Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Against Addictions therapies-related

What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) addresses morbid thoughts and feelings for the purpose of treating addiction and psychiatric disorders.

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


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CBT helps people to fight addiction by helping them to deal with the negative thoughts and feelings behind the 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.

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

  • Panicking
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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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.

Cognitive behavioural therapists work with patients to identify potentially thoughts that lead to self-destructive or unhealthy behaviours. Fear, self doubt and other internalized feelings together with misconceptions are what usually cause these automatic negative thoughts. 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.

Facing these sensitive areas often leads a patient to get over the acute pain they cause. 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.


Dependency Treatment And Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

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.

Triggers - certain situations that provoke, i.e. "trigger", cravings for substance during the day - prevent many addicts from living a sober life. There are a couple of ways that these triggers can be prevented from causing relapse.


Alcoholism And Other Drugs Can Be Eliminated By Cbt Including

  • Getting rid of all the negative thought that lead people to addiction.
  • Providing DIY techniques to lift the patients' spirits.
  • Training people how to speak up about their feelings to others.

The Skills Necessary For Managing Triggers

  • Recognise
  • Identify which factor provokes taking drugs or drinking alcohol.
  • Shun
  • Stay away from places and situations that make you want to drink or take the drugs.
  • Deal With Them (Cope)
  • The techniques of getting rid of these feeling you have learnt from CBT will come in handy in this place.

Patients can well practice CBT techniques even at the places other than the therapist's office. 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 these practices are

  • Evaluation Of Thoughts
  • The patients are encouraged to stop and evaluate their thoughts see if they are worth keeping them or if they are better discarded.
  • The patients make a list of advantages and disadvantages of keeping or discarding the thoughts.
  • The idea is that by critically evaluating your thoughts, you will be able to have thoughts that are less harsh and are more rational.

Example "My manager thinks I'm useless." In this case, CBT will help the person move from a mindset where they feel they need to drink to feel better about themselves to one where they see mistakes as a normal part of the learning process. If I learn from my mistakes and heed my manager's advice, she will appreciate it. This will lead them to realize that they don't need alcohol to feel better.

  • Behavioural Experiments
  • These exercises are helpful in contrasting negative thoughts with the positive ones to understand which one is better effective for changing behaviour.
  • It is well-known that some people respond better to self-kindness while others could display better responses to self-criticism.
  • Behavioural experiments are just about understanding what works best for a particular individual to a situation.

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."

  • Imagery Based Exposure
  • During this exercise, patients have to think about a past experience that causes severe negative feelings.
  • This will involve assessing all the features such as feelings and the responses they had to that particular feeling.
  • Frequently by visiting the painful memories a recovering addict can reduce the anxiety caused by the memories over a period of time.

Example A difficult childhood memory is the focus of a young man's thoughts. Everything they went through at that time is clear as day to them. 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.

  • Pleasant Activity Plan
  • This is a technique that is executed by drawing up a schedule of fun yet healthy activities to provide recreation and breaks from the 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 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. Instead, during this time he enjoys a song from the singer he likes very much.


What Is The Difference Between Cbt Vs Other Kinds Of Psychotherapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy take a more practical approach to therapy as compared to other methods.

At CBT sessions, recovering addicts do not just talk, and their therapists do not just listen passively to patients. 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. Most 60 to 90 day rehab programs incorporate CBT to give individuals instant ways of coping.

It has been observed that some techniques of psychotherapy can take many years before a strong impact is seen. More often than not, CBT needs 16 meetings to deliver significant results.

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. Most counsellors and addiction medical facilities incorporate CBT as a section of their recovery programs.