Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, otherwise known as CBT, has been used since the 1980s. It is a combination of behavioral and cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy focuses on emotional disorders such as anxiety attacks, depression, and schizophrenia. The belief is that thoughts precede moods and negative emotions are the base of depression. Behavioral therapy focuses on psychological problems such as mental disorders, which can lead to substance abuse, among other symptoms. Various exercises are performed, training to learn how to change one’s mindset for the better.
CBT blends these two ideals creating a therapy that deals with both sides of addiction-emotional and mental. It focuses on the “here and now” and is used for people with dual diagnosis- those who have both a mental disorder and drug or alcohol problem. There is a definite correlation between the two. People turn to drugs and alcohol because of emotional turmoil. Someone who has low self worth may turn to alcohol as a way to dull the emotion. Another who is frustrated at their job may turn to drugs for the euphoric high. Individuals are encouraged to improve their mental attitude to help battle their addictions.
Therapists specializing in CBT encourage individuals to see their insecurities as hypotheses rather than facts. Experiments are performed to test their beliefs. Patients in distress are told to write down their thoughts and monitor them-referred to as “automatic thoughts”). It’s all part of the addiction treatment to cure people of their illness. In some cases, CBT and medication are used together but the therapy alone is often enough. Especially since there are instances when medication can’t be used to cure a mental illness (as in the case of pregnancy). CBT patients can participate in group or individual therapy and attain great success both ways. Patients in this particular drug rehab program learn how to recognize and change their negative thoughts.
There are numerous factors that make up a CBT program. For one thing, they are significantly shorter than other therapy programs. There are only 16 CBT sessions necessary for recovery while regular therapy sessions can last years. What makes it different is the instructive aspect of CBT. The program utilizes homework assignments as part of the therapy and informs the client at the beginning of how long the substance abuse treatment will take. The therapy implements a stoic philosophy, meaning the ability to stay calm in an undesirable situation. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches there is no point in anger over a problem because the anger would only add to the problem. People want as few problems as possible so it is best to choose to remain calm instead of let the situation overcome us. Giving in to anger or distress can cause a relapse, the main reason the patient goes to therapy to begin with.
Two main components make up the CBT sessions: functional analysis and skills training. Functional analysis centers on the therapist and client talking about how they came to this point. What events led up to their current drug and alcohol abuse? Insecurities and fears from their past will be discussed as both student and teacher work together to find a cure. The goal is to establish the roots of the emotions that caused the addiction and acknowledge them. Oftentimes this is a traumatic experience for the patient as it delves in to painful thoughts and feelings. It is also a necessary tool in ensuring the client doesn’t relapse. The detox program is very structured. The patient’s life goals are discussed and it is the job of the therapist to teach the client how to achieve those goals. The therapist is not there to tell you what your life plan is, but rather how to achieve your dreams.
Skills’ training is where the homework aspect of the program comes in. People who come to CBT centers for drug and alcohol rehab have made the substances a part of their everyday life. Therefore, they have to learn new healthier daily habits to take up instead. This is where the training comes in to play. For instance, instead of turning to alcohol when the patient has a bad day, they are encouraged to go outside and exercise. Assignments are given to help them deal with their emotions and find alternate way to work through daily problems. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy makes the patient aware of their substance and alcohol abuse and shows them ways to better their life without medication. CBT is viewed as part of a holistic drug rehab program because it veers away from using medication as a remedy for addiction.
There are numerous centers that practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, from a Florida drug rehab center to an alcohol rehab center in New York. Specialists can be found in cities and countries around the world. Its success has been immense and gives hope to people who feel they cannot find their way back to a healthier life.