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What is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is widely recognized as the exemplar of substance use disorder treatment. It empowers patients with the strategies to effectively identify the root cause or causes of their addictive behaviors while addressing the co-occurring disorders that complicate recovery.

Co-occurring disorders are mental health issues that make people particularly vulnerable to substance misuse and process addictions. They include the following conditions:


How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

If you struggle with controlling your negative thoughts and actions, it’s important to recognize the cyclical nature of destructive behaviors and ideas. Negative actions trigger dire consequences, which cause anxiety that leads to harmful behaviors, and so on. This spiraling sequence of events can leave you more prone to substance misuse. As impulse control diminishes, breaking free from substance misuse becomes increasingly difficult.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy demonstrates that many unhealthy behaviors and attitudes are neither valid nor reasonable. While it might feel as though your habits and inclinations are engrained parts of your personality, they could be, in large part, influenced by previous experiences and even your stress response. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you become more aware of your thoughts and actions so that you are better equipped to manage them effectively.


Automatic Negative Thoughts

One major factor for people struggling with addiction is the prevalence of automatic negative thoughts. Automatic negative thoughts are thoughts that occur instantly and without prior consideration. Such thoughts can be highly destructive and often cause immediate shifts in mood. While such thoughts might seem rational through your prism of dread and self-doubt, they are often based upon faulty conceptions triggered by your stress response. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you manage and overcome automatic thoughts and the anxieties they generate.

Automatic negative thoughts exacerbate mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you control these thoughts by doing the following:

  • Giving you the insight you need to immediately recognize the erroneous nature of your automatic negative thoughts
  • Helping you develop healthy and effective alternative responses
  • Improving your ability to communicate your emotions


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques

To assist with addiction recovery, cognitive-behavioral therapists use specific exercises.

  • Thought records: Thought records help people in recovery explore their automatic negative thoughts rationally. This technique involves dispassionately examining arguments for and against automatic negative thoughts. The objective is to develop a strategy for subverting destructive emotional responses.
  • Behavioral experiments: When thought records yield personal discoveries that need to be evaluated actively and in-depth, behavioral experiments are deployed. Behavioral experiments are therapist-guided, real-world exercises designed to uncover effective management tools for automatic negative thoughts in real-life circumstances. People who’ve endured complex traumas or struggle with severe anxiety benefit from this technique because it involves situational activation.
  • Imagery-based exposure: This intervention is a carefully structured therapy that requires recalling an event that triggers strong adverse emotions. Every element of the event is explored as it was originally experienced. The repeated recollection of traumatic memories can help lessen the resulting anxiety, ultimately reducing the need to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.


Personalized Treatment at the Alpine Recovery Lodge

Emotional instability is often at the core of substance use disorders. At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we offer evidence-based therapeutic interventions that address the co-occurring psychological issues that exacerbate substance misuse and addiction behaviors.

When you feel ready to begin your journey toward sobriety, we will help guide you with empathy and compassion. Please call our team at 801-901-8757 today to learn more.