What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
The problem of treating addiction and mental illness, which can be a result of unhealthy thoughts and feelings can be addressed by cognitive-behavioural therapy.
A classification of mental health counselling is cognitive-behavioural therapy which was founded in the 1960s by Dr. AAron T. Beck.
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Cognitive behavioural therapy helps people deal with dysfunctional thoughts and feelings and to recover from addiction.
Today, cognitive behavioural therapy is widely used to treat addictions. Patients undergoing CBT treatment are taught to recognize the triggers in their minds, emotions, and behaviour that lead to them taking the drugs. This makes it easy to work on recovery.
Some of the other behaviours that can be eliminated aside from dependency on drugs include
- Anxiety of various kinds
- Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD]
- Mood swings
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Eating disorders
- Various forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
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How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Works
CBT recognizes that many behaviours and feeling are dangerous and make no sense. The feelings and behaviours of people could be coming as a direct result from past experiences and factors related to the environment.
With the help of cognitive behavioural therapists, recovering addicts can fetch out negative "automatic thoughts" of their own. Involuntary ideas from a sudden urge and frequently emanates from a mistaken belief and a subconscious way of thinking based on low esteem and fear. The abuse of drugs or alcohol is in many cases an attempt to get rid of these negative thoughts.
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.
The pain caused by certain experiences may be lessened if these events are revisited often and addressed. After that they can learn other, favourable behaviours that will replace those leading to drug or alcohol use.
Use Of Cbt In Addiction Treatment
Whenever there is an addiction, there is usually another mental issue such as depression and anxiety disorders and these usually stem from automatic negative thoughts.
What this says is dark thoughts have a higher possibility of making a person start abusing substances.
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 three ways in which CBT can help recovering users deal with triggers according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
How Cbt Works In Helping Patients Overcome Addiction
- Aids the patient to take control of their life, rejecting past thoughts and beliefs that trigger low self-esteem and feelings of rejection.
- Strengthen the patient with better ways of self-motivation.
- Carrying out training on effective communication skills.
Skills For Managing Triggers
- Learn to identify what makes you want to take drugs or drink.
- Stay away from places and situations that make you want to drink or take the drugs.
- Apply the CBT skills you have learned to sort through your thoughts and emotions to beat the urge to indulge.
Patients can well practice CBT techniques even at the places other than the therapist's office. Engaging with others can help you practice some of the things that you learn at CBT.
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 exercises peculiar to CBT-based treatment for addicted patients.
Here are some examples of CBT techniques that are widely used in treatment of addictions
- Thought Records
- One way to overcome these behaviour is keeping in check your thoughts in order to avoid negative thinking.
- They are required to list the evidence in favour of or against the automatic thoughts and indulge in a comparison and a contrast to the thoughts.
- The idea is that by critically evaluating your thoughts, you will be able to have thoughts that are less harsh and are more rational.
Example "My manager thinks I'm useless." For that, I need to use alcohol to get over this feeling "can be changed to " I accept my mistake and will rectify it next time. I will have a chance to prove my worth to my supervisor by rectifying my mistake. I do not need alcohol to get a better feeling of myself.
- Behavioural Experiments
- By evaluating these thoughts, one gets to understand the better behaviours to follow.
- It is well-known that some people respond better to self-kindness while others could display better responses to self-criticism.
- Behavioural experiments help individuals figure out whether they are self-motivators or self-critics.
Example "I'm likely to binge drink less if I am hard on myself during and after the binge drinking" vs. "I'll probably have fewer drinks if I am talking to myself kindly after the session of binge drinking."
- Imagery Based Exposure
- Here, the patients are encouraged to remember something bad that happened before that causes them to feel terrible.
- The person then carefully notes what they were seeing, hearing, feeling and thinking in that moment.
- Regularly re-enacting that moment in their minds, the patient can deal with the pain and nervousness brought about by the memory.
Example A difficult childhood memory is the focus of a young man's thoughts. Everything they went through at that time is clear as day to them. The more he replays it in his mind, the less painful it is and this leads to a lower need to indulge in alcohol and drugs as a way of self medication.
- The Schedule of Pleasant Activities
- This is a technique that is executed by drawing up a schedule of fun yet healthy activities to provide recreation and breaks from the everyday routine.
- All the activities on the list should be easy to do, simple, and trigger positive emotions.
- The need to use drugs or alcohol can be reduced with the help of these activities since they will help to curb the negative thoughts that tend to creep up automatically.
Example A financial advisor who works a lot, finds fifteen minutes every day to relax at his desk instead of drinking alcohol or using drugs at work. He utilises that moment to get and appreciate a fresh song from a new singer.
What Is The Difference Between Cbt Vs Other Kinds Of Psychotherapy
As compared to some therapies which do not offer a set of engaging activities, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will provide an hands-on alternative.
At CBT sessions, recovering addicts do not just talk, and their therapists do not just listen passively to patients. In its place, addiction victims and therapists work collectively to overcome dependency.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based on actions and faster recovery. CBT has become a standard part of many long term rehab programs since they provide the patients with ways of coping.
Other psychotherapy approaches could take up to a number of years to produce results. In most cases, 16 sessions of CBT will yield tangible results.
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. CBT is a regular part of the treatment program as far as many rehab centres and addiction specialists are concerned.