we work with recovering addicts all the time and CBT is one of the many treatment methods we use.

There’s no one size fits all addiction treatment program. Often, a mix of treatment types, including group therapy, CBT, and more, is required to truly defeat addiction. Soba Texas will work with you to develop a customized drug addiction treatment plan that will work for you. 


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