Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: What You Need to Know

I have seen a lot of success with patients entering 12-step programs to help them conquer their addictions. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, the 12 steps, having a sponsor, studying the Big Book. All of that really works for a number of people. However, it doesn’t work for everyone.

In my practice of treating patients with addiction issues, I specialize in what is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, it is not only the substance you are eliminating from your life. Rather, you are changing your entire lifestyle.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

One of the important aspects of CBT is the task of getting to the root of the problem. Addiction can be genetic, but substance abuse is also the symptom of a deep-rooted psychological issue. When treating addiction, a patient must understand why he or she feels the need to drink or use drugs in the first place. This is why so many addicts and alcoholics relapse; they stop drinking or using drugs, but they don’t make any other changes in their lives.

Understanding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

So what exactly is CBT? The National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists defines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as “a form of therapy that emphasizes the importance of thinking about what we do and how we feel”. In CBT, the patient will work with a physician or counselor to get to the root of their substance abuse. What situations or feelings trigger their compulsion to use drugs or alcohol? Identifying these situations can help them to learn how to avoid them or practice appropriate and healthy responses.

Finding a Physician or Counselor that Specializes in CBT

One good place to start is the National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Another good thing to do when you are trying to find a CBT practitioner near you is to just utilize your favorite search engine. There are a ton of sites that allow you to view therapists and physicians and to read reviews from previous patients.

There is Hope

If you are an addict or alcoholic, the main thing you want to remember is not to give up. You can seek out detoxification, rehabilitation, support groups, and the right form of therapy that will work for you. The most important thing is that you don’t get discouraged if you experience a relapse. You just need to start back over again. Every day is a new day.

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