The problem of treating addiction and mental illness, which can be a result of unhealthy thoughts and feelings can be addressed by cognitive-behavioural therapy.
Dr. Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s founded the Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as a means of treating mental illnesses.
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Cognitive behavioural therapy helps people deal with dysfunctional thoughts and feelings and to recover from addiction.
Today, cognitive behavioural therapy is widely used to treat addictions. Patients undergoing CBT treatment are taught to recognize the triggers in their minds, emotions, and behaviour that lead to them taking the drugs. This makes it easy to work on recovery.
Other mental health problems that can be addressed using this method include:
Anxiety of various kinds
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
If you suffer from addiction or any of those issues listed, please look for a CBT treatment facility for help.
CBT recognizes that many behaviours and feeling are dangerous and make no sense. The nature of the place where a person is living and even their history may play a part in their behaviour.
It is the job of counsellors to help recovering addicts identify their negative feelings and actions, which are also known as "automatic thoughts." Automatic thoughts are generally impulsive and often as a result of misconceptions and internal feelings of fear and self-doubt. Trying to suppress the pain inflicted by these experiences people self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.
Being able to isolate these feelings and emotions and recognize what brings them on empowers the addicted person to fight the addiction.
The pain caused by certain experiences may be lessened if these events are revisited often and addressed. The addicts then get a fresh opportunity to learn positive behaviours in order to replace their addiction for alcohol or drugs.
Treatment For Addiction And Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Most users are found to be suffering from deep despair and hopelessness which in the first place were caused by bad or distrustful thoughts.
What this says is dark thoughts have a higher possibility of making a person start abusing substances.
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. The National Institute On Drug Abuse has mentioned that help can be received by recovering addicts from cognitive-behavioural therapy to deal with the triggers which result in the cravings.
How Cbt Works In Helping Patients Overcome Addiction
Helping them dismiss misconceived notions and insecurities that have possibly led to substance abuse.
Providing DIY techniques to lift the patients' spirits.
Training people how to speak up about their feelings to others.
Keys For Controlling Triggers
Identify which factor provokes taking drugs or drinking alcohol.
Keep Away From Them (Avoid)
Stay away from places and situations that make you want to drink or take the drugs.
This involves dealing with the thoughts and feelings that cause you to abuse the substance using methods learnt in CBT.
The techniques provided by the cognitive-behavioural therapists can be practiced beyond the office of the therapist. Whether you are at home or in a group, there are many situations that you can use to practice the CBT exercises.
SMART and other such like Addiction Support groups employ the CBT techniques to help their members remain sober.
Techniques Applied In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
To help a user to recover, there are special methods that are utilized in CBT.
CBT methods that are important in treating addiction include:
Evaluation Of Thoughts
Patients recovering from addiction review their automatic negative thoughts and search for solid evidence that proves and contradicts these thoughts.
The patients make a list of advantages and disadvantages of keeping or discarding the thoughts.
This helps them eliminate the bad thoughts and stick with the good thoughts.
Example "my manager thinks I'm useless." For that, I need to use alcohol to get over this feeling "can be changed to " I accept my mistake and will rectify it next time. My manager will appreciate that I am learning from my mistakes and heeding his or her advice. I don't need any alcohol to bolster my self-esteem."
Here the exercises involve comparing negative thoughts and positive thoughts to see which influence good behaviour more.
One person may react better when they self-criticize while another will do great when they self-motivated.
Behavioural experiments are just about understanding what works best for a particular individual to a situation.
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
This involves bringing up memories that cause highly negative feelings.
The person then carefully notes what they were seeing, hearing, feeling and thinking in that moment.
Regularly re-enacting that moment in their minds, the patient can deal with the pain and nervousness brought about by the memory.
Example: A young guy focuses on some painful experience from his childhood. He presently recalls every detail and emotion of the particular moment. Eventually, repeatedly remembering this episode gives him less pain, and he doesn't feel the need to take drugs or drink alcohol to ease this pain.
Schedule for Pleasant Activities
This is a technique that is executed by drawing up a schedule of fun yet healthy activities to provide recreation and breaks from the everyday routine.
The tasks included should encourage positive emotions while being uncomplicated and easy to perform.
The need to use drugs or alcohol can be reduced with the help of these activities since they will help to curb the negative thoughts that tend to creep up automatically.
Example: An accountant who is feeling overworked could schedule a few minutes of relaxation everyday during his work hours instead of drinking while working. Instead, during this time he enjoys a song from the singer he likes very much.
How Cognitive-Behavioural Therapies Differ From Other Psychotherapies
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is more likeable than many other methods of therapy.
The CBT sessions aren't simply about the therapist quietly listening while the patient goes on and on about their lives. The therapist and addict are instead expected to treat the addiction by working hand in hand.
Focused and quick treatment that is based on actions is what Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is all about. Most of the 60 - 90 day rehab programs have CBT as a component that equips addicts with immediate techniques to help in coping.
It may takes years to see tangible results with most psychotherapy methods. Just sixteen sessions of CBT is often enough to obtain considerable improvement.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be adapted to make it effective during inpatient and outpatient sessions, along with individual and group counselling environments. CBT is a regular part of the treatment program as far as many rehab centres and addiction specialists are concerned.