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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is an extremely common therapeutic model used to treat substance disorders, with a strong focus on treating underlying behavioral and emotional disorders. CBT works by modifying behaviors and thought patterns leading to both substance use and relapse, helping individuals to work their way through problems rather than using substances to cope with them. This makes CBT an ideal treatment for those with existing traumas or cooccurring disorders who can doubly benefit from treating underlying problems.

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What is CBT

CBT is a therapy designed to tackle the destructive behavior patterns, as well as comorbid disorders such as anxiety and depression, often underlying substance use. First developed in the late 1980s, CBT blends techniques from both cognitive and behavioral therapy, with the idea that unlearning harmful behavior patterns contributing to substance use requires recognizing where they come from and working to replace them with new, healthier skills and coping mechanisms.

CBT is divided into two key components:

Functional Analysis – Here, the patient works with the therapist to identify the root causes underlying substance abuse. The therapist will walk the patient through emotions before and after use to work out what influences choices and why the patient chose to abuse a substance in the first place. This can be useful for recognizing and treating comorbid disorders. It also works to identify triggers and develop insight into why the patient might be motivated to use in the first place.

Skills Training – Once the therapist recognizes a problem, they can begin to tackle it with the patient by teaching a healthier coping mechanism, thought pattern, or habit. CBT is designed around the same concepts as behavioral therapy which works to retrain trauma patients to develop better coping mechanisms, making it especially useful for those who have suffered traumatic experiences and are trying (unhealthily) to cope.

Recognizing behaviors and thought patterns contributing to substance abuse gives many people the tools to move past it. CBT works to directly recognize these issues and then retrain the brain to avoid the negative behaviors caused by thought patterns and emotions.

CBT for Dual Diagnosis

Cognitive behavioral therapy is grounded in several types of therapy used for treating trauma, anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders which frequently overlap with addiction. The therapy model actively works to identify underlying issues and build coping mechanisms, making it especially useful for treating cooccurring disorders. By helping individuals to correct behavior and thought patterns and learn mental coping skills, CBT helps to treat both addiction and mental disorders at the same time.

CBT actively works to identify triggers and build coping mechanisms, helps individuals to explore their own behavior to understand the thoughts behind destructive behavior, and helps users to build skills to cope with those problems in the short and long term. With specific support for developing coping mechanisms for stress and triggers, as well as coping with negative thought patterns often brought on by anxiety and depression, it’s uniquely suited to treating addiction alongside a cooccurring disorder. Because persons with cooccurring disorders recover most successfully when receiving treatment for both conditions at once, CBT is an ideal solution to address the needs of both disorders.

How Effective is CBT for Addiction Treatment?

CBT is administered in both short and long-term settings, but typically in spans of 30-90 days. Here, patients must actively work to learn, improve, and build their own goals. It also requires patients to unlearn thought patterns and emotional or behavioral responses and work to learn new ones. It’s been shown to be successful for both short and long-term, with 60% of patients remaining clean and sober after 52 weeks with CBT (versus 21% with no therapy).

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common and popular evidence-based treatments for addiction. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, especially with a co-occurring disorder, CBT can help.

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction, we can help. Lighthouse Treatment Center’s rehab in Orange County, California is a safe place to begin your journey to a new life. Call us today at (855) 934-1100 for a free consultation.