Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Suppose you or a loved one is dealing with addiction or another dependency issue that you can’t seem to handle or treat on your own. In that case, you might have started looking into rehabilitation centers for addiction to see your options.

As part of your research, you like came across the term CBT. CBT is known as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Many programs that strive to cut addictive dependencies from a person’s life will include CBT as part of the treatment plan, typically alongside other therapy sessions, counseling, and – potentially – medication meant to curb dependency.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy attempts to teach a patient the best ways to deal with whatever internal trauma is driving them to default to addictive substances. 

For example, if a male patient abuses alcohol and their father – who they hated – also abused alcohol, cognitive behavioral therapy is meant to unearth the connection between these two facts to help the patient realize that their trauma is related to their father.

From there, the patient will be taught tools that will allow them to understand and look deeper into their trauma so that they can start to heal from it.

Alongside the counseling and potential medication, the patient will begin to learn and stop themselves from automatically reaching for that harmful substance when they feel low or need it.

The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to help the patient stop looking at the past, and it will allow them to look ahead at the future and what they can do going forward.

CBT Is Based On Several Core Principles

Before you naysay CBT as a possible benefit for curbing addiction or dealing with specific mental issues, it may help you understand that CBT is based on an evolution of several core scientific and well-researched principles.

These principles come from an understanding that:

  • When it comes to psychological problems, they’re typically based on incorrect or even unhelpful/detrimental ways of thinking
  • For most people, psychological problems are largely based on learned behavior, either from parents, society, or life experiences
  • Because these psychological problems have very specific triggers and ways of manifesting, a patient can learn better methods to deal with their issues instead of having to just accept them as a detrimental part of their life

There are several methods that a patient may try on their CBT journey to fix their addiction.

Mental Health Disorders That May Improve With CBT

However, CBT isn’t just helpful for dependency issues.

Although it is mainly specific to the individual and the severity of their ailment, primary research made over decades has proved that there is a correlation between CBT and increasing positive effects for specific disorders.

Some of these disorders are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD
  • Other psychotic ailments

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works in a few different ways.

At the core of this therapy, CBT works to try and help the patient figure out new ways of thinking when dealing with trauma or issues in their lives.

It tries to help them come up with new lines of thinking so that they don’t fall into the same patterns that may have led them to their addiction in the first place.

Some of the strategies to realign how the patient’s brain works might be:

  • Helping the patient figure out what is triggering for them or what delusions they might be suffering from and reevaluating them objectively to see if there’s any truth in these thoughts
  • Helping the patient to understand how their behavior might be out of sync with the truth of the world and how they can try and objectively see themselves as others see them
  • Coming up with tactics that will help the patient hone their problem-solving skills so that they can learn to mentally cope with situations they might find difficult (either in the past or in the present)
  • Helping the patient to face any fears that might be holding them back and preventing them from healing/might be triggering their issues
  • Teaching the patient how to relax (internally and externally) so that they won’t be so wound tight all the time and so that they can focus on what they can do better rather than what they’ve already done wrong

What To Expect With CBT?

When it comes to CBT, everyone’s experience will be different. Having said that, it can be very beneficial to have a semblance of an idea of what will happen.

When you’re preparing to have sessions that will include CBT, you should be aware that you will likely do a lot of talking and soul-searching. You will probably have to unearth past traumas and relive them at that moment, trying to find ways to handle your demons.

It will likely be extremely mentally taxing with most therapies, so be aware that you might experience some emotional upheaval in the days following the session.

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy isn’t just beneficial in the moment of crisis or in helping to deal with trauma. However, once you understand some of the skills inherent with CBT, you will have those tools in your toolset. 

If you end up coming across traumas down the road, you’ll be better equipped to handle them, which will help you remove yourself from triggering situations faster. 

Suppose you’re able to look at a traumatic situation and already know how to navigate your way out of it. In that case, it should allow you to stay away from the behavioral patterns that may have initially led a patient to their addiction.

Effectiveness of CBT

Across the board, CBT has proven to be a very effective form of treatment for various mental illnesses and for combating triggers that might lead recovering patients towards relapse. When it comes to non-invasive therapies, CBT is quite hard to beat.

It’s a versatile form of therapy that will evoke different responses in different patients, but because it’s so malleable, it’s possible to be unique and beneficial to each person.

Get Started With CBT at North Star Treatment Services

If CBT seems like a type of treatment that you might be interested in for you or your loved ones, you should consider checking out our services at North Star Treatment. We’re here with an elite team of members who want to help you settle onto the road to recovery.

It can be hard to handle a problem – mental or physical – on your own, and as such, there’s no shame in reaching out for outside help. Here at North Star Treatments, we are that outside help, and we want to help you.

Resources:

  1. https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4219061/