CBT for Addiction

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for addiction recovery is not a new or unheard of treatment. In fact, it’s one of the most common therapeutic treatments used in drug and alcohol rehab centers worldwide. At SJRP, we provide clients with individualized care that independently created with the client in mind. Each therapy offering, support group, and approach to treatment that we use is focused directly on the unique needs of the client that we are treating.

Our therapy programs adapt and change on a regular basis, to meet the changing needs of the clients we treat as well as the changing dynamics of our recovery groups as the individuals within those groups change. It’s a rather complicated way of stating: We treat YOU based on YOUR needs. Often times, CBT is one of the many techniques that our therapists will incorporate into a client’s treatment plan.

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The Facts About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

There are over 330,000,000 men, women, and children who call the U.S. their home. Of these millions of individuals, over 10% of all men, women, and children of varying ages, lifestyles, and social classes have been reported to suffer from a substance use disorder at some point in their lifetime. And as the population continues to grow, drug and alcohol use patterns continue to evolve and change as well, often leading to different rises in varying substance abuse records.

A substance use disorder occurs when an individual misuses a psychoactive compound drug or medication and their misuse grows out of their personal control, resulting in financial issues, relational/social problems, and work, home, and school issues/difficulties. Not everyone who misuses a substance like alcohol, drugs, or medications will develop a substance use disorder, but enough individuals do that the occurrence has become a public health issue. Substance use disorders can vary in their intensities, often growing more severe the longer an individual uses, how often they use, and how much of the substance they use each time. If a substance use disorder goes unchecked and untreated, it can lead to addiction and sometimes even life-threatening situations and circumstances.

Luckily, even though substance use disorders and addiction can be difficult to manage and have severe consequences, there is a way to be treated and recover from them. Drug and alcohol rehab centers are located all over the country and do their best to make themselves available to anyone who needs treatment. There are many different types of drug and alcohol rehab programs, treatment options, and opportunities an individual can enroll in, one of the most well-known being cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

What is Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

There are many different types of substance use disorders and addictions that individuals in the U.S. can suffer from. There is no exact science to explain how individuals become addicted to different substances, instead, it is generally accepted in the medical and scientific community that everyone is vulnerable to developing a substance use disorder if they misuse drugs, alcohol, or medications that have abuse potential. Of course, it is also generally believed that some individuals are more vulnerable to developing a substance use disorder, depending on a plethora of different factors, including (but not limited to):

  • Biology
  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Stress levels

Anyone can develop a substance use disorder at any point in their life, although some individuals are more vulnerable to specific substances, situations, and circumstances. Just because an individual has more susceptible biology, a history of use in their family, high-stress levels, and are surrounded by a negative or traumatic environment (or has these things in their past) does not mean they will for sure become addicted to a substance if they misuse it, but it does make them more vulnerable. Since there are different types of substance misuse disorders, and different people who suffer from the condition,  drug and alcohol rehab centers across the nation work hard to provide their clients with many different types of addiction treatment programs, plans, and opportunities. These rehab opportunities can include:

Within each of these service programs, there are a multitude of different treatment plans and opportunities. Every individual is different, thus their struggles with addiction and substance use disorders will also vary, meaning each individual person will need an addiction treatment plan that is unique to them and their condition. Every drug and alcohol treatment program will vary a bit, depending on the individual, the state they live in, the state they are looking to receive treatment in, their insurance policy, and the individual. But, one of the most commonly used addiction treatment methods is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and How Does it Work?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment method that focuses on understanding and rewiring the root cause of an individual’s actions and behaviour. This treatment method dedicates its time to understanding the patterns of an individual’s thinking–whether they are highly disjointed or not–and unpacks the beliefs, values and attitude of the client that produces that line of thought. Substance abuse disorders are inherently chronic conditions of the mind, and their beginnings can oftentimes be traced back to an event or series of events and circumstances that triggered a specific line of thinking and beliefs that eventually lead the individual to drug and alcohol misuse.

Even though cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most commonly used treatment methods in alcohol and drug rehabs, psychotherapy has only recently come into prominence after undergoing nearly 40 years of dedicated research. CBT has been found to be reliably effective in a large variety of persons with a large variety of personal problems and behavioral disorders, ranging anywhere from anti-social tendencies to substance abuse and criminal behaviors. Unlike other therapeutic methods that focus on the individual’s past life situations, cognitive behavioral therapy targets the core of the individual as they are now, working backward with them to understand the true origin and intent of their thoughts, feelings, and actions in order for the client to create better, healthier coping skills, thought processes and decision making.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is also unique as it puts the client’s responsibility for themselves, their thoughts, emotions, actions, and reactions in their own hands. The therapy must be led by a licensed professional or paraprofessional who has undergone extensive training. Once that professional is able to guide the individual into an understanding and acceptance of themselves and their actions at the core, then they help the client to work to build new thought patterns, coping skills, and more. This method of treatment can be offered in a variety of different treatment settings, including individual counseling/therapy sessions and group settings, often including a variety of role-playing exercises, lessons, and demonstrations. CBT can be used to help treat many different types of disorders, including (but not limited to):

The History of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Originating in the early 1960s, cognitive behavioral therapy has come a long way since its birth. Originally orchestrated by Dr. Aaron T. Beck, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania, the therapeutic method has evolved over time to incorporate the best of many different therapeutic forms. When the method was first produced by Dr. Beck, it was simply a rational amalgam of behavioral therapies, cognitive theories on human behavior, and casual understandings for the way in which the human mind works and reacts to the world. Even in its earliest stages the therapeutic method outlined how to maintain different forces in psychopathology, and ways to target and intervene with adverse reactions to circumstances.

Before cognitive behavioral therapy was born, the therapeutic field was dominated by psychoanalysis theories and reflections. But, as CBT began to emerge, build and evolve off of other behavioral therapies and understandings, it quickly gained interest and its methodologies were expanded for the purpose of research. More than 40 years later now, cognitive behavioral therapy is a well-rounded, well-researched therapy plan that can be used in a variety of mental illness and substance use disorders treatments. From its very start, the field of study has recognized the importance of an individual’s thoughts and explored its theories to finally understand scientifically, that by helping clients understand their subconscious, they can help them recognize their negative thoughts, connotations, and behaviors, which in turn can help them more successfully target and treat these thought patterns to create healthier ways of thinking, living, and coping with one’s surroundings.

Even with all the research cognitive behavioral therapy has undergone and explored, its practitioners still work diligently to learn as much as they can about human thoughts, behavior, and new ways to help individuals overcome their adversities and setbacks. The therapy is unique, placing responsibility in the hands of the individual working through their current situation, to understand why and how their negative thoughts and patterns came to influence their lives and what they can do to stop letting such thought patterns rule their daily lives.

Common Techniques Used in CBT

Cognitive-behavioral therapy was born from a plethora of theories, understandings, and behavior therapies that came before it. Yet, as the therapeutic form grows older, it continues to learn and evolve to match the growing needs of the people around it. As more is understood about different mental illnesses and substance use disorders, more is also learned of CBT and the successes it can orchestrate in healing people.

There are many different types of mental health and substance use disorders, just as there are many different types of drug and alcohol rehab plans and opportunities. Similarly, there are many different techniques for healing and understanding thought patterns that can be utilized in a cognitive behavioral therapy session, including:

  • Skill training: Learning specific methods of coping with difficult life situations and circumstances through social interaction, communication, and assertiveness.
  • Role-playing: Learning how to deal with stressful situations by acting out events cause distress, and discussing the feelings, emotions, and thoughts that the individual experiences during the exercise.
  • Mindfulness: Learning how to focus on the present moment, while gently accepting thoughts, feelings, and emotions as they come.
  • Problem-solving: Learning how to work through daily life problems and situations in a constructive, healthy manner.
  • Relaxation: Learning breathing, massage, meditation, and visualization techniques to help relax throughout the day and in stressful circumstances.
  • Exposure therapy: Learning how to deal with stressful or fear-inducing situations or uncomfortable circumstances through the gradual, gentle exposure of such events in safe, controlled settings.
  • Cognitive restructuring: Learning to work through the process of identifying negative thoughts and behavior and challenging those patterns on a daily basis.
  • Homework: Learning to practice what has been learned in sessions through written or activity assignments that work to reinforce the lessons of each CBT work through.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works

Like drug and alcohol rehab and treatment centers, cognitive behavioral therapy has a set of principles it holds true for guiding its treatment focus and ideals. These CBT principles primarily focus on providing individuals–through group or personal sessions–with the tools necessary to correct their negative behaviors, while also learning how these patterns of thought have formed and can misalign their overall actions, emotions, and feelings. In cognitive-behavioral therapy, it is believed that every individual has the means and the power to make positive, long-lasting decisions and changes in their life and that they are not slaves to the past of traumatic events that have occurred in their lifetimes.

The process of an individual actively working to understand, and thus combat, their negative thought patterns, feelings, and actions is the overall goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy. During a CBT session, a therapist works alongside the client to help uncover the core of the individual’s difficulties, fears, and concerns in order to plan and work through a treatment plan that is designed solely for the individual person. These plans aim to understand and change problematic thought patterns, feelings, and adverse behaviors. The CBT model plan does this in a number of ways, working to adhere to the client’s initial strengths–even if they are only slight–and building forward to challenge them. These plans to help modify an individual’s thoughts and behaviors include:

  • Gaining self-confidence.
  • Learning how to deal with stress and stressful situations in healthier manners.
  • Learning to understand others and their incentives.
  • Learning to recognize harmful thoughts, emotions and behaviors and accepting them for what they are.
  • Learning how to face fears in a safe and responsible manner.
  • Practicing methods and ways in which to stay calm and collected in stressful situations and circumstances.

The Different Types of CBT

There are many different types of cognitive behavrioal therapies for many different types of mental illnesses and disorders. Since its birth in the early 1960s, CBT has continued to grow and morph into different sectors to meet the needs of different people suffering from different types of traumas and disorders. Often referred to now as a “family of interventions”, cognitive behavioral therapy works from one process to the next, helping clients to learn more about themselves and their stress responses and better ways to react and cope with the world around them.

Although the treatment principles of each CBT therapy plan are similar, each individual program is designed to work for a specific person, with a specific disorder. In order to treat these individuals with their varying disorders, each type of CBT therapy is used slightly differently to help successfully work towards its end goal, which is a modified pattern of thought processes and behavioral reactions, maneuvering a person away from their old negative / destructive thoughts and actions. The different types of cognitive-behavioral therapies include:

Goals, Benefits, and Effectiveness of CBT

Extensive research on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown that the therapeutic method is effective in helping to improve the overall treatment programs of many different individuals, suffering from a variety of disorders and mental illnesses. The therapy has been used to treat a large range of psychological behaviors, and each year its practitioners are able to further polish the process of CBT treatment through active individual and group sessions. Cognitive-behavioral therapies are considered a reliable first-line approach for psychological disorders and illnesses, and often offers a significant improvement to secondary side effects clients may suffer from as a result of their diagnoses.

The overall goal for cognitive behavioral therapy, is that the therapeutic method may help individuals to develop healthy, proper coping skills that can be used in both immediate and future circumstances / events. These coping skills help individuals reframe their minds, keeping better control of their feelings, emotions, thoughts and actions. Oftentimes, the benefits of CBT therapy are numerous. Individuals learn to better understand themselves and others, while also learning how to cope with the world around them and support themselves in healthier ways. Cognitive behavioral therapies also teach its clients the importance of taking responsibility for ones’ own actions, and helps them to become better communicators and thinkers when their treatment programs have finished.

When cognitive behavioral therapy has concluded–whether that be after a session or a client finishes their entire treatment program–the individual can expect to have learned a great deal about themselves and how to better control their thoughts and emotions. CBT therapy helps give clients valuable tools to rebuild their lives, and more often than not, patients leave each treatment session and program with a growing sense of self-cofidence and capability. CBT programs help teach individuals that it is possible to control their emotions and thought process, and then goes a step further and shows them how they can take daily steps to harness the power of their own minds for themselves.

Finding A CBT Program Near You

If you or your loved one struggles with a substance use disorder, mental health condition or both, you have probably been worried about what the future might hold for you, what it may look like. If you have begun looking into drug and alcohol rehab programs, you have probably also come across a few different terms defining services and programs involved with addiction treatment. The term cognitive behavioral therapy may or may not have come across your path before now, but it is important that you know how the treatment is used and how it works.

As a non-physically evasive treatment option, cognitive behavioral therapy has had a great deal of success in treating individuals who suffer from many different kinds of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The therapy’s methods and principles have been studied and researched extensively for over 4o years to ensure its reliability and soundness, and with every passing year, improvements are made to the treatment program as a whole to ensure the best quality treatment for clients to undergo. So, if you or your loved one has decided you want to enter into recovery and would wish to explore your options for engaging in a CBT therapy session(s), look no further than St John’s Recovery Place (SJRP).

At SJRP your health and quality of treatment are our number one goals. We want to see you succeed and be able to pursue your goals outside of substance misuse. So, here at SJRP, we offer a variety of behavioral therapies that you can work through with your treatment team to grow with during your inpatient and outpatient program plans. But, if you’re not sure about whether or not CBT is right for you, or if you are not sure you’ll be able to travel to our rehab facility for treatment, you can always find out more information about cognitive behavioral therapy and its participating centers and affiliates through:

  • An SJRP representative
  • Your primary health care physician
  • Trusted friends who have personal recommendations of value

Addiction and rehab can be complex and uncomfortable at times, but you can make it through this stage of your life with success. Every person is different, and thus every treatment program and rehab plan must be designed to fit them and their specific needs. Your drug and alcohol recovery is not a race, but a journey that is unique to you, and if you decide to work through a CBT program, then that therapy treatment plan will be tailored to fit you and your specific needs as well. Don’t wait another day to start your recovery, start now, and take that first step to become substance use-free again.