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The Cognitive Concept

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psycho-social intervention focused on improving mental health by modifying dysfunctional emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Instead of focusing on the root of emotional conflict, this methodology emphasizes solutions, while encouraging patients to change their destructive patterns by challenge their distorted perceptions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was initially designed for treating depression. However, over the years the use of CBT has been expanded to health treat a variety of mental health disorders. This method of treatment is based on a combination of behavior therapy and cognitive therapy.

Today, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most common type of therapy utilized in substance abuse and addiction treatment. People are not always able to change their circumstances but, CBT says, they can change their thoughts thus changing how they feel and behave. As for drug addicts, this therapeutic approach brings awareness the way they behaved and felt when using drugs and alcohol. With cognitive behavioral therapy in drug treatment, they can change these destructive behaviors and develop new, healthy ones.

What is Cognitive Distortion?

Fundamentally, cognitive distortions are the many ways that a mind convinces itself into believing something that is not actually true. Our mind adopts these inaccurate ideas and thoughts, and uses them into reinforce our negative emotions. Sometimes these ideas may sound rational, but all they really do is cause us more pain. In 1980s, David Burns was responsible for popularizing the idea of cognitive distortions, giving different examples of distortions common names. A few examples of the more common cognitive distortions include:

  • Filtering feelings
  • Polarized (Black and White) Thinking
  • Overgeneralization
  • Catastrophizing
  • Personalization
  • Control Fallacies
  • Fairness Fallacies
  • Blaming
  • Emotional Reasoning

There are a few others that are also acknowledged by Burns. Each of them impacts an individual and their ability to apply objective reasoning to their life and the way they interact with others.

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

It’s quite common for people who struggle with drugs and alcohol to also be suffering with mental health disorders, such as a mood disorders like:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Comprehensive programs for addiction treatment will typically offer dual diagnosis treatment approaches. With dual diagnosis treatment, both conditions are treated simultaneously. Because CBT is a valuable treatment option for clients both with addiction as well as those with mood disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular and effective approach to addiction treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Recovery

Not all CBT is exactly the same. Modern forms of cognitive behavioral therapy include a number of diverse but related techniques. Some of the more well-known forms of modern CBT include:

  • Exposure therapy
  • Stress inoculation training
  • Cognitive processing therapy
  • Relaxation training
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy

Other practitioners promote a form of mindful cognitive therapy. This method uses stronger emphasis self-awareness. For treating drug and alcohol addiction, cognitive behavioral therapy typically appears in six phases:

  1. Assessment
  2. Reconceptualization
  3. Skills acquisition
  4. Skills consolidation and application training
  5. Generalization and maintenance
  6. Post-treatment assessment

Each of these stages builds a foundation for the next, and each one provides a proactive approach to changing thought patterns and behaviors that lead to drug abuse. Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered “action-oriented”. CBT therapists commit time and effort to assisting clients in creating specific strategies in order to address specific issues they’ve identified. It is not about just recognizing issues, but also about developing real life strategies to overcome them.

In addiction recovery, one can’t simply sit on the sidelines and hope things eventually get better. It takes effort. Many find that in order to overcome drug and alcohol abuse, they have to redesign their lives. Palm Partners Recovery Center believes cognitive behavioral therapy is a power tool for comprehensive addiction treatment.

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