When you enter substance abuse treatment, you will be provided treatment using a variety of therapies. One of the therapies you are likely to encounter during substance abuse treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on changing your internal thoughts and beliefs, as well as your reactions to those beliefs, from negative into positive. CBT, an evidence-based treatment, is effective for substance abuse treatment for the following reasons:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is very structured and goal-oriented, which helps keep you focused on your goal of attaining lasting recovery.
- CBT is flexible and can be used in individual or group therapy. It can also be tailored to your unique treatment needs.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is compatible with a variety of other treatment types that a patient may undergo, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
- CBT’s short-term approach can work in a wide variety of settings, including residential substance abuse treatment and outpatient substance abuse treatment.
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These factors and others have made CBT a popular and effective treatment for a wide variety of psychiatric disorders in addition to substance abuse.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Substance Abuse
Though it’s used to treat a wide variety of disorders, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy specifically treats substance abuse in the following ways:
Functional Analysis: During this step in the CBT process, you and your therapist will do a thorough analysis of your thoughts, feelings, and circumstances to ascertain the situations and thoughts that put you at a high risk of substance abuse. This analysis is done throughout the therapy cycle to identify times when you have difficulty dealing with those high-risk situations.
Skills Training: Once the functional analysis is complete, you will move onto specific skills training. During this step, you will learn healthy and constructive coping skills that will hopefully prevent you from turning to substance abuse and other destructive behaviors. By the time you enter substance abuse treatment, substance abuse might be one of the few methods you use to cope with difficult situations. You may have also developed an eating disorder or engage in self-harm. By providing you new coping skills and techniques, it is hoped that you will no longer turn to these behaviors in order to cope with the problems of life. The training here begins with a focus on situations that are directly linked to your substance abuse. Once skills are learned to cope with those situations, the training broadens to other new coping skills for situations which may indirectly lead to substance abuse.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an effective therapy when it comes to substance abuse treatment because it can help you better manage your substance abuse symptoms and also teach you new skills to help you better deal with life’s problems. If you are struggling with substance abuse, with or without a co-occurring disorder, find a substance abuse treatment center that offers CBT for a more lasting recovery.