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.

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