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Treating Substance Misuse Disorders with CBT

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been around since the late 1940s, and it is an evidence-based treatment for addiction to drugs, alcohol, and other substances designed to help people change their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and live a happy life in recovery.

Ever wondered what CBT is? Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be the most effective treatment option for substance misuse disorders. It teaches new skills to cope with life’s challenges and provides a supportive environment in which change is possible!

Read more on our blog about how using CBT can help those in need recover from addiction.

What is CBT

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of mental psychotherapy. Primarily used as an effective treatment for depression, anxiety disorders, and some personality disorders. CBT focuses on how people think about themselves and their world and react to those thoughts or feelings.  

In addition to treating mental health issues, CBT can help address alcoholism, drug addiction, and other related problems. A therapist will use many different tools with their patients, including homework assignments, journals, and thought records. Learning new skills through these methods helps individuals change negative thinking into more productive thoughts, reducing stress levels and improving overall moods. 

Traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has three essential components:

  1. Identify problematic beliefs.
  2. Work on changing how one feels about those beliefs.
  3. Learn new ways of behaving in response to these new thoughts and feelings.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be used as a stand-alone intervention or combined with pharmacotherapy treatments such as medications or detoxification programs. 

CBT also includes motivational interventions designed to increase motivation by helping people set goals for themselves based on their values and strengths rather than what they hope to achieve all in one go.

When used with motivational interviewing (MI), CBT can act as an effective form of treatment for addiction by addressing head-on the underlying issues that contribute to substance abuse and continued use despite adverse consequences. 

The goal is not just abstinence but recovery from substance dependence, so it’s essential to address these factors head-on rather than avoiding them.

How does CBT work?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment that can help people with addiction, anxiety, and other mental health issues. CBT also includes motivational interventions which are designed to provide structure and support for the individual. 

One component of CBT that has shown high rates of success is motivational interventions. These may consist of verbal and written components such as goal setting sheets or self-monitoring charts and are often used with cognitive techniques like thought-stopping strategies, positive self-talk, and visualization exercises. 

By combining these therapy styles, healthcare professionals provide those suffering from addiction with skills necessary to cope with triggers and prevent relapse once they have been clean for some time.

The more motivated an individual feels about their goals, the better they will be at sticking to them during recovery from substance abuse or a mental illness brought on by addiction.

Benefits of CBT for substance misuse disorders

The act of confronting self-defeating beliefs is the first step in building a strong foundation for addiction recovery. Strong beliefs will allow an individual to gain healthier levels of self-awareness and esteem, which are essential qualities during recovery or long periods without drugs or alcohol abuse.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be used as an adjunct therapy for those already in treatment for addiction, or practitioners can use it alone. It has been found to improve outcomes for people who have habits or addictive personalities.  

As the benefits of CBT become more well-known, there is increased demand from patients to use this technique in conjunction with other treatments like medication-assisted therapy (MAT). 

The American Psychological Association (APA) now recommends CBT as the first line of treatment when dealing with substance abuse disorders as the benefits outweigh any negatives.

Limitations of CBT for substance misuse disorders

CBT focuses on helping people identify negative thought processes and adaptive skills for dealing with stressors. This treatment has limited effectiveness in treating substance misuse disorders, including marijuana, because there’s not enough research devoted to its long-term side effects over time (which makes it unsuitable).

Consultation with a healthcare professional is crucial for getting the most out of your treatment plan. We should all be consulting our providers. After all, advice from someone who knows what they’re doing can help make things better!

Steps to implement a successful treatment plan with CBT

One of the vital aspects of CBT, which sets it apart from other methods, is that the individual must be actively involved in their recovery process. Being active means they are responsible for coming up with goals and objectives and mapping out a plan of action. 

The individual can take specific steps to create an effective treatment plan: 

  • Be accountable – take responsibility for your actions and decisions
  • Participate in self-reflection – think about how your choices affect you and others 
  • Become mindful – pay attention to what you’re feeling or thinking at any given moment
  • Take on new challenges – challenge yourself to succeed
  • Learn coping skills
  • Understand how to deal with triggers
  • Know that being sober is a lifelong choice

It’s essential to understand what the treatment involves to get the most out of any treatment plan the healthcare professional suggests.

CBT has helped countless people get clean and stay that way. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps individuals change their thoughts about substances, which will lead them down a healthier path of life with less use or an end to it altogether!