Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most frequently used treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction and dependence. It was originally developed as a treatment for alcoholics but soon was expanded into a program that is helpful to almost every type of addiction syndrome and every recovering individual. Though it is not for everyone, it is one of the most successful and easily applicable programs for addiction treatment currently available.
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What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of behavioral therapy program that is effective for almost all drug and alcohol addiction syndromes. It can be useful for both adult patients and adolescents. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the strategies associated with cognitive behavioral therapy are meant to help patients relearn the tactics for staying sober in their recoveries as well as better life skills for the future.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective program because it can so easily be molded to the needs of the specific patient and their addiction syndrome. Not only is it known for being able to treat addiction to alcohol, marijuana, meth, nicotine, and stimulants, it can also treat those with co-occurring mental disorders, as it can be modified to deal with both issues at the same time.
How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?
Cognitive behavioral therapy works in several ways to help patients develop beneficial behavioral practices and unlearn maladaptive patterns. The program is focused intensely on the learning processes of the human brain.
- Strategies used in cognitive behavioral therapy include learning to identify problematic behaviors using hypothetical scenarios and following them to their conclusions. When a patient considers how they might react in a certain situation, they can see the consequences of those actions and learn how to act differently for a better outcome.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is highly focused on self-control. Patients learn relaxation and control techniques to be able to cope with issues like cravings out in the world.
- Patients also learn to recognize their triggers, which are people, places, objects, and anything else that might lead them to relapse. Then, they learn how to avoid these triggers or, if they cannot be avoided, how to deal with them in a safe way that does not lead to relapse.
- Patients must learn to self-monitor in cognitive behavioral therapy, an act that asks them to check in with themselves and ask if they are doing all right. If they are not, it forces them to recognize the issue instead of ignoring it.
- Patients and their counselors also discuss the benefits and drawbacks that could come with continued drug abuse. It might feel good for a moment, but the patient is asked to consider what would happen afterward to their health, their professional and personal lives, and the other aspects of their wellbeing.
- Anger management and emotion regulation are also essential parts of this recovery program, especially for adolescents.
- All of these lessons can also be applied to those coping with mental illnesses, which is why cognitive behavioral therapy is so effective for addiction treatment. Many people are diagnosed with both addiction and mental disorders like depression, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia. These issues must be treated simultaneously with addiction or one disorder could possibly derail the progress of the other.
Over time, the patient is able to learn to better control their emotions and their reactions to negative stimuli. When an individual starts using drugs, they learn that drug abuse makes them feel a certain way, and as they continue to use more and more, this changes the way their brain works. Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to reverse this change.
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When Should Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Start?
Cognitive behavioral therapy can often start as soon as the patient is feeling well enough to be able to focus on the program. Sometimes, it can start as early as during detox treatment. This can be helpful, as it will make the transition from detox to addiction treatment much easier on the individual.
Some people who start out in detox, however, may need to become stabilized before they can begin cognitive behavioral therapy. For example, individuals with drug-induced psychosis caused by stimulant abuse may need a few weeks of stabilization before they can focus easily on such an intellectually demanding program.
How Long Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Last?
Cognitive behavioral therapy usually requires at least 16 sessions in order for patients to see favorable results. Often, longer treatment times are required. For those in detox, the therapy sessions may last as long as their program. Cognitive behavioral therapy can last as long as necessary in order to produce beneficial results, but it is difficult to determine how long the program should be for each individual without the proper assessment of that person.
According to a study published in the medical journal of the Psychiatric Clinics of North America, many different drug-addicted and dependent individuals were studied who received cognitive behavioral therapy interventions over different periods of time. Almost all the individuals saw at least some benefits when it came to their overall recoveries.
Where Can I Find Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
You can find cognitive behavioral therapy programs in most detox and rehab facilities. After all, it is one of the most common treatments for addiction recovery. Most facilities will provide at least some sort of cognitive behavioral program, although the specifics may change with the facility, the patient, and their substance use disorder. You should be very likely to find a treatment center that offers this type of recovery program near you.
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Are you looking for a detox center that offers evidence-based practices like medication and behavioral therapy in your area? Let us help you find the best option for your current needs when you call 800-483-2193 today.