How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Helps Overcome Drug Addiction** | Guest Post by Cyron Nikko Alocillo
Individual therapy sessions are a crucial component of any effective substance abuse treatment program. Of all the therapy options used in treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely adopted. CBT helps people identify the negative patterns of thinking that keep them stuck in addictive behavior. CBT offers a valuable tool for the modification of unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns that often lie at the root of addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has many benefits that help recovering addicts break the vicious cycle of addiction.
The following article outlines how CBT helps people overcome drug addiction. **
Develop New Positive Thought Patterns
As stated in the introduction, CBT helps those new in recovery replace negative thought patterns to those more conducive to recovery. Negative thought patterns reinforce a sense of helplessness that makes addicts feel as though they will never get well. With CBT, they learn how to generate a positive outlook, so they don’t feel overwhelmed by the stresses of everyday life. When those new in recovery learn they can handle everyday situations in a healthy manner, they are less likely to resort to using substances as a coping mechanism.
When a person undergoes CBT, they learn that low self-esteem is a huge underlying factor in the development of their addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps newly recovering addicts improve their self-esteem. Along with the increase in self-esteem, the individual’s self-worth also improves. As a result, someone struggling with addiction will understand they deserve a better way of life. Additionally, they will experience a new sense of empowerment and the motivation to seek out new healthy habits to improve their life.
The Increase of Support
A great benefit of CBT is the individual can turn to a strong support network during their recovery journey. This is especially helpful when they experience struggle and feel vulnerable to relapse. Both the therapist and their recovering peers provide positive encouragement and support, which minimizes the chances of an individual returning to active drug use.
Minimize Peer Pressure
Another main reason why people become addicted and stay stuck in addiction is peer pressure. Many people start using drugs and alcohol as a way to fit in and feel accepted by others. During CBT, individuals learn new behaviors that support their recovery. In the safe and supportive environment of therapy, people can practice these new behaviors. This constant practice better prepares them to resist peer pressure when they complete treatment and resume their normal daily life. When people can say no and mean it, it boosts their sense of confidence in their ability to stay sober.
CBT is Gradual
As we all know, drug addiction develops slowly over time. To effectively deal with the underlying roots of one’s addiction, therapy must be able to slowly introduce and integrate concepts over time to let the newly recovering addict grasp and implement these concepts. In CBT, people are gradually introduced to new ideas and behaviors that will help them address their addiction head-on.
Sessions Taper Down Over Time
A great benefit of CBT is the fact that the number of sessions decreases over time. This “taper” depends on how an individual progresses in treatment and their confidence level. In the beginning, people may go to therapy once or twice weekly, which may taper down to once weekly. As they are ready to end treatment, an individual may only need to go to treatment once a month to check-in.
What is important to note is there is no set timetable in the duration of treatment as a whole. If at any time someone is struggling with a concept or feels vulnerable to relapse, treatment will continue as needed. This type of pacing and evaluation will help an individual feel comfortable knowing they have the time and support to work through any issues they experience.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy has helped countless addicts overcome addiction. Because it is so effective, many treatment programs utilize CBT as their “go-to” therapy. Not only does CBT help people overcome addiction, but it also helps them overcome other challenges that present themselves in daily life. If you or a loved one are entering treatment and have questions about CBT, consult with an experienced therapist or treatment personnel.