Author: James Anderson

CBT for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction: Does It Work?

cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction

In short, CBT helps people to challenge the irrational thoughts that cause them to feel miserable. This means that, rather than exploring deeply into your past traumas and childhood experiences, CBT focuses on the problem-at-hand and teaches you the skills to better cope with them. Cognitive behavioral treatments are one of the most frequently evaluated psychosocial approaches to treating substance use disorders. We provide our readers with factual, evidence-based content concerning the causes and nature of addiction, as well as available treatment options. However, this informative content is intended for educational purposes only. It is by no means a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction

The reasons for this are unknown, but if you are addicted to marijuana, then you may be a particularly good candidate for a CBT intervention. You might try Healthline’s FindCare database to search for therapists in your state. You look at your thoughts, such as thinking about the worst case scenario or either-or thinking, and your therapist helps you reframe those thoughts into something healthier and productive. Write down the negative thoughts you might have between therapy sessions and how you replaced them with more positive ones. As you start healthier thoughts and behaviors, you start associating them with healthier emotions, and this can start to become second nature the more you do it. CBT can be very effective for addiction, including how well it can work against your triggers.

In this guide, we’ll talk about what CBT is, how it’s used to treat substance use disorder, and how to figure out whether or not it’s right for you. The primary goals of CBT in the treatment of substance use are to improve motivation, learn new coping skills, change old habits, and learn to better manage painful feelings. Functional analysis is a process in CBT that involves looking at the causes and consequences of a behavior. Working together, the therapist and individual try to identify the thoughts, feelings, and circumstances that led to and followed drinking or using. When you can identify these patterns, you start to work with your therapist on changing your negative thoughts into positive, healthier ones. One of these shown to be beneficial is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor. CBT is unlikely to have any negative side effects, and most therapists use some variation of CBT intervention. Curiously, CBT has been found to be the most effective for cannabis use disorder, or marijuana addiction.

Functional analysis can also give insight into why they drink or use drugs in the first place. People may examine the situations, emotions, and thoughts that played a role in their drug or alcohol use. This helps identify situations in which the person has coping difficulties. CBT is one of many therapies that’s used to treat substance use disorder, and research shows that it works. If you’re ready to break through the prison of addiction and get the help you deserve, then CBT is a great place to start.

Next Steps: How to Get Started With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

It’s also tough to determine if the mental illness or the addiction came first. In essence, cognitive distortions are any pattern of thought we have that isn’t representative of the truth. Cognitive distortions usually make us think negatively; by catching ourselves and challenging these types of thinking patterns, we can relieve painful emotions, like depression or anger. One of the most essential CBT interventions is called cognitive restructuring, or helping people to challenge their irrational thoughts.

Again, there are countless studies proving the effectiveness of CBT, including in the treatment of substance use disorder. CBT as a modern science was developed by psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s. CBT is a way to restructure negative thought patterns and behaviors into healthier ones. It’s changing the way you feel or act toward something by changing how you think about the situation. A co-occurring disorder can be challenging to treat because addiction can worsen mental disorders and vice versa.

  1. Let’s say you’re buying lottery tickets every month, but buying these tickets causes you to come up short for your household bills and groceries.
  2. Online therapy also provides a lot of flexibility if you have a hectic schedule.
  3. CBT, essentially, teaches that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all interconnected.
  4. Many different interventions fall under the general umbrella of CBT, and the following are just a few.
  5. In this guide, we’ll talk about what CBT is, how it’s used to treat substance use disorder, and how to figure out whether or not it’s right for you.
  6. On top of behavioral activation, CBT practitioners also teach patients specific relaxation and problem-solving skills.

Your therapist will gather information from you on your viewpoint, and then will ask questions that challenge that viewpoint. These can be helpful when you have a stressor that causes you to have a craving. In this technique, you look at the whole situation and consider it from multiple angles. Instead of assuming your own thoughts are the truth, you challenge yourself to look at the situation objectively.

Is CBT Covered by Insurance?

If you’re looking for a short-term, efficient therapy, then CBT would be a great option for you. Since CBT has been so well-studied, it’s usually recommended as a frontline treatment. If you’re working toward recovering from addiction, you may receive a variety of different interventions. Because of the immense research supporting its effectiveness, CBT interventions are usually included in this range of options.

cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction

Psychotherapists are commonly trained in CBT interventions, and it shouldn’t be difficult to find a CBT provider near you. One meta-analysis found a moderate effect size across the board for CBT and substance use disorder. With many of these conditions (including depression, OCD, and anxiety disorders), CBT has consistently been found to be the most effective psychotherapy method and is suggested as the frontline treatment. It’s considered the gold standard of treatment because there is no other psychotherapy model that has systematically been proven to be more effective than CBT across the board. CBT helps patients to identify their irrational thinking patterns and consciously work to replace their cognitive distortions with more rational, and helpful, thoughts.

How Effective Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction?

However, it is not the only option out there, so talk to your healthcare provider about what’s available to decide what approach is best for your needs. CBT is the first-line treatment for both depression and anxiety disorders. If you struggle with depression or anxiety on top of substance use disorder, then CBT is likely to be able to help you with your other symptoms. Again, CBT is considered the gold standard in depression and anxiety treatment. Learning how to challenge your negative thoughts should help decrease your depression and anxiety. CBT is one of the most commonly used techniques for almost every mental illness out there, and substance use disorder is no exception.

“CBT is a nice combination of looking at how you think and how you behave. In June 2020, 13 percent of people in the United States either started using substances or increased their use as a way to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Often, CBT has been found to be the most effective when it’s delivered in conjunction with psychiatric medication. Many different interventions fall under the general umbrella of CBT, and the following are just a few. CBT as it’s practiced today is a combination of both Aaron T. Beck and Albert Ellis’ work.

Risa Kerslake is a registered nurse, freelance writer, and mom of two from the Midwest. She specializes in topics related to women’s health, mental health, oncology, postpartum, and fertility content. She enjoys collecting coffee mugs, crocheting, and attempting to write her memoir. Online therapy can be a great option if you have a busy or unpredictable schedule, or want to have sessions from the comfort of your own home. It can help to look back and see how your thought patterns have changed over time. “You have to challenge your beliefs about what is a healthier strategy with your money, for your family, for yourself,” she adds.

Because cognitive behavioral therapy is a structured, goal-oriented educational process focused on immediate problems, the process is usually short term. Although other forms of therapy can be long term and are not time limited, CBT is usually completed in 12 to 16 sessions with the therapist. Another aspect of skills training is helping people learn to better tolerate feelings of distress.