Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT is an established method of helping patients in drug addiction treatment to identify self-defeating thoughts and actions in order for them to make the necessary changes for effective recovery.

Before a treatment plan is devised for each individual entering drug rehab, a full assessment of their psychological, physical and emotional health needs to be undertaken. Everybody is different when it comes to addiction, with their own set of circumstances behind developing issues with drugs or alcohol. For that reason, it is essential to create a tailor-made drug rehabilitation program that addresses the specific challenges facing each patient and in many cases, this can include CBT.

The Benefits of CBT

People struggling with addiction issues commonly have negative thinking patterns that serve to perpetuate the problem. CBT directly addresses these harmful thought processes and allows patients to recognize their own ability to change the way they think and react to stressors while regulating distressing emotions and harmful actions.

Ultimately, CBT encourages patients to be more present in the moment and to increase their sense of self-awareness. This kind of therapy is also problem-focused and goal-directed and offers several benefits, including:

  • CBT explores the belief systems that direct negative thoughts and behaviors, getting to the root of the problem as a catalyst for change
  • Patients and therapists work together to identify negative thought processes and patterns and actively seek to change them
  • CBT can be provided either in individual or group therapy and provides a solid foundation for recovery once treatment has been completed.
  • Patients are given assignments to augment CBT sessions, whether inpatient or outpatient which helps to underpin the radical changes patients have to embrace for successful recovery
  • CBT arms patients with the tools and coping mechanisms to assist them with relapse prevention in recovery

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) — Treatment Definition

According to the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI), cognitive therapies differ from traditional treatments in that they require input from both therapist and patient. CBT is an active intervention for people struggling with addiction and because it is problem-focused and goal-directed, patients are able to face their challenges head-on and through their own abilities. Through the exploration of negative thoughts that are behind self-destructive behaviors, it is much more possible to modify those negative patterns to improve an individual’s ability to cope following drug rehab.

Features of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Although everyone has their own unique set of needs and requirements when entering into a drug rehab center, treatment programs generally last anything from 30-days through to 90-days and beyond. The important thing is to use CBT for as long as is required to incorporate behavioral changes and more positive thought processes into someone’s daily life and for some this is harder to achieve than others.

CBT is particularly useful in cases of dual diagnosis, where someone is struggling with addiction issues and a mental health disorder at the same time. Dual diagnosis patients often have extremely complex issues underlying addiction and may have developed self-destructive behaviors that are chronic and deep-rooted. CBT is enormously beneficial in these cases because of the better understanding a patient is given of how negative thoughts direct the way they behave.

There are a number of important factors that have to be taken into consideration before using CBT including:

  • CBT is a relatively short-term treatment that is time-limited and not open-ended. Patients learn the skills they need to help themselves in recovery.
  • It is highly effective and there is solid empirical support behind it together with numerous clinical trials that have proven CBT’s efficacy.
  • CBT is a structured and direct approach to addiction treatment and every session has a specific agenda and techniques for each patient for a completely formalized approach. The focus of this type of therapy is very much on the patient’s needs rather than the therapist’s beliefs.
  • Despite being a structured approach, CBT is also inherently flexible so that it is effective in the different environments of individual and group sessions in a drug rehab center.
  • CBT is a collaborative effort between patient and therapist that allows patients to identify their personal goals and the therapist to assist in achieving them.