Substance abuse places a huge burden on the family, community, and country at large. The more people resort to alcohol or drug abuse, the more expensive it becomes to treat them. As more people battle addiction, several addiction treatment programs and rehab facilities have come up to help them turn their lives around.

One of the more popular addiction treatment methods used is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is a psychotherapy approach that has proven effective in helping those struggling with substance abuse and addiction to change their behavior for the better.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Simply put, CBT is a type of mental health counseling where the focus is on assisting the addict to realize the connection between their feelings, thoughts, and actions. Once realized, they work together with cognitive behavioral therapists to replace negative thought patterns with positive, healthier ones, resulting in a positive behavior change.

The main focus of CBT is to help those battling substance abuse realize how their feelings and thoughts affect their addiction and how these can be changed to lead to recovery and prevent relapse. Such negative thought patterns are derived from misconceptions or internalized feelings of fear, guilt, shame, or self-doubt. To avoid, escape, or numb such thoughts and feelings, the individual turns to drugs or alcohol.

However, by participating in CBT, addicts get to focus on their thoughts and feelings, identifying negative patterns. Through the use of different techniques, they can explore common scenarios or themes in their lives that cause stress or anxiety and work with therapists to come up with coping strategies to deal with them.

CBT is considered an effective problem-focused, short-term therapeutic approach that produces quick results that can be seen in as little as 12-16 therapy sessions. It’s also a versatile and adaptable therapy method that can fit well into various drug or alcohol addiction treatment programs and can be used in both group and individual counseling.

The goals of CBT include:

  • Recognizing negative and harmful thought patterns and feelings.
  • Learning to identify and avoid addiction triggers.
  • Learning healthy coping strategies using CBT techniques.

What Techniques Are Used in CBT?

There are various techniques that cognitive behavioral therapists use to help those with substance abuse addiction to understand their thought patterns, learn coping mechanisms and change for the better.

These include:

  • Exposure therapy

This CBT technique is ideal for helping an individual learn to overcome their fears and address their phobias. The therapist creates a safe space and slowly exposes you to things or situations that provoke fear, anxiety, or stress. From your reaction, they can guide you on how to cope and deal with these emotions, instead of reaching for drugs or alcohol. Facing your fears builds confidence and makes you feel less vulnerable in triggering situations.

  • Role playing

Another effective technique is role playing. Here you act out different scenarios that you might encounter in your daily life. These are mostly situations where you feel stressed or out of control. As you play out these scenarios, your therapist will point out your common reaction patterns while suggesting better ones. As a result, you’ll learn to alter your behavior, becoming more assertive and confident over time. This in turn helps you reduce dependency on addictive substances to get through stressful situations.

  • Cognitive restructuring

Using this CBT technique, your therapist will ask you questions about different scenarios and your thoughts, feelings, or reactions to them. Your response will help them identify problematic thought patterns. Once they make you aware of them, you work together to reshape these patterns into healthier, more productive ones.

  • Journaling

Writing down your thoughts can come in handy in helping you identify common patterns. Your therapist may ask you to keep a record of all the negative or troubling thoughts you’ve had between sessions then you’ll work together to find more positive ones you can choose instead. Journaling your new thoughts and feelings, compared to your previous troubling ones is a great way for you to keep track of the changes and growth you make as your recovery progresses.

  • Stress Reduction Techniques

Stress, anger, depression, and other negative emotions contribute greatly to addiction. Feeling overwhelmed by such emotions can lead you to self-medicate using drugs or alcohol in an attempt to escape or numb them. Learning and practicing stress reduction techniques such as breathing exercises can help you gain control of these emotions while reducing stress and tension. For instance, if you find yourself losing your temper or panicking, take a time out and practice tensing and relaxing different muscle groups or concentrating on your breathing. Eventually, you’ll come down enough to react rationally to the situation you’re facing.

  • Activity Scheduling

To keep you motivated during your recovery and in life, your therapist may ask you to incorporate healthy and positive activities into your routine. These not only break up the monotony of a regular routine but also give you something positive to look forward to. These activities can also serve as a source of excitement or a reward for meeting certain goals or for consistently choosing better behavior. The positive, upbeat emotions they induce are a great way to counter negative thought patterns and feelings.

Help is Available at Findlay Recovery Center

Here at the Findlay Recovery Center, we believe in providing affordable alcohol and drug addiction treatment to everyone who needs it. That’s why we utilize a variety of evidence-based treatment programs, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and individualized treatment, to ensure that all our clients get a shot at recovery and living clean, sober lives. Our addiction treatment center in Ohio is designed to be serene and conducive enough to promote recovery. Additionally, all team members on our staff have the compassion and experience required to treat those battling substance abuse addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available. Contact us today and we’ll help you find the best options for your treatment.