Many forms of talk therapy or psychotherapy are available for individuals struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. For many mental health disorders like anxiety or depression, PTSD, or addiction, cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective forms of treatment.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a newer form of therapy that addresses things in your personal life and your background that may have contributed to negative automatic thoughts. These negative automatic thoughts influence how you feel, what you think, and, by extension, how you act.
If, for example, you believe that you have no self-worth and you fail at most things you accomplish, you are more likely to relapse and not seek help because you view it as what was expected, but with CBT addiction treatment, you can learn to change your views and recognize that failure doesn’t make you a bad person or mean that you shouldn’t try.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction
Cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction can help you recognize that your automatic thoughts and feelings can influence your emotions and your behavior, but you have the power to change the way you think and, by extension, to change how you feel and how you behave. This goes a long way toward recognizing things that might contribute to addictive behaviors and replacing them with things that prevent relapse and help you get through your sobriety.
But what is cognitive behavioral therapy as it relates to automatic thoughts?
Automatic thoughts are emotion-filled concepts that immediately or automatically pop into your head. You might not even realize that you have an automatic thought leading to negative emotions. Automatic thoughts can be good or bad, but when too many of them are bad, they can harm your self-worth, behavior, and choices.
There are several types of automatic thoughts.
- Some people struggle with perfectionism. This automatic thought might take the form of, “I want to be perfect, and I’m anxious that I won’t be, so I know I’m going to fail in drug rehab.”
- Other people succumb to mind reading as a form of automatic thought. This type of automatic thought might look like, “she looked at me funny. I know she thinks I’m a failure.”
- Emotional reasoning is another automatic thought, which is when you believe that the things you feel are automatically true. If you feel worthless during one particularly tough day of rehab, you might tell yourself that that means you really are worthless, but this is far from the truth.
- Some people struggle with all-or-nothing thinking where they believe that because they’ve never succeeded before, they’ll never be able to do it again, so they might as well keep using drugs or alcohol.
- Others jump to conclusions like, “My spouse said they want to talk, so they are probably going to ask for a divorce.”
- Some people don’t realize that they are automatically labeling themselves when something happens in their environment or going about their day and automatically thinking, “I am a failure.”
- Others struggle with ‘should’ statements like “I should be able to stop, or I shouldn’t admit that I’m depressed.” These types of statements can increase anxiety and depression.
- Some automatic thoughts have to do with constantly dwelling on the negative, where you always think about the worst possibility and assume it will be the truth.
CBT Addiction Treatment Goals
Individuals who don’t participate in CBT addiction treatment are more likely to subject themselves to stress, anger, depression, and low self-esteem and live in a world that forces them to return to old, harmful behaviors. Without treatment, automatic negative thoughts can lead to:
- Problems sleeping
- Problems concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Being overwhelmed
These can lead to harmful behaviors like:
- Spending too much
- Skipping work or school
- Avoiding friends and family
- Getting into fights easily
- Ignoring bills
- Reckless driving
But with cognitive behavioral therapy, you can learn to identify your automatic thoughts and change the emotions and behaviors that come from them. In the example of jumping to conclusions, you can work with a trained therapist to recognize that you aren’t a mind reader, so you really have no idea what your spouse is interested in. Maybe your spouse wants to go out for dinner, maybe they want to plan a vacation, or maybe they just want to talk to you about your children.
When you learn to stop your negative automatic thoughts and replace them with positive ones, you can change your emotions and your behaviors. When you recognize that you aren’t a mind reader, for example, your spouse asking to talk doesn’t immediately fill you with dread and a sense of poor self-worth. It also doesn’t lead you to avoid your spouse or get in a fight preemptively.
Centric Behavioral Health offers top-rated drug detox centers near you.
Call us today to compare different CBT programs in your area.