Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

When thoughts and attitudes coexist with dangerous or unhealthy behavior, cognitive behavioral therapy is often used as a tool to modify those underlying thought patterns and bad attitudes. Addiction facilities, like those you will find through Alcohol Rehab Treatment Centers, will offer cognitive behavioral therapy with a licensed professional therapist. With them, you will look at the way your attitudes and behaviors coincide with each other, then work with the therapist to develop  a strategy to move beyond those issues with small steps leading to an ultimate goal.

With a fresh attitude and better ways to control your thoughts and actions, you will be prepared to respond to the difficulties in your life with an improved behavior and outlook.

For most people in rehab, cognitive behavioral therapy will last for a few weeks to a few months. During this time, you will learn the best ways to solve problems in your life that you will encounter once you’re out of rehab.

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What to Expect in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

There are a number of kinds of therapy that people can go through, each focusing on a different goal. In some forms of therapy, the sessions are led by the therapist who asks a seemingly endless series of questions where the patient is only supposed to react to what’s being asked of them. Cognitive behavioral therapy for alcohol addiction, on the other hand, is more patient-oriented than other forms of therapy in that the sessions are more about the patient understanding themself and why they do the things they do. As the session goes on, the patient’s feedback is constantly taken into account and therapy is modified based on the patient’s findings, moods, understandings, and what they believe is important to focus on.

Most cognitive behavioral therapy sessions for alcoholism will be about an hour long and are normally held every week for however many weeks it takes to reach both the patient’s and the therapist’s goals. At the beginning of each session, the patient and therapist will likely go over what was discussed or assigned during the last week’s session. Then they will have a brief discussion about what the patient may have discovered or learned about themself while thinking about the the previous session.

After that brief review, the patient and therapist will come up with a goal for that day’s session, which should help the patient’s progress toward their primary goal for being in rehab. The rest of the cognitive behavioral therapy session is dedicated to addressing that small goal and, if a breakthrough is made, creating and working on a new goal. During this process, the therapist works with the patient to determine what’s causing negative thoughts and behaviors, in particular the alcohol use disorder, and ultimately teaches the patient how to change their thought patterns in stressful situations to something much healthier for their overall wellbeing.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is Used in Rehab

Within the scope of alcoholism and rehabilitation in general, cognitive behavioral therapy can be used to address not only the addictions that patients may be experiencing, but the mental illnesses and emotional issues they are also facing.

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Opioid/Opiate and other pharmaceutical addictions
  • Addictions to illicit drugs
  • Dual Diagnosis
  • Depression
  • Anxiety (general or other)
  • PTSD

For the most part, the facilities found with Alcohol Rehab Treatment Centers will offer cognitive behavioral therapy as one of their primary services while treating alcoholism because it is such a powerful tool.

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Depression, Anxiety, and Dual Diagnosis

Many addicts looking for a facility with Alcohol Rehab Treatment Centers have a condition referred to as a dual diagnosis. This is when the patient has both a mental health disorder and is addicted to a substance. In many cases, the addiction itself may be born from the fact that the patient has the mental illness. In other cases, alcoholism (and addictions to other substances) can lead directly to mental health disorders.

And when it comes to alcoholism and mental disorders, there can also be multiple mental health issues stacked on top of each other. It is not uncommon that a patient will have any combination of anxiety, depression, and PTSD, if not all three. Because of this, drug and alcohol rehab centers offer cognitive behavioral therapy that addresses any and all problems that have to do with the patient’s mental health, addictions, and behavior control.

Therapists who use cognitive behavioral therapy generally believe that anxiety and depression are brought about due to unhealthy thinking patterns that lead to negative emotions and illogical reactions to everyday situations. Before going into cognitive behavioral therapy, most people with an alcohol addiction believe they can’t change their moods – especially just by changing the way they think. However, thanks to a strong track record and millions of people who have used this type of therapy to lead to better behaviors say otherwise. As far as drug and alcohol rehab is concerned, it is one of the most effective tools that treatment centers have at their disposal.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and PTSD

As mentioned above, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is another mental health issue that cognitive behavioral health can help. When going through rehab for alcohol abuse, these therapy sessions will delve into your past to help determine why you think and act the way you do now. If a rehab facility has discovered that a patient has PTSD or if the condition was diagnosed before entering care, most treatment centers will begin a second layer of cognitive behavioral therapy that is centered around trauma.

Although most people believe PTSD is only associated with going to war or being in the military, this mental health disorder can actually afflict anyone who has had nearly any traumatic situation happen to them during their life. Furthermore, the PTSD may not show itself until months or even years after the traumatic event has occurred. Some off these events may include:

  • Watching a loved one seriously injured or killed
  • Emotional or physical abuse
  • Live combat
  • life-threatening danger – even if the danger was only perceived and not real
  • Sexual assault

There are a number of ways that PTSD may become apparent to the patient or to their loved ones. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Believing the world is completely dangerous
  • Having no loving/positive thoughts or feelings about other people
  • Avoiding things that remind them off the event
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Re-experiencing symptoms
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating

In response to PTSD, cognitive behavioral therapy helps by addressing the negative, and often frightening, thoughts that the patient can’t control and teach them that there are ways to reframe the way the patient controls their thoughts. Though this is by no means assuming everyone who experiences PTSD will be “cured” through cognitive behavioral therapy during alcohol addiction treatment, that doesn’t mean they can’t move forward with their life in a way that makes the traumatic event and its mental effects somewhat easier to control and deal with.

Will Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work for Me?

We at Alcohol Rehab Treatment Centers are often asked if some person or another will benefit from going through cognitive behavioral therapy. Although we are not in any kind of medical position to make such a claim either for or against this type of therapy, we have seen it work wonders for many.

That being said, the best advice that we can give to anyone that might be sceptical about whether or not cognitive behavioral therapy will work toward helping achieve sobriety and better, healthier thought control is that, at the very least, try to keep an open mind and at least give it a try.

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