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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Against Addictions

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy And Understanding It

Over Dependency on drugs and other ailments can be treated by changing the thinking mentality and emotions of a person and this is the core of cognitive behavioural therapy.

In the 1960s Dr. Aaron T. Beck founded a type of mental health counselling known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.


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Cognitive-Behavioural therapy is helpful to people to address any problematic thoughts and feelings which they could have in order to overcome addiction.


Cognitive-Behavioural therapy is presently in use during the treatment of addictions. CBT educates recovering addicts to establish connections between their thoughts, feelings and actions and to increase awareness about how these matters can have an impact on recovery.

Apart from addiction, CBT is also used for treating co-occurring disorders such as:

  • Nervousness
  • ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

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How Does Cbt Work

CBT recognizes that many behaviours and feeling are dangerous and make no sense. Such feelings and behaviours may be caused by either environmental effect or experiences from the past.

With the help of cognitive behavioural therapists, recovering addicts can fetch out negative "automatic thoughts" of their own. A person's feelings play a very big part in the life of a person and their addiction. Trying to suppress the pain inflicted by these experiences people self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.


Addicts find it easier to overcome their addiction when they begin to understand why they are acting or feeling in a certain manner and how their feelings and actions are leading them to the use of prohibited substances.

These addiction can be gradually minimised if they address the past experiences and thoughts. The addicts then get a fresh opportunity to learn positive behaviours in order to replace their addiction for alcohol or drugs.


The Role Of Cbt In Treating Addiction

Most users are found to be suffering from deep despair and hopelessness which in the first place were caused by bad or distrustful thoughts.

This clearly indicates that the automatic thoughts within the mind can make an individual susceptible to drug abuse and alcoholism as well.

One of the main things that prevent people from staying clean are triggers and these are things, situations or people that bring about a strong urge to use. There are a couple of ways that these triggers can be prevented from causing relapse.


Alcoholism And Other Drugs Can Be Eliminated By Cbt Including

  • The false beliefs and insecurity issues that causes substance abuse can be resolved using CBT.
  • Using techniques that are bound to help the patient up boost moral.
  • Carrying out training on effective communication skills.

How To Manage Triggers

  • Recognize Triggers In Time
  • Learn to identify what makes you want to take drugs or drink.
  • Evade
  • Try as much as possible to get away from these trigger situations.
  • Manage
  • The emotions and thoughts that lead to the abuse of substances can be elevated by using the techniques provided by CBT.

Even when outside the treatment centre, you can still practice the methods learnt in CBT. Whether you are at home or in a group, there are many situations that you can use to practice the CBT exercises.

SMART and other such like Addiction Support groups employ the CBT techniques to help their members remain sober.


Techniques Applied In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

There are different practices that are used to overcome an addiction using CBT.

Some of the exercises are:

  • Keeping Thought Records
  • This involves dispelling automatic negative thoughts by finding proof that shows these thoughts to be false.
  • The participants are supposed to evaluate their thoughts critically to see the downsides it is causing to their lives.
  • This helps them eliminate the bad thoughts and stick with the good thoughts.

For example, a person may think that a supervisor at work doesn't think highly of them. I need to have a drink to feel better" turns into "It's ok to make mistakes, and I will learn from them. I will have a chance to prove my worth to my supervisor by rectifying my mistake. I don't need any alcohol to bolster my self-esteem."

  • Behavioural Experiments
  • To see the one that has a greater effect on behaviour, the effects of positive thoughts can be compared to those of negative ones.
  • Where some people may respond to self-criticism, others may prefer self-kindness.
  • The whole point of behavioural experiments is in finding out what works best for the particular individual.

Example: " "If I talk kindly to myself after binge drinking, I'll binge drink less." vs "If I'm hard on myself after binge drinking, I'll binge drink less."

  • Imagery Based Exposure
  • This exercise requires recovering addicts to think about a memory that can instigate powerful negative feelings.
  • During this moment, they are required to take note of every sight, emotion, sound, thought and impulse.
  • Frequently by visiting the painful memories a recovering addict can reduce the anxiety caused by the memories over a period of time.

Example: A young man emphasises on uncomfortable memories of his childhood. He reproduces every feeling and emotion which he experienced at that moment. The consistent exposure to his past begins to cause him less pain and reduces the requirement to self-medicate with the use of alcohol or drugs.

  • Comfortable Activity Plan
  • It is a technique that involves working out a list for the week to come, filling it with fun and healthy, activities; it helps a person break the monotony of everyday routine.
  • These activities must be modest and stress-free while at the same time inspiring constructive feelings.
  • Planning the positive activities contributes to the reduction of negative feelings being generated and a resultant urge to indulge in drinking or drug use.

Example: An accountant who is feeling overworked could schedule a few minutes of relaxation everyday during his work hours instead of drinking while working. He or she can begin to use the extra time at their desk to enjoy some new music from a melodious artist.


How Cbt Or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Varies From Other Therapies

While others therapies may be less hands-on, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy provides an approach that is much more attentive.

Addicts in treatment are expected to go beyond just talking to the therapist during the CBT sitting and the therapist is not just a passive listener. In its place, addiction victims and therapists work collectively to overcome dependency.

The foundation of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focuses on action-based treatment, which will be rapid. A number of 60 to 90-day rehabilitation programs also include CBT within the package to provide people an opportunity to learn instant coping techniques.

Certain psychoanalytic methods may take many years before showing any tangible results. Positive results in CBT may be visible in as little as sixteen sessions.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can easily be adapted, which makes it very idyllic in both outpatient and inpatient situations as well as group and private counselling atmospheres. A lot of rehabilitation facilities and addiction therapists use CBT as a part of their treatment programs.