Cognitive Behavioural Therapy And Understanding It
CBT is a method used to treat mental illnesses and addiction by addressing negative thoughts and feelings.
Dr. AAron T. Beck in the 1960s founded the Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as a means of treating mental illnesses.
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CBT helps people to fight addiction by helping them to deal with the negative thoughts and feelings behind the addiction.
Today, cognitive behavioural therapy is widely used to treat addictions. Patients undergoing CBT treatment are taught to recognize the triggers in their minds, emotions, and behaviour that lead to them taking the drugs. This makes it easy to work on recovery.
Apart from addiction, CBT is also used for treating co-occurring disorders such as
- State of panic
- Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD]
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Eating disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
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How Cbt Works
CBT clearly shows that a good deal of destructive emotions and actions are neither reasonable nor logical. Our environment and experiences in the past may be the cause of these actions and behaviours.
A recovering user may have certain negative thoughts that automatically come to mind and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help to identify them. An automatic thought is impulse-based; it often comes from misrepresentations and internally generated feelings such as self-doubt and fear. Trying to suppress the pain inflicted by these experiences people self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.
Addicts find it easier to overcome their addiction when they begin to understand why they are acting or feeling in a certain manner and how their feelings and actions are leading them to the use of prohibited substances.
Recovering addicts can soothe the pain caused by distressful memories by repeatedly revisiting them. After that they can learn other, favourable behaviours that will replace those leading to drug or alcohol use.
Dependency Treatment And Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
It is Automatic negative thoughts that are often the major cause of various depressions and anxiety disorders, which commonly occur together with addiction.
A person may be more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs when experiencing these negative thoughts.
It may be hard for a person trying to stop drug addiction to do so when they are in the same environment that led them to that behaviour in the first place. Based on the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBT employs three keys to help those battling addiction resist triggers.
How Cbt Works In Helping Patients Overcome Addiction
- Getting rid of all the negative thought that lead people to addiction.
- Using techniques that are bound to help the patient up boost moral.
- Teaching the individual effective skills at communicating.
The Skills Necessary For Managing Triggers
- Know Them (recognize)
- You need to recognise the things that make you start using the drugs.
- This involves distancing yourself from your triggers as much as possible.
- This involves dealing with the thoughts and feelings that cause you to abuse the substance using methods learnt in CBT.
You can practice CBT behaviour techniques anywhere and everywhere. Patients can do a lot of CBT exercises all by themselves - at a group meeting and at home.
The techniques of CBT are also being used in the SMART programs and other self help groups on addiction.
Techniques Applied In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
In order to help with addiction recovery cognitive behavioural therapists are known to utilise specific exercises.
Some of these practices are
- Evaluation Of Thoughts
- Patients recovering from addiction review their automatic negative thoughts and search for solid evidence that proves and contradicts these thoughts.
- They are required to list the evidence in favour of or against the automatic thoughts and indulge in a comparison and a contrast to the thoughts.
- This helps them eliminate the bad thoughts and stick with the good thoughts.
Example "My manager thinks I'm useless." I need to have a drink to feel better" turns into "It's ok to make mistakes, and I will learn from them. My supervisor may in fact think highly of me for being able to learn from my mistakes. This will lead them to realize that they don't need alcohol to feel better.
- Behavioural Experiments
- By evaluating these thoughts, one gets to understand the better behaviours to follow.
- Some people can better judge themselves while others can complement themselves.
- Behavioural experiments are just about understanding what works best for a particular individual to a situation.
Example "I'm likely to binge drink less if I am hard on myself during and after the binge drinking" vs. "I'll probably have fewer drinks if I am talking to myself kindly after the session of binge drinking."
- Imagery Based Exposure Technique
- Here, the patients are encouraged to remember something bad that happened before that causes them to feel terrible.
- This will involve assessing all the features such as feelings and the responses they had to that particular feeling.
- Frequently by visiting the painful memories a recovering addict can reduce the anxiety caused by the memories over a period of time.
Example A young man emphasises on uncomfortable memories of his childhood. Everything they went through at that time is clear as day to them. Eventually, repeatedly remembering this episode gives him less pain, and he doesn't feel the need to take drugs or drink alcohol to ease this pain.
- Pleasant Activity Program
- This is a technique that is executed by drawing up a schedule of fun yet healthy activities to provide recreation and breaks from the everyday routine.
- The key is to have activities that are uncomplicated and easy to execute while bringing out positive feelings.
- The need to use drugs or alcohol can be reduced with the help of these activities since they will help to curb the negative thoughts that tend to creep up automatically.
Example In the place of drinking or indulging in drugs while working, a worn-out financial advisor unwinds at his desk for quarter an hour daily. They may choose to use that time to listen to some music or read on something interesting.
Difference Between Other Therapies And Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy provides a perfect alternative to less effective and engaging treatment techniques.
The CBT sessions aren't simply about the therapist quietly listening while the patient goes on and on about their lives. The addicts and the therapists will be working with each other to treat the addiction.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is based on action oriented, quick treatment. Most of the 60 - 90 day rehab programs have CBT as a component that equips addicts with immediate techniques to help in coping.
It may takes years to see tangible results with most psychotherapy methods. More often than not, CBT needs 16 meetings to deliver significant results.
CBT therapy can be adapted to make it effective in outpatient or inpatient programs as well as in counselling sessions for groups or an individual. Numerous therapists and addiction treatment centres are commonly including CBT along with the recovery plans which are offered by them.