CBT for Substance Abuse

Many forms of talk therapy are effective in treating substance use disorders, mental illnesses, and general emotional issues. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most well-known and successful talk therapies, and it is one of many offered at one of Sana Lake Recovery’s treatment centers. CBT has been studied extensively, and it has become a successfully proven method to treat substance abuse.

If you are considering enrolling in an addiction therapy program after you complete medical detox, and need help choosing one that best fits your needs, here is some more information on how to effectively receive treatment.

What is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is a type of counseling used to treat addiction (alcohol, opioids, cocaine, heroin, etc.), and has also shown to be a useful treatment for a variety of other cognitive and emotional issues, including depression, anxiety disorders, marital issues, and eating disorders. CBT has been shown in numerous peer-reviewed studies to increase functioning and quality of life. CBT is as successful as, if not more effective than, other forms of psychotherapy for drug abuse.

It’s vital to note that CBT has progressed as a result of both research and therapeutic experience. CBT emphasizes helping individuals learn to be their therapists. Through exercises in the session as well as “homework” exercises outside of sessions, patients/clients go through skills training to learn how to develop life and coping skills, that they can use to change their thinking, problematic emotions, and behavior. This will promote optimal addiction recovery.

To maximize the success of a person’s treatment, CBT therapists like to emphasize what is going on in the person’s current life, rather than only focusing on what has led up to their difficulties. A certain amount of information about one’s history is needed, but the focus is primarily on moving forward in time to develop more effective ways of coping with life.

Benefits of CBT Techniques

Since CBT is a short-term therapy, it can help members deal with life challenges quickly and effectively. It is also structured, which is good for people who like routines. It can also treat many different substance use disorders and mental health issues. CBT can help you overcome trauma related to sexual or domestic abuse, and it can also teach you how to positively manage your emotions. People who have completed CBT have learned how to cope with medical conditions or the loss of a loved one, and they’ve also been able to treat mental illness when medication hasn’t worked.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been known to treat the following conditions:

It’s important to know how the different types of therapies and treatment programs operate so that you and your doctor can choose which one works best for suiting your unique needs.

How Does CBT for Substance Abuse Work?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy operates through brief, structured sessions that are meant to help you identify negative or inaccurate emotions that are hindering how you view situations. Unlike psychotherapy, CBT looks at principles from cognitive and behavioral psychology, focusing more on specific problems, negative thought patterns, and addictive behaviors rather than the unconscious meaning behind them. It aims to replace “unproductive” thoughts with more helpful and productive ones. This way, you’ll be able to look at difficult situations clearly and respond to them more effectively.

To better explain how the cognitive-behavioral approach works, we’ll share a quote from Donald Meichenbaum, one of the founders of CBT: “[We ask] ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions. ‘Why’ questions are not very productive.” Instead of asking why you feel a certain way about a situation, your CBT therapist will focus on your current behaviors and thoughts. For example, if you fear heights, you’ll learn how to lessen your fear of them.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is known as a short-term drug addiction treatment, completed in anywhere from 5-to 20 treatment sessions. You’ll determine with your counselor how many sessions will be beneficial for you. This will usually depend on how fast you progress in therapy, how much support you have from loved ones, how much stress you have, how severe your symptoms are, and how long you’ve been dealing with your conditions.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Principles of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

The exact course of a person’s CBT varies, depending on their symptoms and circumstances. As part of addiction treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy usually follows four core principles:

These may range from grief, divorce, a career change, or having a medical condition or mental illness. Talk with your therapist about which treatment goals and situations you want to focus on.

After you have pinpointed which life situations you want to focus on, your mental health counselor will ask you how you feel about them. Your discussion may involve how you interpret the meaning of a situation, your beliefs about yourself and others, and looking closer at your “self-talk,” or what you tell yourself about an event or occurrence.

At this point, your counselor will most likely ask you to closely observe your behaviors and ways of thinking toward these situations. This is done so that you can recognize which thought patterns may be part of your problem.

This step is probably the hardest since you might have been thinking the same way about things for a long time. Once you have identified your behavioral and thought patterns, your counselor will ask you whether these views are based on fact or just an incorrect perception of each situation. It’s going to take a lot of practice to change how you perceive conditions and problems. Over time, more helpful ways of thinking will come naturally to you.

What Does CBT for Substance Use Disorder Involve?

While you are in CBT, your counselors will assign you homework in between sessions. For CBT to be successful, you must do these homework assignments so that you can apply what you’ve learned outside of therapy. A standard CBT assignment during treatment can include:

  • Keeping a journal of your emotions and thoughts
  • Reading a book that relates to your situations
  • Completing a worksheet that focuses on a certain area of growth
  • Practicing relaxation exercises
  • Looking for real-world situations in which you can apply your new way of thinking

If someone has depression, they may have negative “self-talk” in which they criticize themselves often. Homework for this person might include practicing “thought stopping,” in which he or she internally yells “Stop!” whenever a negative thought crosses the mind. Afterward, they direct their thoughts to something more positive, like meditating or a motivational quote. This may be practiced every day until the following treatment session.

Good Candidates for CBT for Substance Abuse in Missouri

People who are suffering from substance abuse and other mental health conditions cognitive-behavioral therapy. However, even though there are many benefits to cognitive-behavioral therapy, it might not work for everyone. Addiction treatment is not one-size-fits-all, because individuals have unique needs. Certain people may require different kinds of treatment, as it depends on the situation.

Some people may want longer therapy sessions with deeper thinking and insight. Be honest with your counselor if you feel like CBT is not a good solution for you. Those who also have self-discipline and can complete homework outside of sessions might also find CBT beneficial.

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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy vs. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): What’s the Difference?

Although CBT and dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT) have similar names, they are somewhat different forms of treatment. DBT is a branch of CBT and it enhances the latter’s effectiveness. These behavioral strategies are different.

While this behavioral therapy focuses on a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, DBT looks at how a person interacts with others in relationships and different environments. Counselors who practice cognitive therapy feel that some people react more intensely than the average person does.

Another component of DBT that sets it apart from CBT is its use of group sessions. DBT was originally designed to specifically treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it is now used for the treatment of substance use disorder, and a variety of mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and other cognitive distortions.

How to Get the Most Out of Your CBT Session

Some forms of psychotherapy focus on looking into the past to understand current feelings. Instead, CBT focuses on being in the present and generating present thoughts and beliefs. It also emphasizes the need to identify, challenge, and change how a person views a situation. During CBT treatment sessions, a person can learn to:

  • Develop an awareness of conscious, unhelpful thoughts
  • Challenge underlying assumptions that may be unhelpful
  • Distinguish fact from fiction
  • Develop a more helpful way of seeing situations from another perspective
  • Finding the best ways to enhance motivation and generate positive emotions

If people learn fearful or unhelpful ways of thinking, they can start to think in this way automatically. CBT focuses on challenging these automatic thoughts and comparing them with reality. Coping skills are taught to help combat real-life situations easier.

CBT aims to transform any ways of thinking and behaving that stand in the way of how a person would like to live their life free from substance use and negative thoughts due to poor mental health. After all, it’s this type of therapy’s job to identify negative perceptions or distortions that are affecting behavior, such as drug abuse.

A distorted view can make a person more susceptible to:

  • Poor choices and behaviors (Substance use, bad decision-making)
  • A negative mindset
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Mistakenly seeing situations as catastrophic
  • Seeing things as black and white, meaning either good or bad, with nothing in between

When a person comes to view a particular situation more helpfully, their distress decreases, and they can then make better decisions that are more likely to serve them long-term. Here are some ways to get the most out of your behavioral therapy and overall treatment plan.

Any kind of therapy, including CBT, is only as good as you make it. You will get as much out of it as you and your counselor put into it. Your success in CBT depends on how willing you are to share thoughts and feelings in your sessions. However, it’s normal to feel insecure about opening up to your counselor since it might bring up painful emotions. You may also be afraid of how they’ll react to hearing about certain events in your life. If you ever feel like this, let your counselor know if you’re hesitant to share.

Success doesn’t happen overnight. It can be difficult to confront deep-seated emotional issues, and it takes hard work and self-reflection. Don’t be surprised if you only start to see progress after several CBT sessions.

You may want to skip therapy sessions if you feel like progress isn’t being made sooner, but you shouldn’t. Missing sessions will certainly detract from your progress. By attending CBT regularly, you’ll be able to give thought to what you want to talk about.

Your counselor assigns you homework between sessions so that you apply what you learned in your sessions to real life. Make sure you complete your assignments so that you can keep up with treatment, and continue to make progress in your recovery journey.

You and your counselor are working together to get you to a better place mentally. When the two of you share in your decision-making process, your CBT will be more effective. Make sure you and your counselor are on the same page in terms of what issues you want to work on. By doing this, you can both observe your progress together and set common goals for recovery.

Although CBT has helped many people overcome emotional issues, this form of treatment isn’t right for everyone. If after several sessions you feel like this method of therapy isn’t getting you anywhere, let your counselor know. This is why it’s so important, to be honest. You can find a different practice that may be better suited for your mental health needs.

At our treatment centers, by giving your all to CBT, you’ll be able to see better results and get the most out of your sessions.

Is CBT for Substance Abuse Covered by Insurance in Missouri?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is generally covered by insurance. ACA requires insurance firms to provide coverage for mental disorders and substance use disorders, as well as insurance for medical and surgical procedures. However, different plans are offered by various providers for the specific carrier. For more info regarding your coverage, contact our admissions team.

cbt for substance abuse

Learn More About Sana Lake CBT Treatment Center in Missouri

At Sana Lake Recovery Center in Missouri, our mental health services and addiction treatment programs have proven to be an effective treatment. We have many cognitive-behavioral therapists who are highly trained in providing treatment for addictive behaviors and mental health conditions.

This type of psychotherapy has been known to help treat maladaptive behavioral patterns, assist in relapse prevention, and teach people various coping skills to learn how to reduce and avoid triggers.

Once you complete your detox here, CBT will be one of the therapy options available to you. If you are ready to seek change in your life and break the cycle of substance addiction, contact one of our representatives at one of our treatment centers today. When you come to Sana Lake, you’ll find yourself again.