Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for AddictionCognitive Behavioral Therapy for addiction recovery is one of the primary treatments given to patients who are in rehab. Once the detox and withdrawal phase of treatment has been completed, the patient begins psychological therapy and other treatments. CBT is used to identify negative thoughts and behavior patterns that lead them to make unwise choices in life. Sometimes the addict is not aware of these unhealthy patterns, and even if they are, they may not know how to change or even believe that change is possible.

CBT is a proven effective treatment modality that helps addicts uncover and address harmful emotions, thoughts and behaviors that are expressed as substance abuse, eating disorders, shopping addiction, gambling or sex addiction, specific mental problems and more. Patients are taught new skills to facilitate the regulation of emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Cognition affects an individual’s beliefs, which affect their choices in life. By recognizing and changing the thought processes that lead to self-sabotage, the addict can begin to re-construct their life.

Behavioral Addictions

A behavioral addiction is any behavior that an addict has a compulsion to engage in regardless of the negative consequences of that behavior. The addict finds the behavior itself to be psychologically rewarding and they may even feel euphoric from it. After an addict engages in their behavioral addiction they may feel guilty, sad and overwhelmed. They find themselves the victim of their own psychological addiction and are unable to stop the process of engagement without professional treatment and intervention. Psychological addiction is recognized by these conditions:

  1. The addict struggles with mental health issues as a consequence of the behavior
  2. The addict is unable to stop the behavior
  3. The behavior interferes with family, work and other areas of life
  4. The addict experiences negative consequences directly caused by the addiction

When a behavior is impulsive in nature and causes problems with physical or mental health, relationships, finances, legal matters etc. the addict will need the help of professional psychotherapists. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for addiction will help individuals restructure their way of thinking and acting. They will work closely with their therapist in a therapeutic relationship to identify and treat harmful thought patterns and will also be given homework aside from their sessions with the therapist. A workbook, such as “Embracing Change: Recovery for Life,” may be given to the addict to work with. CBT is applied in both individual and group therapy sessions. The addict is given skills that are useful, practical and effective strategies against harmful thoughts and behaviors. These skills become a part of the addict’s everyday life. CBT also establishes coping strategies to be used when the addict faces difficult and stressful situations and people.

How CBT can Help those who are Addicted

The National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI) defines CBT as a type of psychotherapy that is different than traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy. The addict is treated for their mental illness through problem-focused and goal-directed treatment and intervention. The treatment modalities of CBT examine an addict’s relationship between thoughts, feelings and behavior that lead to self-destructive actions. CBT directs the modification of thought patterns to improve coping skills. The National Association of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (NACBT) identifies CBT as a general classification of numerous treatment modalities.

Negative thinking patterns are the primary cause of anxiety, depression and addiction, and are an obstacle to self-change. These negative thoughts are powerful and destructive and contribute to an addict’s sense of powerlessness, hopelessness and lack of control over their addictive behavior. CBT is a proven effective treatment for addiction because it is highly focused when compared to other types of treatment. The sessions begin with the addict being assessed and then treated. The addict begins to realize that they can change their thinking and behavior. They now have power over their addiction by simply using the power of their thoughts in a new and healthy way. CBT gives the addict hope for a happy and healthy future.

If you or someone you love is in need of drug treatment, call the addiction professionals at White Sands Treatment Center. We can help you find the treatment program that best suits your needs.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Treatment Center at (877) 556-9584. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

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