Cognitive-behavioral therapy, CBT, is one of several therapy programs often used to help people with drug and alcohol addiction as well as mental health disorders. This is one of the most common types of treatment because it is far-reaching and ideal for helping many overcome their addiction. When you meet with a drug treatment center, they may talk to you about what treatment options are best for your needs. CBT is likely to be one.
How Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Work?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy. That means you will work with your therapist during one-on-one sessions to develop key skills. This is a very structured program used over a period of sessions. The goal of it is straightforward. You will learn how to become aware of or recognize your negative thinking as it is happening, enabling you to change those thought patterns.
The belief is that those who have addiction make poor decisions to use drugs or alcohol because they enter a process of negative thinking. One bad thought leads to another bad thought until a person has convinced themselves to use drugs. When you recognize the negative thoughts, on the other hand, you can change them, allowing you to respond in a more effective manner that enables you to avoid using them.
What Can CBT Do for You?
This treatment method can help most people dealing with addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other types of mental health problems. It allows you to take specific steps to avoid negative or inaccurate thoughts from taking over your behavior. CBT can help many people in various ways, including:
- Helping you to manage the symptoms of your mental illness as they happen
- Identify specific steps to take to manage emotions
- Recognize what’s happening to prevent relapse of drug use
- Help you cope with high-stress situations without the need to use drugs
- Aid in coping with grief, trauma, or other common causes of addiction
- Help you manage complicated relationships by improving communication skills
It can be used to help those with a wide range of conditions, including:
- Drug addiction (prescription and illicit drug use)
- Anxiety disorders
- Alcohol addiction
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
When you meet with your counselor, you’ll have the opportunity to speak to them about what’s happening in your life. You will have a formal assessment to understand the cause of your struggles, whenever possible. A mental health assessment can also pinpoint any underlying mental illness that could be a part of your addiction.
Then, your therapist can determine if cognitive-behavioral therapy is a good treatment option for your needs.
Most of the time, it is not the only treatment option used. It is often a component of a larger plan that is personalized for you based on your specific needs. Yet, CBT is an excellent tool because it gives you real steps to take when you are managing the stress in your life so you can limit your relapse risks and improve your mental health outcomes.