Originally Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was developed to help the individual with alcoholism recognize trigger situations or events and prevent relapse by improving the individual’s self-control and developing coping methods. Since then, it has become a therapy used for cocaine and many other drug addiction.
It has to do with recognizing problems or behaviours that can put the person at risk. It is also learning new skills to deal with these situations and prevent or stop usage. It demands self-control and developing insight into one’s feelings, and knowing how to deal with life issues or recognizing and avoiding the high-risk events that can occur.
There are several approaches to cognitive-behavioural therapy, including Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Dialectic Behavior Therapy.
Emotions are difficult to change. CBT targets emotions by transforming thoughts and behaviours that occur in stressful or undesirable situations.
The therapy helps the patient obtain skills to address the problem. It sets itself apart from other “therapies” because it doesn’t simply discuss the issue. It identifies unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.
This identification, called functional analysis, plays a critical role in early treatment in helping both patient and therapist determine the situations or events that are likely to lead to alcohol or drug use and provides some insights into what triggers usage. Interpersonal difficulties, unavailable satisfaction, boredom, and much more can push a person to do drugs. In fact, there are as many reasons for it as there are people. Later in the treatment, this same therapeutic analysis can help identify the lingering situations in which the person still has difficulty coping.
CBT is usually an outpatient treatment program. Because it focuses on the reasons for substance abuse, the patient’s day-to-day life will bring about situations and events that need attention.
The therapist will also be able to develop and refine functional analyses to help the individual develop new skills by knowing the patient’s life. What they do to spend time, and where and how they live. Also, by living their regular lives, it becomes easier to see how they can apply these new skills on a daily basis and immediately see what works and does not work. It permits the development of new “strategies” or abilities to cope for the individual.
CBT is not recommended as an outpatient program for all cases. In many aspects of addiction, a more comprehensive treatment is necessary. This therapy would apply to light drug or alcohol dependences. A person may feel emotionally uncomfortable. In this therapy, one explores painful feelings and experiences. Crying, getting upset or feeling angry can occur in a session. A form of CBT called exposure therapy can encourage confronting situations you would rather avoid creating temporary stress and anxiety.
Otherwise, the patient must have a stable living arrangement. A medical physical pre-assessment is mandatory.