A vital part of addiction treatment is therapy. Addiction can often be rooted in the mind and influenced by mental health conditions or past trauma, which therapy can effectively target. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) allows people with substance use disorders to confront negative thought patterns and habits that enable their addictions.
At United Recovery CA, we are dedicated to providing compassionate, effective CBT in a welcoming, safe environment as part of our residential treatment or extended treatment program.
This article will discuss how CBT can help people in connection with substance abuse.
What Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
Founded by Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s, CBT has become one of the most widely used forms of therapy today. Examining how thoughts and beliefs influence behavior, CBT works to understand how they manifest and determine how they can be changed. Throughout addiction treatment, the goal of Cognitive-behavioral therapy is to improve emotional regulation and develop healthy coping strategies.
A highly effective, research-backed treatment used worldwide, studies have shown that CBT is 50 to 75% effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression after five to fifteen sessions. CBT can also be used as a short-duration therapy that lasts as little as six sessions.
CBT incorporates various techniques during sessions, such as:
- Goal setting – Setting goals can help you improve your health and life. During CBT, your therapist will help you identify short and long-term goals, focus on the process of reaching them, and set relevant targets that will assist your recovery.
- Practicing new skills – CBT can provide a new set of skills for dealing with triggers and stressors for those recovering from a substance use disorder. You may practice these skills with your therapist during your sessions to prepare yourself, and you may also employ them following treatment.
- Identifying negative thoughts – The process of identifying harmful thoughts can be difficult, but your therapist will walk you through it. Doing so can lead to insights that are a valuable part of the treatment process.
The Role of CBT in Treating Substance Use Disorders & Addiction
CBT is highly effective in treating substance use disorders and addiction. It works on the basis that the cause of addiction includes negative feelings and warped thoughts, which can feed into anxiety and depression. These feelings can spiral and lead to, or worsen, addictive behaviors and substance abuse.
By teaching those affected healthy coping skills, Cognitive-behavioral therapy treats addiction by reducing or eliminating substance abuse-related behaviours. It is often used in inpatient rehab facilities to encourage clients to adopt more positive thoughts and behaviors.
Some of the benefits of CBT include:
- Sessions involve homework that clients complete independently to apply the skills learned during therapy.
- CBT encourages clients to address self-defeating beliefs to increase self-esteem and build a strong foundation for recovery.
- By acknowledging the past, Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps clients recognize and change their old thought patterns and look towards the future.
- CBT can treat a range of conditions and is highly effective for substance use disorders.
In addition, CBT is effective online as well as face-to-face. This can be beneficial for those in outpatient treatment who want to cut out travel time or do not feel able to attend in-person sessions.
CBT has also proven highly effective for treating other conditions, including:
- Low self-esteem
- Grief and loss
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Cognitive-behavioral Therapy & Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Dual diagnosis, also known as a co-occurring disorder, is when an addiction and mental health condition co-exist. This is a common condition, with around 45% of people in the United States struggling with a dual diagnosis at any given time.
Many people use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate when they find it difficult to cope with mental health conditions. For example, those with anxiety may use benzodiazepines to reduce their symptoms or stave off a panic attack. However, self-medicating can cause both disorders to intensify.
A dual diagnosis can be because of any mental illness, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
Symptoms of a dual diagnosis vary but commonly include:
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Regularly missing school or work
- Mood swings
- Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
- Intense anxiety
- Violent or reckless behavior
These symptoms can be scary for both those with a dual diagnosis and their loved ones. However, CBT can be used to treat a dual diagnosis effectively. It can help clients reframe their thoughts and develop healthy coping mechanisms rather than turning to addictive substances to numb their emotional or mental pain. A dual diagnosis requires a specialized treatment plan to target both conditions simultaneously, as only targeting one condition at a time is not effective.
At United Recovery CA, our recovery team is fully equipped to effectively treat dual diagnosis. We provide a safe, constructive environment for those struggling with both conditions to receive treatment in our inpatient rehab center. Our staff provide the highest quality of care and will target both the addiction and mental health condition during the course of treatment. Each client receives both a medical and psychological assessment upon entering our facility and will follow an individualized treatment plan to treat both conditions effectively.
CBT Therapy Sessions at United Recovery CA
At United Recovery CA, Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an integral part of our residential treatment program. Our experienced therapists work closely with each client to identify areas to improve and work on during rehab to provide them with the tools necessary to facilitate long-term recovery.
At our state-of-the-art facility, clients will receive a comprehensive CBT therapy program personalized to their specific needs. Our experienced therapists utilize role-playing techniques to encourage clients to both face and overcome their fears.
At United Recovery CA, our therapists also use CBT to train the body and mind to relax in stressful situations. This enables our clients to cope with any internal and external triggers they may encounter when they return to life after completing their stay in rehab.
Working with our recovery team, clients will attend CBT therapy sessions regularly throughout their stay. CBT aims to provide each client with the tools to manage stress and prevent a relapse.