What are Some CBT Techniques That can be Used for Addiction?

Addiction in red

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that helps people reframe old, negative thought patterns into more positive, productive ones. Transforming one’s thoughts can take time, but if you work with your therapist and practice outside of their office, you will find yourself in a much better place. The National Institute on Drub Abuse claims that CBT was originally developed as “a method to prevent relapse when treating problem drinking, and was later adapted for cocaine-addicted individuals”. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has expanded to nearly every avenue now, and has been quite successful.

If you are considering utilizing CBT for an addiction, expect to identify problematic thinking and identifying new ways to cope. Here are a few effective exercises:

  1. Learn to categorize your thinking. Are you thinking of situations in “black and white” terms, or are you overgeneralizing? By oversimplifying an event, you hold yourself back from understand all the shades of grey in-between. By overgeneralizing, you make it impossible to find the solution to a situation. Are you only dwelling on the negatives? If someone reminds you of something positive, do you disqualify it? Lastly, do you jump to conclusions? Begin by categorizing each thought you have – by labeling them, you can identify destructive thought patterns.
  2. Identify the emotions you experience in conjunction with your thoughts. Begin paying close attention to your body when negative thoughts emerge. Where do you feel the anger, the sadness, the disappointment, the jealousy? Do you feel it in the pit of your stomach, a tightness in your chest, a tension in your legs? By finding the physical reactions of your thoughts, you can practice relaxing that part of your body to ground yourself.
  3. Practice restructuring your thoughts. Even if it’s uncomfortable, counteract each negative thought with a positive one. Tell yourself that things will get better, that things are okay, and that you have a lot to be grateful for.

A 2011 study published in the Psychiatric Clinics of North America found that CBT has helped individuals with addiction develop coping strategies, motivational techniques, and skill interventions. If you haven’t already, reach out to a reputable treatment center that specializes in CBT. This is one evidence-based technique that has helped so many people. Don’t give up.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery treatment center in Huntington Beach, CA. If you struggle with addiction, make the decision to take back control over your life by seeking help. We offer CBT and can help you develop the tools you need to succeed. Call us today at 888-743-0490 for a consultation. Now is your time.