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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Recovery: How Does It Work?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a cornerstone of the addiction recovery process. It’s one of the most common therapies in alcohol and drug rehab and is one of several behavioral therapies that are utilized to treat substance use disorder. Used alongside medically supervised detox and other types of behavioral therapy, like motivational interviewing, eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy is a safe, traditional and effective means of dealing with a wide range of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, that are commonly linked to alcohol and drug addiction to improve quality of life.

How Does CBT Work?

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be used in addiction recovery, as well as other types of mental health treatment. It’s a non-invasive therapeutic intervention that can take place in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. Simply put, CBT is a type of talk therapy where you work one-on-one with an experienced and qualified mental health professional to address a specific issue or set of issues that have led to a serious disruption in your mental health or quality of life.

During your sessions with your therapist, you identify root causes and sustaining factors associated with your condition and learn to develop behavioral coping mechanisms to help manage them, a particularly useful resource in relapse prevention.

In addition to substance use disorder recovery, cognitive behavioral therapy may be used for:

  • Depressive Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Phobias
  • PTSD and Trauma
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sexual Disorders

These issues are very common linked to substance abuse, either causing it or resulting from it, and it’s important to get help for both conditions when you’re struggling with  dual-diagnosis disorder.

How Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help with Addiction Recovery?

Simply put, there’s a lot to be said for “talking it out”. Though most effective when combined with other interventions, true and genuine engagement with cognitive behavioral therapy allows you to slowly unearth things about your history, your vulnerabilities and strengths that you may not have known, and in a safe, supportive, discreet and non-judgmental environment. These realizations can be particularly informative when you’re trying to piece together the origins and triggers of your drug or alcohol abuse. Self-awareness is one of the most effective weapons against the worsening of substance use disorder and relapse. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps change and reconfigure self-destructive and negative thought patterns that can lead to ongoing drug and alcohol abuse.

How Do I Start Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

The first step to starting cognitive behavioral therapy is looking for an experienced and qualified practitioner. You may also want to check if they take your insurance. If you’re seeking cognitive behavioral therapy as part of an addiction recovery program, make sure the facility you’re considering offers it as part of their inpatient or outpatient options. If you’re seeking cognitive behavioral therapy for another type of mental health issue, make sure you think about what issues you’d like to work on, whether it’s a family issue, anxiety, trauma, aggression, trouble sleeping or anything else that can be indicative of a larger problem.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Recovery Unplugged

As effective as it is, it’s important to realize that simple initiation into cognitive behavioral therapy is often difficult. It’s hard to open up to a complete stranger about what’s bothering you even when you want to be there; when it’s something like addiction treatment, you may be even more guarded because you’re battling withdrawal and your experiences from using left you mistrustful and skeptical about the intentions and character of others.

Recovery Unplugged was essentially founded on the idea that music can strengthen engagement with talk therapy and other techniques, which is why we offer Music-Assisted Treatment™ to help you or your loved more readily embrace treatment. If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance use disorder, cognitive behavioral therapy can be an effective pillar of treatment and recovery, but only if you give yourself to the process. Recovery Unplugged offers CBT as part of a comprehensive treatment experience at our multiple locations across the country. Contact us today to start healing now. We are in-network with most insurance providers and are ready to help you find peace of mind and lasting wellness.

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