Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) treatment for addiction

Negative thought patterns can undermine your best efforts to make healthy choices, and are characteristic symptoms of substance misuse concerns and other mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.

Deep-seated negative beliefs prompt sentiments such as “I can’t” or “there is no way” and are usually accompanied by an overall sense of hopelessness. Sadly, your addiction can be fuelled with this type of thinking, but cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is designed to address and interrupt these negative thought patterns. With the proper support, you can change the way that you respond to stress, learn new ways of thinking and begin acquiring the tools that you need to live a substance-free life.

How does CBT work as an addiction treatment?

Supporters of CBT believe that in order to change a person’s behaviour, you must first change their thoughts. In other words, they believe that by taking the time to gain insight into your beliefs, you can increase your health and wellbeing simply by changing your thinking.

Therapists who specialise in CBT work closely with their clients to unveil negative thought patterns and negative beliefs that are likely contributing to their substance misuse. By examining negative aspects of your thinking, your counsellor will be able to identify specific areas to focus on in treatment.

Once you have identified the specific set of thoughts that have allowed the cycle of addiction to continue in your life, it is time to set about replacing those dysfunctional beliefs with more positive ones. Sometimes, these beliefs stem from the earliest days of childhood, and are therefore very ingrained into your consciousness. For some, these old thought patterns stem from once useful coping skills that are no longer functional or healthy in adult life. By acknowledging these mistaken beliefs, you can change your thinking in the present, leaving destructive behavioural patterns in the past. 

Benefits of CBT

CBT is a flexible, adaptable treatment tool that has been used successfully in addiction programmes all around the world. It can be used either in individual or group counselling settings, and has proven to be especially helpful in the treatment of substance misuse, eating disorders and more. As a research-backed tool for healing, CBT has many long and short-term benefits including:

  • CBT looks to the past but has an eye on the future, meaning that while your old ways of thinking will be reviewed and examined, you will be doing so in order to enact positive change in the present
  • CBT involves the use of homework, so you can expect to do the 'work' of CBT outside of your counsellor’s office or group counselling setting, applying the insight that you have gained in your daily life
  • By interrupting patterns of negative thinking with CBT, you will be able to alter the behaviours and feelings associated with those thoughts, resulting in a greater capacity for coping with stress and making healthy choices
  • By addressing and confronting self-defeating beliefs, you will gain healthier levels of self-awareness and self-esteem that will assist you in building a strong foundation for recovery

To learn more about how CBT aids the addiction treatment process at Priory, call us today on 0800 840 3219 to arrange a free addiction assessment. Our staff will be happy to answer questions about any aspect of our programme, and to help you begin the rehabilitation process for yourself or a loved one today. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here.