Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders
in Medford, MA
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It is most commonly used in the treatment of anxiety and depression, but it can be useful for other mental and physical health problems, as well as an option for alcohol use disorder (AUD) and substance use disorders (SUD).
The core concept of CBT is that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and actions are all interconnected and that negative feelings, behaviors, and thoughts can trap you in a negative loop. Unlike other psychotherapeutic treatments, CBT focuses on your present problems (rather than trying to deal with past issues) by searching for practical ways to improve your daily state of mind.
Some of the common techniques used in CBT include:
Identifying negative thoughts
Facing your fears
Relaxation and mindfulness
What Are the Main Goals of CBT?
- Recognizing how your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected and how they influence each other. CBT will help you identify your thought patterns and behaviors that cause or maintain your problems, and how you can alter them for the better.
- Develop proper coping methods and strategies to deal with your problems and achieve your set goals. CBT will teach you various techniques you can practice that can help you manage your emotions, solve your difficulties, reduce your stress, and enrich your well-being.
- Become more independent and self-reliant in your recovery and maintenance. CBT will help you become your therapist by teaching you how to monitor your progress, apply your newly learned skills, and evaluate your outcome. In recovery treatment, CBT will help you prevent relapse by helping you identify potential triggers and cope with them, deal with setbacks, and survive high-risk situations.
What Are the Main Benefits of CBT?
- It is based on scientific research and evidence, and it has been proven to be efficacious for many conditions, such as phobias, depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, substance abuse, and more.
- It is short-term and focused, meaning that it normally takes fewer sessions than other therapies, and it provides clear and specific goals and strategies for each problem.
- It is collaborative and empowering, which means that the therapist and the client work together as a team, and the client learns how to become their therapist through applying the skills and strategies they learn in therapy to their daily life.
- It is practical and skill-based, which means that it teaches the client how to recognize and contest their negative thoughts, face their fears, relax their body and mind, solve their difficulties, and communicate their needs healthily and effectively.
- It is flexible and adaptable, which allows it to be tailored to suit different people and problems, and it can be combined with other treatments, such as medication and other therapy modalities.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
CBT for alcoholism typically involves two main components: functional analysis and skills training.
- Functional analysis is the process of identifying the root cause for your drinking and the consequences, such as the situations, emotions, and thoughts that trigger or reinforce your alcohol use.
- Skills training is the process of learning and practicing new ways of dealing with these triggers, such as methods of relaxation, problem-solving strategies, positive assertiveness, and ways you can refuse alcohol when proffered.
What CBT Does to the BrainCBT is a form of psychotherapy (talk therapy), and as such it deals mainly with your mind. Some research shows that CBT can alter your brain’s structure and activity in sundry ways, such as:
- Increasing the volume and connectivity of the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of your brain that is involved in planning, reasoning, decision-making, and self-regulation. This can help you improve your cognitive and emotional control, and reduce your impulsivity and compulsivity.
- Decreasing the activity and reactivity of the amygdala. This is the part of your brain that is involved in fear, anxiety, and stress responses. Decreased activity in this area can help you reduce their negative emotions and cope better with stressful situations.
- Enhancing the functioning and communication of the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of your brain that is involved with conflict resolution, detecting functional errors, and regulating your emotions. This can help you resolve your cognitive and emotional conflicts, correct any distorted thoughts you may have, and positively regulate your mood.
- Strengthening the connections between the hippocampus, the memory and learning control centers of your brain, and other sections of your brain, such as the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. This can help you consolidate and generalize all the new skills and strategies you learn in CBT, and help you to apply them to different situations.
What Type of Disorders Can CBT Treat?
We have taken a good look at what CBT is, its benefits, goals, and how it affects the brain, but which disorders exactly is it used to treat? A few of these disorders are:
CBT helps people identify and alter malformed beliefs about their body image (body dysmorphia), weight, and food intake. This addiction therapy can further help people develop healthier eating habits and cope with emotional triggers.