How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help Recovering Addicts?

The River Source offers a wide range of treatments, including holistic therapies and evidence-based practices, or EBPs. Evidence-based treatment has been studied by the scientific community and has proven to be effective in multiple studies. Examples of EBPs include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and 12 Step Facilitation Therapy (TSF). By offering many forms of therapy, we are able to build individualized treatment plans for each patient.

Today we will talk about CBT and how this type of therapy can help you or a loved one in recovery. Some therapies are optional, but Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is highly recommended for all recovering addicts, as you’ll soon learn why.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that changes your beliefs, thought patterns and attitudes. The motive for changing these thought patterns is because they are believed to be unhealthy and at the root of destructive behaviors.

At The River Source, our counselors start by identifying the thoughts and belief systems that are influencing your behaviors. Once you have identified the link between your attitude and your behavior, you and your counselor will come up with a plan for handling these types of situations. In your plan will be action steps and practical goals.

Over time, you’ll apply these changes to your life and respond in a more positive and constructive way to stressful situations. CBT can also help treat co-occurring conditions that you might be suffering with, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. As you learn to approach situations differently, you won’t feel the need to engage in self-destructive behavior.

How CBT Can Help with Stressful Situations

Let’s look at an example of how CBT might play out in the real world.

Anna suffers from depression and alcohol addiction. She was raised in a verbally abusive home, which has resulted in her feeling anxious, depressed and worthless in her adult life. To cope with these feelings, Anna abuses alcohol.

When Anna is criticized at work, she automatically thinks that she’s not good enough. Rather than taking the criticism constructively, her thoughts of being worthless and incapable lead to physical and emotional effects. As a result, Anna avoids contact with people at work, and goes home to drink by herself.

When Anna participates in CBT, she identifies her destructive thought patterns and why they keep leading her to drink. Her therapist helps her to see that she is not worthless and that she should look at the criticism in a healthy way. When applied, these critiques can help her grow in the workplace and perform better.

The next time when Anna is at work and receives constructive criticism, she takes it positively and doesn’t suffer the same emotional and physical effects. Her job performance gradually improves, helping her self-confidence, and she develops better relationships with her coworkers.

CBT is Part of an Overall Treatment Plan

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on its own is not enough to treat addiction, but it is part of a healthy treatment plan. As you or a loved one recovers from addiction, it’s important to make changes that will prevent the return to substance abuse. Sobriety, as we now know, is more than stopping the use of drugs and alcohol. You must also free yourself from negative thinking and destructive behavior. CBT facilitates this.

The River Source offers numerous evidence-based treatments and is happy to discuss them with you. Call us today to learn more about CBT and how it can help you or a loved one.