Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a cornerstone of substance abuse treatment.
Many drug and alcohol treatment programs use this type of therapy as a way to teach people skills to help them stop using and to address the problems that typically co-occur with the abuse. More specifically, it’s aimed at teaching you how to stop self-defeating thought patterns that typically lead to substance abuse behaviors.
How Does CBT Work?
It’s important for people working through addiction treatment to understand the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and actions. As a type of psychosocial intervention, CBT aims to not just help you to understand how your thought patterns impact your ability to use, but also how to pinpoint those thoughts early on so you can avoid using again. Most people in recovery will face multiple challenges in the coming weeks and months. However, with CBT, you are able to gain more self-control through these taught self-coping strategies.
There are several types of techniques used within CBT that can achieve these goals.
- Learn more about the consequences of drug use
- Learn how to spot the signs and early cravings of needing to use so you can apply strategies to avoid doing so
- Learn how to avoid high-risk situations that typically create a higher likelihood that you’ll use again
What Can You Expect with CBT in Addiction Recovery?
CBT provides you with the tools you need to achieve sobriety and long-term avoidance of relapse. Your sessions will always involve one-on-one attention and focus to ensure they are customized to meet your specific needs. Most often, CBT sessions for alcohol and drug addiction will include:
- Spotting patterns of negative thoughts you have; this may include self-defeating thoughts, self-hate, or just negative thought patterns related to your day or life
- Talking about how those negative thoughts lead you to want to use, and why this needs to change
- Discussing high-risk or trigger situations that make you want to use drugs or alcohol
- Creating a plan to help you to avoid all or some of those high-stress situations to reduce these risks
- Learning how to spot thoughts and actions that make you want to use
- Helping you to change your thought patterns as soon as you recognize them, all with the goal of moving away from the risk of using
- Coping with cravings and frustration
When you come in for a session, you’ll work with your therapist to understand what is happening and how you can make the changes you desire. This may mean you’ll have a bit of homework to do when you leave for the day. It’s important to practice these skills in day-to-day life so you’ll feel confident in your sobriety when treatment is complete.
When Do Drug Treatment Programs Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
CBT can work well in both group and individual therapy sessions. If you have a substance abuse disorder, you’ll find that in group sessions the past experiences of others can shed light on opportunities for your personal change in the future.
Imagine hearing one of your peers in a group discussion speak about how difficult work is and how he visits a local bar to unwind at the end of the day. In the discussion, you learn that the man goes through the day self-hating, perhaps due to failed projects or comments from his co-workers. He ends up stressed and frustrated, reaching for a drink. An example like this may show you how that man could have addressed his stress in another way. Your observations about his behavior will then carry over to your own recovery challenges.
In nearly all situations, CBT works to give you examples of how things can improve. While CBT cannot cure substance abuse, it is typically one of the foundations of your treatment program. It has been proven to be helpful in reducing relapse risk.
Is CBT Right for You?
At DK Solutions Group, you’ll learn more about how CBT can work to help you tackle some of the challenges you are facing. A consultation can provide you with information on what you can expect from an addiction treatment program.