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Treating Substance Abuse with CBT

Woman and therapist talk about treating substance abuse with cbt

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is widely used as a treatment for substance use disorder. This psychotherapy technique empowers patients to change negative beliefs and actions that drive their addictive behavior. If you or a loved one could benefit from an evidence-based rehab program that includes cognitive-behavioral therapy, call Vertava Health Mississippi today at 844.951.1931 for more information.

Treating Substance Abuse with CBT

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be effective at helping a range of mental health issues, including anxiety disorders, depression, and addiction. Many studies conclude that CBT is as or more effective than some psychiatric medications.

CBT is based on two core principles:

  • Psychological problems are based, at least in part, on faulty patterns and unhelpful ways of thinking
  • People can relieve their symptoms by learning better ways to cope with faulty patterns and unhelpful thoughts

Through CBT techniques, patients learn to recognize their own distorted thinking and apply new problem-solving skills to make better choices. Understanding that they have control over their thoughts and actions empowers people and builds confidence in their decision-making abilities.

How CBT Can Help with Addiction Treatment

Unlike some other forms of therapy, CBT focuses on a patient’s current situation, not past problems or traumas. There is also a set time limit for sessions; cognitive behavioral therapy does not go on for years. Therapists typically spend about 16 weeks working with patients on one specific problem, such as addiction.

When treating addiction with cognitive-behavioral therapy, the first goal is to establish the ways in which substance use is reinforced in a patient’s life. For example, drinking makes you forget stress, or using drugs relieves chronic pain. Once a patient understands the thoughts and behaviors that make substance use seem appealing, the therapist will help them identify the appeal of abstaining.

Understanding the rewards that are available through sobriety (not the negative consequences of substance use) naturally increases the desire to abstain. Getting a great job or having a meaningful relationship are examples of motivations for sobriety.

With rewards in mind, treating addiction with cognitive-behavioral therapy can help patients learn the new coping skills they need to manage stress without drugs or alcohol.

Relapse prevention is a crucial component of CBT. Patients learn to identify their triggers and develop a plan to avoid relapse when those triggers arise.

What to Expect from Therapy Sessions When Treating Addiction with CBT

Though treating addiction with CBT is different from traditional talk therapy, you can expect discussions about mood and individual problems during each session. The first part of every session is typically devoted to establishing an agenda for the meeting, and patients are encouraged to identify important topics they wish to discuss.

Homework is an essential part of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Patients need to complete assigned exercises on their own time. Doing work outside of formal therapy sessions helps to reinforce the new skills and build patient confidence.

Is CBT Used Alone?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be used as a stand-alone addiction treatment. However, it is typically used as part of an overall recovery plan. Individuals with severe or long-term addictions need the added support provided in a rehab environment and aftercare for the best chance of maintaining sobriety. Treating substance use disorder with CBT alone may be recommended for those who have strong family support and mild substance abuse behaviors.

Turn to Vertava Health Mississippi for Treating Substance Abuse with CBT

Vertava Health Mississippi offers comprehensive substance rehab services that include cognitive-behavioral therapy. We are not a one-size-fits-all treatment center. Each patient receives an individualized treatment program that includes the therapeutic techniques that best serve their needs. For more information on how CBT can help with addiction treatment, call Vertava Health at 844.951.1931 today.