When it comes to treating drug addiction, there are plenty of different methods. One of the techniques that greatly help in the treatment of people with drug problems is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT.
This kind of therapy is a “talk” therapy and is based on people’s behaviours and how they can be modified or controlled. It also includes cognition theories that are focused on how people feel, think, as well as understand themselves.
Treating Drug Addiction with CBT
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’s aim is to change behaviours by pairing them with positive and also negative reinforcement. What these include are punishments or rewards on particular behaviours that the patient needs to increase or decrease.
When a patient undergoes CBT sessions, they get to explore the conflicts within themselves. There are things that we want to do and then there are things that we actually do. This scenario is usually what happens when a person has an addiction.
If a person has problems with addiction, there are conflicting behaviours. On one hand, they know what is right from wrong and that doing drugs can lead to harmful results. However, since they are dependent and addicted to the substance, they have a hard time controlling their addictive behaviours. This situation leads to frustrations to the point of self-loathing for some.
How CBT Helps in Treating Drug Addiction
Addiction is one of the many examples wherein the person’s pattern of behaviour goes against what the individual really wants to do. People with drug problems want to overcome their bad habits and addictive behaviours.
They know they want to change and quit their vices for good. They know that drinking alcohol excessively or taking illicit drugs is causing them problems. However, they often find themselves stuck and unable to make progress.
With the approach of CBT, these addictive behaviours like drug use, drinking, problem gambling, food addiction, or compulsive shopping are results of inaccurate ways of thinking as well as subsequent negative emotions.
CBT provides an explanation for these behaviours through the ways that the individual’s emotions and thoughts interact. It’s possible for individuals to have thoughts that are based on what they believe in but those are unrealistic and untrue and even impossible to attain.
Such thoughts consequently cause negative emotions. People may feel anxious and depressed and may even turn to drugs and alcohol. It is most often the cause of addictions. Through CBT, there is a way to systematically record the person’s thoughts and the feelings associated with them. Events triggering such feelings and thoughts are also included in the process.
By knowing and understanding this flow in the way that the person thinks and feels, then the process of changing the automatic processes can begin. Most of the time, we automatically do things out of habit. For an alcoholic, when they feel bad, frustrated, angry, depressed, or anxious, their automatic response is to drink alcohol. In the end, they end up making their situation worse than it already is.
Benefits of CBT for Treating Drug Addiction
Since CBT looks into the patterns of a person’s feelings and thoughts, there is a chance to understand deeper what’s going on. When the individual can realize these patterns, then they can slowly change their thoughts by looking at situations consciously more realistically.
When this can be achieved, then the person no longer automatically feels negative emotions. Remember, such negative feelings trigger cycles of destructive and harmful behaviours. If the person can gain control of their thoughts and feelings at that level, then they can stop themselves from automatically going through the motions.
Also, CBT encourages the individual through rewards fro healthier behaviours being used to replace the negative ones. In time, the patient will be able to form an association between the healthy behaviours and the positive emotions that come with it. It will then become automatic behaviour.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been used for many years for treating drug addiction. Its excellent track record proves that it’s among the best ways that addiction can be treated. There are a good number of studies that demonstrate how effective this method is when it comes to treating not just addiction but also anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
What to Expect from CBT Sessions
For the first session, it’s going to be mainly a way to assess the patient. If you are the one who will go through CBT sessions, then know that the first session will be a chance for you to say what challenges you’re dealing with. Expect that the therapist will ask numerous questions about you and your life. This step is done so that he or she can get a better picture of what the key factors are going to be involved in your treatment.
The first session is also a way for you and the therapist to feel if you are the best fit for each other. It’s best that you are honest with yourself and with the therapist. If you do not feel comfortable or confident with the sessions, then the therapist can offer a referral so you can try having a CBT session with another therapist.
At the end of the first session, the therapist may already discuss with you a treatment plan. This plan will outline different kinds of interventions that may be used during your CBT sessions. It could also be possible that an additional session for assessment is needed so that a more thorough treatment plan can be developed. What’s important to remember is that if you have questions, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask your therapist.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a great choice if you want to get help for your drug addiction. The sessions will allow you to know and understand your behaviours better. It will help you in becoming conscious of your automatic responses that lead to harmful reactions and behaviours.
If you want to know more about CBT and how it can help you, feel free to talk to us today and we’ll be happy to discuss things further with you.
Related article: How does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Work for Addiction Treatment?