What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy And Do I Need It?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps you identify and change negative thinking and behavior patterns. It is based on the belief that your own thoughts affect how you feel, not those of other people or external circumstances. There are many mental health conditions that CBT can be effective in treating, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and more. You may benefit from working with a therapist who specializes in CBT if you struggle with any of these issues.

Considering CBT as a treatment option for mental health conditions is a smart idea. You can learn skills that will continue to benefit you long after therapy is over. This is an effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions. However, it’s helpful to remember that CBT is not a magic cure-all — it’s just one tool that may or may not be helpful for you, depending on your unique situation. When you decide to try CBT, talk to a therapist who has experience with it.

How Effective is CBT for Drug and Alcohol Addiction?

You may be able to achieve sobriety and overcome your addiction with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Through the teaching of effective skills to manage cravings and make healthy choices, cognitive behavioral therapy helps you change negative thinking and behavior patterns.

In addition to being an effective addiction treatment, CBT can be tailored to fit your specific needs. As part of CBT, you’ll work with a therapist to identify triggers and develop coping strategies. Additionally, you will learn to identify and change negative thinking patterns that contribute to your addiction. To find a qualified therapist in your area, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. As part of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan, CBT can be delivered in individual or group sessions.

Exactly How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

You will work with a therapist during cognitive behavioral therapy sessions to identify the thoughts and behaviors that keep you trapped in addiction. The therapy usually lasts 10 to 20 weeks. As part of cognitive behavioral therapy, you will learn how to recognize distorted thinking patterns or thought distortions as well as how to manage cravings and stress. A negative way of thinking can lead to unhealthy behaviors if you experience thought distortions. A person with an addiction might think, “I need alcohol to have fun.” Identifying this thought distortion can help you challenge it and replace it with a more realistic one, such as “I can have fun without drinking.”

CBT generally focuses on three main areas:

  • Thoughts: You can respond realistically and helpfully to negative and distorted thinking patterns with CBT.
  • Emotions: When you have negative thinking patterns, it can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, and shame. CBT helps you better understand and manage your emotions when you have negative thinking patterns.
  • Behavior: Thoughts and emotions also influence your behavior. If you’re depressed or anxious, you might engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking alcohol or overeating. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you cope with stress and difficult situations in a more positive way.

What is a CBT Session Like?

Typically, cognitive behavioral therapy lasts between 50 minutes and an hour. You may also be given homework assignments to help you practice the skills you’re learning in therapy if longer sessions are required. You will work with the therapist to identify and change distressing thinking patterns and behaviors.

You and your therapist will collaboratively set goals for treatment and identify what progress you’d like to see. Several mental health conditions can be effectively treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, and others.

Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Scientifically Proven?

There have been numerous studies dating back to 2012 that found cognitive behavioral therapy to be as effective in treating alcohol abuse and dependence as medication. The same review found cognitive behavioral therapy to be effective in treating other types of substance abuse, including nicotine dependence and cocaine addiction.

People who received cognitive behavioral therapy for drug or alcohol abuse were less likely to relapse than those who received no treatment at all, according to researchers. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy was found to be more effective than medication in preventing relapse among alcohol addicts.

Please call our counselors at 833-820-2922 if you have questions about whether cognitive behavioral therapy is right for your particular issue or if you would like more information about how it works.