Learning About Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Over Dependency on drugs and other ailments can be treated by changing the thinking mentality and emotions of a person and this is the core of cognitive behavioural therapy.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, is a method of psychological and psychiatric counselling invented by Dr. AAron T. Beck in the 1960s.
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Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) addresses the problem areas of thoughts and behaviour resulting from drug addiction.
Cognitive-Behavioural therapy is presently in use during the treatment of addictions. CBT trains recovering addicts to find connections between their feelings, thoughts, and actions and increase their awareness of how these things affect their recovery.
Along with addictions, CBT also facilitates treating various co-occurring disorders, such as the following
- Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD]
- Mood swings
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Eating disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
There are many rehab centres that provide CBT and you can find one near you today.
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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy And How It Works
Many harmful actions and emotions which people indulge in do not fall in the rational or the logical category and these actions can be identified by cognitive-behavioural therapy. Our environment and experiences in the past may be the cause of these actions and behaviours.
A recovering user may have certain negative thoughts that automatically come to mind and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help to identify them. An automatic thought is impulse-based; it often comes from misrepresentations and internally generated feelings such as self-doubt and fear. People often drink or abuse drugs in an attempt to mitigate these afflictive thoughts and feelings.
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.
Recovering addicts can soothe the pain caused by distressful memories by repeatedly revisiting them. After that they can learn other, favourable behaviours that will replace those leading to drug or alcohol use.
Treatment For Addiction And Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
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.
Someone is bound to start using drugs or be addicted to alcohol if they constantly have negative thoughts and feelings of depression.
It may be hard for a person trying to stop drug addiction to do so when they are in the same environment that led them to that behaviour in the first place. 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
- Getting rid of all the negative thought that lead people to addiction.
- To improve moods, CBT can provide tools that the recovering user can employ on their own.
- Training people how to speak up about their feelings to others.
Skills For Managing Triggers
- Learn to identify what makes you want to take drugs or drink.
- Keep Away From Them (Avoid)
- Stay away from places and situations that make you want to drink or take the drugs.
- Cope With Triggers
- Using CBT techniques, examine and mitigate emotions and thoughts that provoke substance use.
Even when outside the treatment centre, you can still practice the methods learnt in CBT. Whether you are at home or in a group, there are many situations that you can use to practice the CBT exercises.
To encourage people to stay sober, various support groups such as SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training) program also make use of CBT when creating their self-help exercises.
Techniques Applied In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Therapists that practice CBT use special exercises to facilitate addiction recovery.
Here are some examples of CBT techniques that are widely used in treatment of addictions
- Keeping Thought Records
- This involves dispelling automatic negative thoughts by finding proof that shows these thoughts to be false.
- 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 aim is to help them think positive, productive thoughts.
For example "My boss thinks I'm worthless. In this case, CBT will help the person move from a mindset where they feel they need to drink to feel better about themselves to one where they see mistakes as a normal part of the learning process. 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
- Here the exercises involve comparing negative thoughts and positive thoughts to see which influence good behaviour more.
- Where some people may respond to self-criticism, others may prefer self-kindness.
- These experiments are useful in finding out what causes an individual to improve their behaviour.
Example "when I criticize myself after indulging in too much drink, I drink less" vs. "when I encourage myself that I am better off without so much drinking, I drink less."
- Imagery Based Exposure
- Here, the patients are encouraged to remember something bad that happened before that causes them to feel terrible.
- During this moment, they are required to take note of every sight, emotion, sound, thought and impulse.
- Regularly re-enacting that moment in their minds, the patient can deal with the pain and nervousness brought about by the memory.
Example A person revisits a traumatic event from their childhood. He reproduces every feeling and emotion which he experienced at that moment. The consistent exposure to his past begins to cause him less pain and reduces the requirement to self-medicate with the use of alcohol or drugs.
- The Schedule of Pleasant Activities
- This is a method used to reduce the monotony of routines by planning activities that are enjoyable and healthy at certain times.
- These are activities that are designed to elicit positive feelings and are usually easy to do.
- Enlisting - and carrying out - these activities helps patients avoid negative automatic thoughts, so these people do not need to drink or take drugs for this purpose anymore.
Example A financial advisor working in a high stress environment can take 15 minutes off the job to do something relaxing instead of turning to alcohol or drugs when overwhelmed. Instead, during this time he enjoys a song from the singer he likes very much.
How Cognitive-Behavioural Therapies Differ From Other Psychotherapies
As compared to some therapies which do not offer a set of engaging activities, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will provide an hands-on alternative.
Addicts more often than not speak to their counsellors during a CBT meeting while the therapists listen attentively. Instead of this, therapists and addicts carry out joint activities aimed at overcoming the addiction.
The foundation of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focuses on action-based treatment, which will be rapid. A number of 60 to 90-day rehabilitation programs also include CBT within the package to provide people an opportunity to learn instant coping techniques.
Other psychotherapy approaches could take up to a number of years to produce results. In sharp contrast, CBT just requires 16 sessions before meaningful results can be seen.
Due to it's highly adaptable nature, CBT is used in both private and group counselling and it is also used in residential and non-residential rehab programs. CBT is a regular part of the treatment program as far as many rehab centres and addiction specialists are concerned.