What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy that emphasizes one’s way of thinking and acting. Read on to find out more.

At Findlay Recovery Center, we understand that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that draws on the insights of both behaviorism (the study of how behavior may be controlled or altered) and cognitive theories (which seek to understand people’s most private emotions, thoughts, and worldviews).

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy that emphasizes one’s way of thinking and acting. Read on to find out how CBT is used to help people who are having trouble with alcohol addiction and how effective it is as a therapy in alcohol treatment and drug rehab.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works 

CBT examines the ways in which thoughts and actions are connected. When working with a patient who is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, a therapist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy will look for ways in which the patient’s thoughts and beliefs influence their actions.

Cognitive theories focus on how people’s ideas and emotions are shaped by what they take in through their senses of sight, sound, and touch, while behaviorism studies what motivates people to take specific acts.

All of these things—what we see, what we think, how we feel, and what we understand—make up the human cognitive experience. Everything that enters our consciousness, whether through our senses or our reflections on our past experiences, falls under this category.

The therapist takes into account the client’s internal experience and the ways in which the client’s thoughts, feelings, and worldview influence their behavior rather than just monitoring and controlling it.

Contradictory behavior is epitomized by addiction. We may know that abstaining from harmful behaviors like drug use and harmful hobbies is the best choice for our health, but we nonetheless engage in them. This might potentially have catastrophic consequences. Addicts may feel guilty about their behavior and want to engage in drug treatment or alcohol rehab but struggle to break their habit, even if they don’t understand why they keep doing it.

CBT for Alcohol Addiction

Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug or behavior use, often in spite of negative consequences. Many addicts say they want to change, but even if they are serious, it is extremely challenging for them to actually do so.

According to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), addictive behaviors stem from an individual’s inability to cope with distressing thoughts and feelings. Many of our beliefs are based on unrealistic or unattainable ideals. Depression, anxiety, and other forms of self-harm may occur from entertaining such thoughts.

When treating addiction, CBT involves keeping a detailed journal of one’s thoughts, feelings, and the circumstances that gave rise to them. Once we understand where the addictive behavior is coming from, we may begin to modify the automatic processes that sabotage our efforts to alter our habits.

Through CBT, individuals are aided in analyzing their typical ways of pondering and feeling about situations. Slowly but surely, they can begin to alter such beliefs by switching to a more practical viewpoint that does not inevitably lead to negative emotions and a cycle of damaging acts. By associating positive reinforcement with pleasant emotions, we can make our positive activities become second nature.

Cognitive Distortion

In order to discover negative beliefs about oneself, one’s surroundings, and one’s potential future, cognitive behavioral therapy frequently centers on analyzing one’s thought processes. Cognitive distortions, or erroneous beliefs, are highly likely to occur. This skewing of reality is like looking at the world through a distorted lens. Cognitive biases include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • All-or-nothing thinking 
  • Overgeneralization 
  • Only focusing on the bad
  • Disqualifying the positive
  • Jumping to conclusions

CBT’s Effectiveness

Numerous studies have shown that CBT is effective in treating mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as other conditions like addiction.

Improved coping skills are helpful in decreasing drug usage, and CBT may be able to provide those abilities to patients. As an added bonus, cognitive behavioral therapy may aid in preventing relapses even after addiction treatment has ended.

CBT techniques used around the turn of the century are being refined and supplemented by the so-called “third wave” of behavior therapy, which places an emphasis on mindfulness, acceptance, and living in the present.

CBT’s goal is to help you become aware of the ways in which your thoughts and beliefs may be contributing to your drug or alcohol abuse. Identifying these false assumptions can be the first step toward challenging and changing them.

Effective methods for dealing with life’s typical ups and downs are also provided by CBT, and we can discuss all of this when you contact our addiction treatment center in Ohio. Use it alone or in conjunction with other outpatient treatments to combat substance misuse and addiction. Feel free to get in contact if you have any questions about how cognitive behavioral therapy can help you or a loved one overcome addiction.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Addiction Treatment?

A History of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was first used in the 1960s by Dr. Aaron T. Beck. It is a type of mental health counseling, although it has since become effective in institutions such as Findlay Recovery Center to treat drug and alcohol addiction and help those experiencing addiction overcome the habits and triggers that drive them towards substance abuse. 

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Addiction Treatment?

At Findlay Recovery Center, we offer drug addiction residential treatment using CBT to teach patients the best techniques to overcome their addictions. It is used to locate connections between thoughts, feelings, and actions to provide awareness about how these factors influence their addiction and how adjusting their processes can encourage recovery. 

CBT highlights how irrational some thoughts can be, which is why it is also used to treat the likes of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, CBT will look at previous experiences and environmental influences that contribute to addiction, and why understanding or changing these circumstances can benefit the patient.

How is CBT Different From Alternative Models? 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is preferred for patients looking for a hands-on method for recovery. This preference could come from prior knowledge, or it may be due to them trying other treatments and finding them ineffective. Unlike ineffective methods, CBT looks to achieve a rapid result that lasts, and the therapist and patient will work together to achieve the goal. 

What Does CBT Involve?

Dismiss False Feelings and Beliefs 

Like mental health issues, CBT will find ways to highlight false feelings and beliefs that the patient uses to justify and maintain addiction. This could include believing things are not fun without substance use. 

Provide Self-Help Tools

Self-help tools are provided to improve the patient’s mood. This provides an alternative coping mechanism and encourages patients to look for positive escapes rather than the negative escape offered by drugs. 

Teach Communication Skills 

Communication is vital for reducing drug dependence. The communication skills taught during CBT help patients outline their feelings to friends and partners instead of turning to substances to deal with problems. 

Trigger Management Skills 

Triggers are a popular route to drug use, so it’s crucial to identify and manage these triggers through CBT. 


Patients learn how to recognize their triggers and the circumstance that brought them to this point. 


Patients learn how to avoid the triggers and remove themselves from the situation if possible. If this is not possible, avoiding links to the triggers (such as drinking alcohol leading to drug use) is encouraged. 


Coping mechanisms teach patients how to deal with emotions and thoughts that could lead them to drugs, such as boredom or stress. 

Examples of CBT Techniques

Several useful CBT techniques can help the patient overcome addiction. As everyone has different needs, the variety of techniques is ideal for finding an approach that works best for the patient. 

Thought Records 

Thought records encourage patients to have better balance rather than rely more on negative thoughts to justify their drug use. This will involve a list of pros and cons, and it helps them think more critically about how they feel right now and use positive techniques to avoid substance use. They can look back on previous lists when they encounter similar situations until they become second nature. 

Behavioral Experiments 

Behavioral experiments ask patients to look at positive and negative reactions and decide which choice is better to ensure they change their behavior. Some people respond better to positive self-talk, whereas others will make a change if they are more critical of themselves without being too negative. 

Imagery Exposure

Imagery exposure gives patients the task of conjuring powerful negative memories. But, rather than focus on the immediate negativity, they are encouraged to consider every sight, sound, and smell to make the scene more authentic. Along with these senses, patients think about their thoughts or impulses. If they revisit this memory regularly, they can reduce the stress and anxiety associated with the memory, which teaches them to cope better with negative encounters in the future and dissuades drug use. 

Pleasant Activities 

Pleasant activities involve a schedule that gives the patient something to look forward to. Instead of rewarding themselves with drugs, they can anticipate something more productive. This could be something fun, such as looking for a new favorite artist, or it could be sitting without responsibilities and allowing them to live in the moment. 

Get In Touch 

Findlay Recovery Center is a detox facility for addicts and specialized in a wide range of treatment options covering a broad spectrum of addictions. Besides drug detox, we also provide alcohol addiction residential treatment to help patients beat their addictions and regain their health and life. If you want to learn more about what Findlay Recovery Center offers, you can contact us to find out how we can help you or a loved one.