How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help Addiction Recovery?

Therapy is a broad term that is used to designate various modes and styles of treatment meant to relieve or heal a disorder, including addiction to drugs or alcohol. It can be a little bit confusing because, besides the types of therapy and therapists, patients can find that there are also different styles and techniques, theories and approaches that therapists may use as treatment. One of the most commonly used types of therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s used to treat a variety of disorders and can be especially helpful to people who suffer from addiction.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common types of talk therapy used in treating people in addiction recovery. CBT involves changing the patterns of thinking and behavior that are causing difficulties. It’s a short-term and goal-driven psychotherapy that is used to treat a variety of issues that often accompany substance abuse disorders including anxiety, depression, and relationship issues. CBT works by changing attitudes and behavior by concentrating on the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that patients hold and how these processes relate to behavior.

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an approach that is being used in increasing numbers for addiction treatment due to its many benefits. Some of those benefits include:

  • Providing a strong support system – Everyone who seeks therapy, especially those who are in addiction recovery, need a strong network of support. CBT and therapists who perform it offer patients a safety net by providing positive encouragement and coping techniques for challenging situations that have the potential to lead to relapse.
  • Learning to think positively – In addiction recovery, a person’s perspective is crucial. Having negative thoughts and feelings can significantly influence recovery by reinforcing feelings of discouragement, helplessness, and hopelessness. CBT helps patients learn to practice positive thinking, making patients more confident in addiction recovery, so that when challenges arise, patients are able to navigate them positively without engaging in old, destructive behaviors.
  • Dealing with triggers – One of the most important aspects of addiction recovery is learning to identify and deal with the triggers that may lead patients to relapse. When patients become aware of those triggers and have strategies in place to deal with them, patients are far less likely to engage in past behaviors. CBT helps patients to identify and manage triggers, adding to self-confidence and motivation to stay sober.
  • Improves self-esteem – For many people who suffer from addiction, low self-esteem is a major underlying factor of their drug or alcohol rehab CBT can help individuals improve their self-esteem and self-image. Improving self-esteem can greatly influence how a person in recovery deals with triggers, cravings, and desires to use drugs or alcohol again. Positive reinforcement of self-worth will help patients realize that patients deserve a better, healthier life than what patients have been living.
  • It’s cost effective – CBT is typically a part of both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs and is an investment that will help keep patients away from drugs or alcohol – a bargain when compared to the cost of feeding addiction.
  • Maintaining daily routines – CBT is often provided in an outpatient setting, which means that patients are able to participate in treatment while still continuing daily life and activities. Patients can often schedule therapy appointments in a manner that allows patients to continue working, going to school, and caring for family.

Final Thoughts about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Addiction Recovery

Cognitive behavioral therapy has many benefits when it is combined with traditional addiction treatment methods. Many people in addiction recovery have found that CBT played a significant role in their recovery by helping them overcome destructive thinking, habits, and behaviors. Additionally, CBT can be helpful in many other aspects of life apart from addiction, and it doesn’t have to stop when patients complete addiction treatment program. In fact, for the most positive results, it’s recommended that patients continue therapy for as long as patients need it following inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment.

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