How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Treatment Works

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Addiction doesn’t develop overnight. Instead, the disease occurs as a result of a confluence of seemingly disparate factors, which can be biological or genetic, developmental, or circumstantial. As an individual becomes a substance abuser, he or she begins to recreational abuse a substance of choice with increasing frequency. With the destructive habit becoming more central to one’s life, it causes a variety of changes to one’s appearance, personality, and behavior; those who develop substance abuse habits experience a decline in personal health, often resort to dishonest or even criminal behavior in order to sustain this harmful habit, and damage or sacrifice relationships as well. In other words, becoming an alcohol or drug addict means adopting an entirely new and self-destructive way of life with a substance abuse habit being a defining and central characteristic of one’s every day.

Since the disease of addiction involves such varied and profound effects, overcoming the disease would likewise require varied treatments and therapies, allowing an individual to address each of the effects he or she experiences. Though the disease is chronic, progressive, and incurable, individuals who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, and even behaviors have the opportunity to overcome dependency by receiving treatment in the form of recovery programs. These rehabilitative programs consist of a personalize package or curriculum of treatment, tailored to each individual’s needs. While many of the complementary and supplemental treatments may vary, a central component of virtually any recovery program is counseling and psychotherapy. However, with several psycho therapeutic moralities from which and recovery center can choose, it’s can be difficult to determine which is the most effective form of psychotherapy for use in addiction treatment.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy—also known by its abbreviation CBT—is a very common and popular form of short-term, goal-oriented, psycho therapeutic treatment. Although it was originally created for the purpose of treating depression, today it’s used to address a wide variety of mental and emotional ailments, which include but aren’t limited to anxiety, mood disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, various types of addiction, recurring tics, sleeping disorders, relationship issues, and a breadth of other issues and diagnoses. In short, the ultimate goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to identify and fix problematic thinking or behavior. This psycho therapeutic technique seeks to understand the complicated relationships between one’s emotions, patterns of thought, and behaviors, including how each affects the others.

Over the course of cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, a psychotherapist or counselor seeks to develop a thorough understanding of how one’s thinking, beliefs, and attitudes—all complex cognitive processes—are contributing to manipulative or self-destructive behavior. The counselor wants to illuminate some of the underlying psychological factors that cause individuals’ behaviors so as to replace those patterns of thought with healthier alternatives. Oftentimes, this entails dealing with emotional problems, preventing one’s prior experiences from causing disruptive or harmful behavior. Somewhat a combination of psychotherapy with elements of behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy also explores the personal meaning that individuals place on things and experiences, and how that meaning might relate or influence thoughts, behavior, and problems.

Utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Recovery

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been a mainstay of addiction recovery for some time. Whereas traditional psychotherapy is more a means of understanding and self-discovery, the behavioral components of cognitive behavioral therapy allow for the modification of manipulative behaviors, of which substance abuse would certainly be included. Moreover, a cognitive behavioral approach to addiction counseling stresses the importance that learning and behavioral reinforcement plays in the development of an addiction; conversely, this implies that overcoming, or unlearning, an addiction would entail similar learning and the positive reinforcement of sober behavior. In cognitive behavioral therapy, individuals recovering from alcohol and drug addiction work with counselors to identify the thought processes and behaviors that have resulted in active addiction, then take steps to replace those thoughts and behaviors with healthier and more productive

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Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an Important Part of Addiction Treatment

There are a couple key reasons why cognitive behavioral therapy has become and remained an essential part of addiction treatment programs nationwide and even globally. Perhaps most importantly, cognitive behavioral therapy offers an avenue through which individuals can learn about the internal processes that contributed or even resulted in their addictions. Being both a form of counseling and a means of overcoming unhealthy cognitive processes, cognitive behavioral therapy is an important vehicle in addiction treatment as it’s a tool that helps individuals to reinforce their sobriety by correcting the factors that resulted in chemical dependency.

However, this also makes cognitive behavioral therapy a key component in relapse prevention, which is another reason why this therapeutic technique is a central part of addiction treatment. By participating in cognitive behavioral therapy, individuals overcoming addiction can work with their counselors to develop strategies that will help them to minimize their chances of relapsing. This includes teaching individuals how to view situations objectively to assess them for potential risk, focusing on the negative consequences of prior addiction as a way to anticipate the aftermath of a relapse, learning to monitor oneself in order to recognize cravings, being able to identify those scenarios in which one might be especially at risk of relapsing, developing strategies for coping with cravings as well as avoiding situations in which the chance of relapse is especially high, and so on. As such, cognitive behavioral therapy is important for not only learning what psychological factors might have contributed to an individual’s addiction, but also in developing strategies for alternative thinking and behavior that would prevent or minimize the chance of relapse.

Find Your Way to Sobriety with Just a Phone Call

Addiction is a complicated, all-consuming disease that affects individuals in numerous, profound ways. Although there are a wide variety of treatments available that address the individual needs of those who suffer from chemical dependency, cognitive behavioral therapy remains a central part of both treatment and the recovery process as a whole. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction and would like to learn more about counseling or treatment, call Recovery Hub today at 888-220-4352. We have a team of recovery experts on call, waiting to help those in need find the treatments that will deliver them to lives of sobriety, health, and fulfillment. Don’t wait; call now.

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