A Guide to Good Health

Struggling With Addiction? Consider Trying CBT

Have you been struggling with addiction in spite of having tried several treatment protocols in the past? Maybe it is time to take a new treatment approach. Everyone reacts to certain treatments differently, so it could be that the therapies you have tried so far were simply not as well suited to your unique needs as they could have been. One new treatment you may want to try is called CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy. Keep reading for an in-depth look at CBT and how it can be helpful for patients with addictions.

What is CBT?

CBT is a type of therapy that seeks to identify circumstances that lead you to react in a certain way — in your case, the reaction would be turning to drugs and alcohol. Once you recognize what triggers the behavior, you can take two other steps. For one, you will seek to avoid those triggers as much as possible. Also, you will work with your therapist to develop alternative measures you can take when you cannot help but encounter the triggers. 

To put it simply and in other words, CBT aims to detect what triggers your addictive behaviors and then breaks the link between the trigger and your destructive behavior.

What is a CBT session like?

In most cases, CBT sessions are individual therapy sessions. You will meet with a therapist one-on-one. For the first session or two, you will probably just talk as you work to identify your triggers. Your therapist may ask you to keep a journal, writing down what you are doing in the time before each instance of substance abuse. Before long, patterns will start to emerge. For instance, you might notice that every time you feel anxious, you turn to alcohol.

Once you've identified your triggers, your sessions will change a bit. In one session, you might work on a calming technique you can turn to in place of alcohol or drugs when you feel anxiety. In another session, your therapist may intentionally do something that makes you feel anxious so you can practice working through those feelings without the assistance of the substance.

What are the advantages of CBT for addiction?

One advantage of this approach is that it really gets to the root of what is causing your addiction. Rather than focusing just on the addictive behavior, you are focusing on its core cause. Another advantage is that it is individualized for each patient; your therapist will tailor-design an approach for you.

CBT can be really helpful for dealing with addiction where other methods have failed. Talk to a therapist near you to learn more about addiction treatment therapies