Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Substance Abuse: A Key Part of Addiction Recovery

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for substance abuse, or CBT, has proven to be an effective therapy option for both drug rehab facilities and clients. It helps even long-time users learn how to overcome their cravings for various substances. However, how does it work? In this blog, we will take a look at Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Asheville and how it can be beneficial to those who are suffering from addiction.

What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of talk therapy that is used to treat a wide range of issues, including mental health disorders and addiction. During cognitive behavior therapy, the patient will work with a mental health counselor, such as a physiotherapist or therapist in order to become more aware of inaccurate or negative thinking. This is done in order to view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on several core principles. They include:

  • Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
  • Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
  • People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.

Why Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Used?

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on how a person’s thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect their feelings and behaviors. As a result, it can be used to treat a variety of challenges, including:

  • Managing symptoms of mental illness
  • Preventing a relapse of mental illness symptoms
  • Treating a mental illness when medications aren’t a good option
  • Learning techniques for coping with stressful life situations
  • Identifying ways to manage emotions
  • Resolving relationship conflicts and learn better ways to communicate
  • Coping with grief or loss
  • Overcoming emotional trauma related to abuse or violence
  • Coping with a medical illness
  • Managing chronic physical symptoms

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Substance Abuse Work?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy shows that many harmful actions and emotions are not always logical or rational. These feelings and behaviors may come from past experiences or environmental factors. CBT therapists help those that suffer from addiction to identify those negative thoughts in order to reduce the negative effects that those thoughts have on the mind and body. Often times, people try to self-medicate in order to squash some of these thoughts, often leading drug and/or alcohol abuse and addiction.

Techniques that Therapists Use to Help Program Participants

Within cognitive behavioral therapy, a counselor collaborates with a participant to root out faulty reasoning. In some situations, this may involve the recognition of cognitive distortions. The case in point is the individual who believes to be responsible for a parent’s divorce and subsequent family breakup. Although sincere, the belief relies on the skewed perceptions of a child without the ability to evaluate whether or not those perceptions are even reasonable.

However, what happens when this individual blames him or herself for all the following family problems? It can cause the development of low self-esteem or poor self-image and quickly results in automatic negative thoughts. By helping program participants challenge some of these very basic ideas, therapists succeed in bringing about changes.

Journaling is an essential technique that helps individuals revisit fundamental thought patterns. When they recognize the potential for cognitive distortion, a therapist can help them investigate those issues further. This professional also assists with cognitive restructuring, which makes it possible to replace faulty reasoning with reality-based information.

Individuals overcome self-loathing by understanding how perceptions influence actions, thoughts, and feelings. Doing so allows them to build self-esteem, unlearn destructive behaviors, and develop real coping strategies. Other techniques revolve around a realistic approach to drug use and its likely future consequences for the program participant. This process helps individuals form effective coping skills.

What Are the Elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Researchers have developed a tripod model that explains the relationship between actions you take and their causations. Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors influence one another. Each decision you make finds its basis in one or more of these aspects. But when flawed reasoning provides the foundation for decision-making, your actions will also have flaws.

This is the backdrop of Cognitive behavioral therapy for substance abuse. At Crest View Recovery Center in Asheville, our experts understand that it’s possible to affect lasting changes with this therapy. To do so, they work with program participants in one-on-one as well as group settings. A variety of CBT techniques can assist in helping individuals to move forward rapidly.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work With Addiction Treatment?

Many of the issues that CBT addresses have direct correlations to substance abuse and addiction. For people that suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD self-medication can be a popular option. Unfortunately, this can lead to substance abuse and addiction. When someone is suffering from addiction as a result of a mental health issue, cognitive behavioral therapy in Ashville can be a great way to help them begin their recovery process through positive thoughts and messages. This is done by:

  • Helping to dismiss false beliefs and insecurities that may have led to substance abuse in the first place.
  • Providing self-help tools that will help better their moods.
  • Teaching effective communication skills.

In addition, cognitive-behavioral therapy helps identify the triggers that may have led to substance abuse or addiction and then helps them deal with those triggers. This is done in three ways: recognize, avoid, and cope.

  • Recognize – Identify which circumstances lead to using drugs or drinking.
  • Avoid – Remove yourself from trigger situations whenever possible or appropriate.
  • Cope – Use CBT techniques to address and alleviate emotions and thoughts that lead to substance abuse.

What Are Some Techniques that Therapists Use to Help Program Participants?

Within cognitive behavioral therapy, a counselor collaborates with a participant to root out faulty reasoning. In some situations, this may involve the recognition of cognitive distortions. For example, an addicted individual may believe that they are responsible for their parent’s divorce and subsequent family breakup. Although sincere, the belief relies on the skewed perceptions of a child without the ability to evaluate whether or not those perceptions are even reasonable.

However, what happens when this individual blames him or herself for all the following family problems? It can cause the development of low self-esteem or poor self-image and quickly results in automatic negative thoughts. By helping program participants challenge some of these very basic ideas, therapists succeed in bringing about changes.

Journaling is an essential technique that helps individuals revisit fundamental thought patterns. When they recognize the potential for cognitive distortion, a therapist can help them investigate those issues further. This professional also assists with cognitive restructuring, which makes it possible to replace faulty reasoning with reality-based information.

Individuals overcome self-loathing by understanding how perceptions influence actions, thoughts, and feelings. Doing so allows them to build self-esteem, unlearn destructive behaviors, and develop real coping strategies. Other techniques revolve around a realistic approach to drug use and its likely future consequences for the program participant. This process helps individuals form effective coping skills.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Substance Abuse Fit in with Other Evidence-based Treatments?

At Crest View Recovery Center in Asheville, our rehab treatment program gives clients the opportunity to test out coping strategies in real-life settings. Many rehab facilities embrace a traditional approach to treatment that offers theory-based addiction therapy. However, we’ve found that reality-based therapy is highly effective in helping program participants exercise their newfound skills.

Doing so in a peer environment, with the assistance of specialists, makes the most sense. It functions as a safety net, but it also allows peers in a similar situation to provide realistic input. When you incorporate this psychotherapy with other approaches, the benefits increase. Examples include:

  • Comprehensive addiction treatment services that focus on multifaceted clinical care
  • Easy access to 12-Step meetings that don’t interfere with therapy schedules
  • Gender-assigned housing to minimize distractions through fraternization or friction
  • An intensive outpatient program that builds on the successes of initial Rehab Treatment

Participants have the opportunity to practice everyday tasks such as grocery shopping and going to the movies. Although these might activities might seem routine to outsiders, doing so without using alcohol or drugs is a significant step in recovery. It builds self-respect and helps individuals struggling with a substance abuse problem to realize that they can succeed.

How Do You Prepare for Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Substance Abuse?

While you might choose on your own to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy, in some cases it might be suggested by a doctor or another medical professional. Either way, before starting therapy there are certain things you need to do to properly prepare.

  • Find a therapist – In most cases, you can get a referral from a doctor, your health insurance provider, or even a friend or a loved one. In fact, many employers offer counseling services or referrals through employee assistance programs. If you are already in a treatment facility, then you can see the professional that they employ for therapy.
  • Check Qualifications – If you are choosing to go the route of finding your own therapist, it is important to check their qualifications. It’s important to make sure that the therapist has the proper certifications and licenses to practice in your area. In addition, it’s important to make sure the therapist has experience dealing with your specific issue.
  • Understand the costs – While many insurance plans will cover the cost of therapy, some don’t, or don’t cover the full cost. It’s important to know this before beginning therapy. It is also important to discuss any out-of-pocket expenses with your therapist before beginning treatment.
  • Think about what you want to talk about – Before your first session, take some time and make some notes about what you want to address during therapy. Having a game plan going in will help not only you but also your therapist focus on the most important problems that you may be having.

Are You In Need of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Asheville, North Carolina?

If you or a loved one struggles with a drug problem, our therapists can help. Call Crest View Recovery Center today at 866.327.2505 to learn more.

Article Reviewed by Patrice Wishon, LCSW, LCAS, CCS

Patrice Wishon, LCSW, LCAS, CCSPatrice has over 30 years experience working in social work and mental health/substance abuse counseling. She received her Master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and has worked in a variety of settings, including community-based outpatient, hospital and classroom settings. Patrice specializes in substance abuse treatment, trauma and women’s issues.