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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Alcoholism

Oct 15, 2023

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for alcohol use disorders that helps you to learn to change thinking patterns. CBT teaches the skills and strategies you need in real time to become and stay sober. In this blog post, we’ll introduce some advantages of CBT treatment and explain what makes it helpful in setting realistic goals.

CBT for alcohol use disorder (AUD) treatment can be effective due to its inclusion of both cognitive and behavioral aspects. In a CBT session, you will be invited to examine core beliefs and patterns of thinking that have resulted in an AUD. Through a limited number of sessions with a goal-oriented focus, you can learn how to replace harmful ways of thinking with rational and constructive thoughts about your own well-being as way to achieve your new sobriety goals. CBT is one of numerous evidence-based therapies that are offered as part of a personalized treatment program at Hanley .

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-841-1033.

What Is CBT?

The goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, which is a popular and evidence-based form of psychotherapy, is to recognize and alter unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors. It relies on the fundamental notion that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected and that we may successfully address psychological distress and enhance our emotional and mental states by changing problematic thinking patterns and behaviors.

CBT’s Model of Treatment

A person’s substance use can be better understood using the CBT model as a framework. A person’s thoughts and beliefs about themselves, the world, and those around them are the basic components of the CBT model. The CBT model itself can be separated into three levels of cognition.

1. Core beliefs or schemas: A person’s core beliefs are your underlying views of the universe, other people, and yourself. They are frequently shaped by early experiences and perceived as factual and absolute. Negative core beliefs frequently cause distorted thought processes and automatic thinking when they are activated.

2. Cognitive distortions or dysfunctional beliefs: Unreasonable false beliefs that you hold as true are referred to as cognitive distortions. These assumptions are usually incorrect and unreasonable. One example is a belief that asking for support during your attempts to quit drinking or drug use shows weakness.

3. Automatic thoughts, also called negative automatic thoughts (NATs): Certain circumstances can lead to automatic thoughts, which are problematic if they are predominantly negative. These negative thoughts can make it more likely for you to behave in harmful or self-destructive ways. You may even unintentionally create issues by assuming you have the capacity to stay sober on your own.

How CBT Works

During a CBT session, your therapist will help you in categorizing your issues into fundamental categories such as situations, behaviors, emotions, physical feelings, and thoughts or ideas. Each of these categories can have a direct impact on the others. In other words, how you emotionally understand and actively respond to a certain situation may be influenced by your thoughts and feelings about it. You and your CBT therapist will be able to recognize and repair troublesome patterns in these areas during behavioral treatment.

CBT Use for AUD

CBT for alcoholism applies the principles of this behavioral therapy to your perceptions of alcohol’s function in your life. CBT’s cognitive restructuring involves identifying and challenging irrational or negative thought patterns related to alcohol and helps you replace them with more rational and constructive thoughts about your well-being. CBT also includes techniques to modify behaviors associated with distress or mental health issues. From these techniques, you can develop healthy coping strategies when experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Rather than serving in a general way, CBT is goal-oriented and focused on specific problems or symptoms. You are encouraged to set achievable goals and track your progress toward sober living.

How CBT Differs from Other Treatments

Unlike other forms of talk therapy, CBT is far more collaborative in its approach. You and your therapist both actively participate and problem-solve, and you’re given homework assignments to practice in your daily living between sessions. It’s also relatively short in its process, consisting of a fixed number of sessions to learn practical skills and strategies you can use independently. The inclusion of both cognitive and behavioral components sets it apart from most other forms of therapy, too.

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