CBT for Substance Abuse

Substance abuse treatment programs are made out of different addiction therapies. Arguably the most common and vital addiction therapy used in substance abuse treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT for substance abuse. 

What is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on changing one’s negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors into positive ones. When it comes to CBT for substance abuse, the focus is altering one’s negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors when faced with addiction triggers. That way people in addiction recovery can make their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors more positive. 

By changing the negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that people that suffer from substance addiction experience when faced with addiction triggers, those individuals will be less likely to exhibit the negative behavior of using substances to cope. 

Components of CBT for Substance Abuse

There are two key components of CBT for substance abuse. These two components are functional analysis and skills training. 

Functional Analysis

The functional analysis component of CBT for substance abuse focuses on figuring out what people’s addiction triggers. That way the therapist can figure out what are the best ways for rehab patients to manage their addiction triggers. This, in turn, will help those individuals abstain from substance abuse. 

Skills Training

Individuals in CBT for substance abuse practice their coping mechanisms through skills training. It’s often very difficult to alter one’s negative thoughts, emotions, and behavior patterns. This is especially true if one wants to maintain those changes long-term. Thus, through skills training, individuals in CBT for substance abuse can help ensure that they are capable of easily changing their negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors when in the face of addiction triggers. 

What Are the Different Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

There are various forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Some of the different forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy are described below.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

One of the main forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Dialectical behavior therapy focuses on accepting one’s negative thoughts and emotions. That way individuals don’t have the power to cause someone to exhibit negative behaviors such as abusing substances. Accepting one’s negative thoughts and emotions is also supposed to make it easier to change them into positive thoughts and emotions. 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is another form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. This form of CBT focuses on accepting one’s negative thoughts and emotions. The key difference between ACT and DBT though is that ACT utilizes mindfulness practices to help individuals accept their negative thoughts and emotions. 

By utilizing mindfulness exercises, individuals can more easily alter their negative thoughts and emotions into positive ones. In doing this, people are less likely to exhibit negative behaviors such as substance abuse. 

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Rational emotive behavior therapy helps individuals focus on recognizing when their thoughts and beliefs about themselves are irrational. This is helpful as negative, irrational thoughts and beliefs about oneself can cause a person to exhibit negative emotions and behaviors such as abusing substances. By recognizing the irrational thoughts and beliefs about oneself that a person has when faced with an addiction trigger, that individual will be better able to alter them. 

Functional Analytic Psychotherapy

In functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP), patients must mindfully and compassionately analyze their negative behaviors. They must do so to see what makes those behaviors negative. 

In doing this, FAP patients are more easily able to identify and connect with their thoughts and emotions. Functional analytic psychotherapy also makes it easier to identify the coping mechanisms that one needs to use to change those negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.  

Compassion Informed Psychotherapy

Compassion-informed psychotherapy focuses on using compassion to help people accept their negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This compassion that informed psychotherapy patients are supposed to give themselves encourages them to move on and not let their negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors make them abuse substances.  

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy (MBCT) focuses on using mindfulness to help people judge and change their poor reactions when thinking or feeling negative. To effectively use mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, individuals must first distance themselves from their negative thoughts and emotions. That way individuals can judge their negative thoughts and emotions with awareness. 

Then, through compassion, people in MBCT can start to refocus their negative thoughts and emotions. That way the negative thoughts and emotions can become more positive. 

Stages of CBT for Substance Abuse

CBT for substance abuse occurs in various stages. These stages are the assessment stage, the cognitive stage, the behavior stage, and the learning stage. 

The Assessment Stage

During the assessment stage of CBT for substance abuse, therapists will ask their patients questions. These questions will help the therapists and patients gain insight into what their addiction triggers are. By deciphering what a person’s addiction triggers are, CBT therapists will be better able to come up with an effective treatment plan for him or her. 

The Cognitive Stage

During the cognitive stage of CBT for substance abuse, therapists will work with their patients to identify their negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Then the CBT therapists will work with their patients to come up with effective positive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These positive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can replace people’s negative ones so that they can cope. 

The Behavior Stage

During the behavior stage of cognitive-behavioral therapy for substance abuse, the therapists will use skills training to help their patients practice using their positive coping mechanisms when faced with their addiction triggers. 

The Learning Stage

During the learning stage, cognitive behavioral therapy patients will continue practicing using their coping mechanisms. During this stage of CBT for substance abuse, therapists will even come with new challenges and conditions for their patients to practice their coping mechanisms on. 

Benefits of CBT for Substance Abuse

There are various benefits of using cognitive behavioral therapy to treat substance abuse. Some of these benefits are described below.

Helps Create Positive Behavior Patterns

CBT for substance abuse helps individuals with substance addictions create positive behavior patterns. These positive behavior patterns will help those with substance addictions cope when faced with addiction triggers rather than start abusing substances.  

Helps Build Support Group

Some cognitive behavioral therapy sessions for substance abuse treatment may occur in the group therapy format. If so, such therapy sessions will help those with substance addictions make connections with other people in addiction recovery. This, in turn, will help those with substance addictions build on their support network. 

Helps Individuals Rebuild Broken Relationships

People with substance addictions often exhibit destructive, reckless, and selfish actions. These poor actions often cause people with substance addictions to negatively affect their personal relationships. 

By becoming sober and attending addiction treatment programs that offer CBT for substance abuse though, people in recovery for substance addiction will be in a place where they can truly rebuild those broken relationships. 

Increases Self-Esteem

People with substance addictions often negatively think about themselves. Through cognitive behavioral therapy though, individuals with substance abuse issues can better themselves. In doing so, people with substance addictions can also improve their self-esteem. 

Relapse Prevention

In cognitive-behavioral therapy, people in addiction treatment learn positive coping mechanisms. This will help them manage their addiction triggers. By learning these coping skills, people in addiction recovery can avoid relapsing.

Techniques Used in CBT for Substance Abuse 

Various therapeutic techniques are often incorporated into cognitive behavioral therapy sessions during addiction treatment. These techniques are used to help addiction treatment patients change their negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors into positive ones.

Journaling

Journaling is a common therapeutic technique that can be used in cognitive behavioral therapy. This is because journaling can help addiction treatment patients become aware of their inner worlds and how they influence them. This is especially the case when individuals look back at old journal entries. By becoming aware of one’s negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, an addiction treatment patient and his or her therapist can come up with ways to change them. 

Cognitive Restructuring and Reframing

Cognitive restructuring and reframing is a therapeutic technique that helps individuals alter their negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and make them more positive. During cognitive restructuring and reframing, the therapist makes patients restate their negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors positively. 

Role-Playing

Role-playing is the practice of re-enacting a certain situation so that when a person faces that situation in real life, he or she is prepared to deal with it. It is an effective therapeutic technique in CBT for substance abuse. This is because it can help rehab patients practice avoiding addiction triggers when in the face of them. 

Successive Approximation

Successive approximation is the practice of breaking down tasks into even smaller tasks so that those tasks can get done more easily. It can be used during CBT for substance abuse to help addiction treatment patients more easily learn how to manage their addiction triggers. 

Relaxation and Stress Reduction

There are many relaxation and stress reduction techniques that individuals can use to help them manage their addiction triggers. Examples of such relaxation and stress reduction techniques include deep breathing and practicing mindfulness. 

Receive CBT for Substance Abuse at Owl’s Nest Recovery

Owl’s Nest Recovery is a privately owned outpatient addiction treatment facility in Florence, South Carolina. We here at Owl’s Nest Recovery provide our patients with evidence-based addiction treatment and therapy practices. This includes the evidence-based practice of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Thus, if you are looking to overcome your substance addiction in rehab, you can do so at Owl’s Nest Recovery. 

To learn more about Owl’s Nest Recovery and the various addiction treatment and therapy services that we offer, contact us today. Our staff is more than willing to answer any questions that you may have.