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CBT Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT is a method used to treat mental illnesses and addiction by addressing negative thoughts and feelings.

Dr. Aaron T. Beck started Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the 60s which is a branch of mental health counselling.


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Overcoming addiction calls for many resources and people. Drug addiction treatment programs, both outpatient and residential, will help you avoid relapses and stay sober afterwards. Mental health therapists are available to educate you on the essential life techniques to sustain recovery.

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They can get over any form of addiction by changing their mentality about it.


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.

Apart from addiction, CBT is also used for treating co-occurring disorders such as:

  • Anxiety of various kinds
  • ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Various forms of bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Various forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

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How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Works

Many of the things we do or feel that harm us are not actually rational and CBT can help us to know this. The nature of the place where a person is living and even their history may play a part in their behaviour.

With the help of cognitive behavioural therapists, recovering addicts can fetch out negative "automatic thoughts" of their own. Fear, self doubt and other internalized feelings together with misconceptions are what usually cause these automatic negative thoughts. It has been observed that many people look forward to be self-medicating themselves to overcome the painful thoughts and feelings with the help of alcohol or by abusing substances.


A person may be better able to deal with their addiction if they know what causes them to feel as they do and how these emotions and behaviours lead to the use of a drug or alcohol.

The pain caused by certain experiences may be lessened if these events are revisited often and addressed. Once they can cope with the issues without freaking out, they are then taught how to cultivate healthy habits in place of the substances they were addicted to.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy And Treatment For Addiction

Over Dependency on the drugs is also associated with behaviours such as feeling sad and nervous and this are caused by the bad thoughts.

It means that automatic thoughts can make a person more likely to take drugs and drink alcohol.

One of the main things that prevent people from staying clean are triggers and these are things, situations or people that bring about a strong urge to use. Based on the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBT employs three keys to help those battling addiction resist triggers.


Cbt Helps Patients To Get Past Drug Addiction And Alcoholism By

  • Helping them dismiss misconceived notions and insecurities that have possibly led to substance abuse.
  • Using techniques that are bound to help the patient up boost moral.
  • Training people how to speak up about their feelings to others.

How To Control The Triggers

  • Know Them (recognize)
  • Know the things that create an urge to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Avoid
  • Stay away from places and situations that make you want to drink or take the drugs.
  • Cope With Triggers
  • Using CBT techniques, examine and mitigate emotions and thoughts that provoke substance use.

The techniques provided by the cognitive-behavioural therapists can be practiced beyond the office of the therapist. Recovering addicts do not need to visit a specialist for advice but can indulge in several CBT exercises by themselves either from home or in a group setting.

Support groups for addiction such as Self-Management And Recovery Training [SMART] are also incorporating CBT principles within their self-help exercises as an encouragement for continued sobriety.


Cbt Therapy Principles

Therapists that practice CBT use special exercises to facilitate addiction recovery.

Here are some examples of CBT techniques that are widely used in treatment of addictions:

  • Thought Records
  • Patients recovering from addiction review their automatic negative thoughts and search for solid evidence that proves and contradicts these thoughts.
  • They write down of pros and cons of their automatic thoughts to compare and set up the former against the latter.
  • The idea is that by critically evaluating your thoughts, you will be able to have thoughts that are less harsh and are more rational.

An example is "My supervisor thinks and worthless. I feel better when I drink, I'll take a drink right now " becomes " it is okay to make mistakes as now I know what not to do. I'll do better next time, and my manager will be happy with me. I can change without having to use alcohol."

  • CBT 'Behavioural Experiments' Technique
  • Here the exercises involve comparing negative thoughts and positive thoughts to see which influence good behaviour more.
  • Some people can better judge themselves while others can complement themselves.
  • One needs to identify the behaviours that work best with them.

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 Technique
  • During this exercise, patients have to think about a past experience that causes severe negative feelings.
  • The person then carefully notes what they were seeing, hearing, feeling and thinking in that moment.
  • This will get rid of any nervousness they have been feeling.

Example: A difficult childhood memory is the focus of a young man's thoughts. He replays it in his mind remembering every feeling and detail of the event. The more he replays it in his mind, the less painful it is and this leads to a lower need to indulge in alcohol and drugs as a way of self medication.

  • Schedule for Pleasant Activities
  • This is a practice involving creating a healthy weekly list, entertaining practices to halt an individual's daily activities.
  • All the activities on the list should be easy to do, simple, and trigger positive emotions.
  • Planning the positive activities contributes to the reduction of negative feelings being generated and a resultant urge to indulge in drinking or drug use.

Example: A financial advisor who works a lot, finds fifteen minutes every day to relax at his desk instead of drinking alcohol or using drugs at work. Instead, the break is used to listen to a recently released song from a new music sensation.


What Is The Difference Between Cbt Vs Other Kinds Of Psychotherapy

While others therapies may be less hands-on, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy provides an approach that is much more attentive.

Addicts in treatment are expected to go beyond just talking to the therapist during the CBT sitting and the therapist is not just a passive listener. The addicts and the therapists will be working with each other to treat the addiction.

The foundation of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focuses on action-based treatment, which will be rapid. CBT has become a standard part of many long term rehab programs since they provide the patients with ways of coping.

Other psychotherapy approaches could take up to a number of years to produce results. In sharp contrast, CBT just requires 16 sessions before meaningful results can be seen.

Due to it's highly adaptable nature, CBT is used in both private and group counselling and it is also used in residential and non-residential rehab programs. Most counsellors and addiction medical facilities incorporate CBT as a section of their recovery programs.