Unmasking Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
The problem of treating addiction and mental illness, which can be a result of unhealthy thoughts and feelings can be addressed by cognitive-behavioural therapy.
In the 1960s Dr. AAron T. Beck founded a type of mental health counselling known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
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They can get over any form of addiction by changing their mentality about it.
CBT is now an internationally accepted mode of treatment for addictions. Through CBT, the patients are shown how to connect their actions to their thoughts and feelings so they can be aware of how these factors are affecting their recovery.
Some of the other behaviours that can be eliminated aside from dependency on drugs include
- ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder [OCD]
- Eating disorders
- PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
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How Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Works
Many harmful actions and emotions which people indulge in do not fall in the rational or the logical category and these actions can be identified by cognitive-behavioural therapy. The nature of the place where a person is living and even their history may play a part in their behaviour.
It is the job of counsellors to help recovering addicts identify their negative feelings and actions, which are also known as "automatic thoughts." Involuntary ideas from a sudden urge and frequently emanates from a mistaken belief and a subconscious way of thinking based on low esteem and fear. It has been observed that many people look forward to be self-medicating themselves to overcome the painful thoughts and feelings with the help of alcohol or by abusing substances.
A person can stop their over dependency on drugs if they identify the thoughts and emotions that lead them to abuse drugs or behaviour in a certain way.
These addiction can be gradually minimised if they address the past experiences and thoughts. The addiction can also be eliminated when these thoughts are substituted with new thought.
Treatment For Addiction 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.
What this says is dark thoughts have a higher possibility of making a person start abusing substances.
How to identify what brings on the urge for the drug or alcohol on a day to day basis. As alleged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBT helps people recovering from addictions deal with their triggers in three main ways.
Cbt Aids People In Overcoming Their Drug Addiction And Alcoholism By
- The false beliefs and insecurity issues that causes substance abuse can be resolved using CBT.
- To improve moods, CBT can provide tools that the recovering user can employ on their own.
- Training people how to speak up about their feelings to others.
The Skills Necessary For Managing Triggers
- Know the things that create an urge to use drugs or alcohol.
- Avoid The Triggers
- Stay away from places and situations that make you want to drink or take the drugs.
- Cope With Triggers
- Apply the CBT skills you have learned to sort through your thoughts and emotions to beat the urge to indulge.
The techniques provided by the cognitive-behavioural therapists can be practiced beyond the office of the therapist. CBT patients can use the techniques at home, office or join a support group.
Support groups for addiction such as Self-Management And Recovery Training [SMART] are also incorporating CBT principles within their self-help exercises as an encouragement for continued sobriety.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Practices
Therapists that practice CBT use special exercises to facilitate addiction recovery.
CBT methods that are important in treating addiction include
- Keeping Thought Records
- The patients are encouraged to stop and evaluate their thoughts see if they are worth keeping them or if they are better discarded.
- The patients make a list of advantages and disadvantages of keeping or discarding the thoughts.
- The idea is that by critically evaluating your thoughts, you will be able to have thoughts that are less harsh and are more rational.
An example is "My supervisor thinks and worthless. I feel better when I drink, I'll take a drink right now " becomes " it is okay to make mistakes as now I know what not to do. My manager will appreciate that I am learning from my mistakes and heeding his or her advice. I do not need alcohol to get a better feeling of myself.
- Behavioural Experiments
- Exercises of this kind contrast negative and positive thoughts against each other in order to see which ones are more effective in changing the patient's behaviour.
- Some patients better respond to self-kindness; others - to self-criticism.
- One needs to identify the behaviours that work best with them.
Example " "If I talk kindly to myself after binge drinking, I'll binge drink less." vs "If I'm hard on myself after binge drinking, I'll binge drink less."
- Imagery Based Exposure
- The people can overcome their feelings by thinking of a past experience that was unpleasant.
- They capture their every emotion, sight, sound, impulse and thought they felt at that moment.
- 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 guy focuses on some painful experience from his childhood. He recollects every information and feeling during that time. The more he replays it in his mind, the less painful it is and this leads to a lower need to indulge in alcohol and drugs as a way of self medication.
- Pleasant Activity Plan
- 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 tasks included should encourage positive emotions while being uncomplicated and easy to perform.
- Planning the positive activities contributes to the reduction of negative feelings being generated and a resultant urge to indulge in drinking or drug use.
Example A financial advisor working in a high stress environment can take 15 minutes off the job to do something relaxing instead of turning to alcohol or drugs when overwhelmed. He utilises that moment to get and appreciate a fresh song from a new singer.
Difference Between Other Therapies And Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
As compared to some therapies which do not offer a set of engaging activities, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will provide an hands-on alternative.
Addicts in treatment are expected to go beyond just talking to the therapist during the CBT sitting and the therapist is not just a passive listener. The therapist and addict are instead expected to treat the addiction by working hand in hand.
Focused and quick treatment that is based on actions is what Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is all about. A number of 60 to 90-day rehabilitation programs also include CBT within the package to provide people an opportunity to learn instant coping techniques.
It has been observed that some techniques of psychotherapy can take many years before a strong impact is seen. More often than not, CBT needs 16 meetings to deliver significant results.
Cognitive behavioural therapy techniques are also very flexible, which makes them well usable for treatment both in a clinic and on outpatient basis, and CBT can be applied both during individual counselling and in groups. A lot of rehabilitation facilities and addiction therapists use CBT as a part of their treatment programs.