What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

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.

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