What Is CBT and How Can It Help Me With My Addiction?

Addiction can bring feelings of hopelessness not only for the person suffering from addiction but their friends and family as well. Impulsive behavior is one of the defining traits of addiction, showing in one’s need for more of their substance of choice. You may also notice certain patterns of thinking, such as the idea that one must be perfect in their attempts to improve, or that the situation has become impossible to fix. These can be considered compulsions, black-and-white thinking, and hopelessness, which are all behaviors that can be addressed by cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the few kinds of psychotherapy approved for addiction treatment. The treatment usually takes place in a short-term window of time, as opposed to other methods of therapy that are ongoing. Typically, CBT lasts for 30-90 days and includes activities, or “homework,” to practice coping methods outside of the sessions. This gives the individual in treatment the skills they need to continue recovering after therapy ceases.

The primary focus of CBT is changing thought patterns that continue to create problems, such as the compulsions, black-and-white thinking, and feelings of hopelessness mentioned before. In order to aid in breaking the addiction, the therapist will identify which specific ideas are preventing recovery, such as the idea that one must be perfect in order to make progress. The therapist will then offer different ways to take on these thoughts and encourage the individual to practice them outside of the session, reporting back with the results of this exercise.

How Can CBT Help with Addiction?

Since addiction changes thought patterns from long-term goals to the short-term satisfaction of their vice or vices, encouragement can help the individual to realize their progress. Cognitive behavioral therapy can take place in an individual or group setting, allowing the person to either enjoy a private session with their therapist or receive the encouragement of others in similar situations. Since anxiety, depression, and PTSD are all risk factors for addiction, cognitive behavioral therapy can address underlying mental health disorders.

Using CBT as a resource for addiction management can help relieve a person from the consequences of their vices and the mental stresses attached. If you have any questions about CBT, a therapist specializing in this method can help you find answers. Remember that reaching out for help is the first step to recovery.

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