CBT Techniques for Addiction
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a proven useful therapeutic approach to distressing life events, mental health conditions, addiction, and behavioral problems. The concept that drives established CBT techniques is that our thoughts affect our feelings and ultimately shapes how we behave in any given situation or event.
There is no doubt that humans give special meaning to the situations and events that are occurring around them, but rarely consider the fact that no two people will give the same meaning to a particular event.
There are numerous approaches used in CBT, many of which have evolved through therapy and can be transitioned to use in everyday life. These include, but are not limited to, the following tools and techniques.
This CBT technique is a means of collecting information about our thoughts and feelings. Journaling can help us to determine and describe our thought patterns, emotional propensities and how to amend, alter, or manage/deal with them.
Identifying and Restructuring Cognitive Distortions
One of the main objectives of CBT is identifying and unraveling cognitive distortions, or thoughts that are not useful or entirely accurate. Whether or not a therapist is involved, the person engaging in CBT techniques must first be able to identify to which distortions they are most susceptible.
We must then challenge the non-constructive and harmful thoughts that exist that are a result of, or driving force for our mental illness or addiction.
When you identify a belief that is destructive or unhelpful, you can then begin to understand how this distortion manifested and why you accepted it as truth. You can then begin to challenge it and consider engaging in more constructive thoughts that will help you mentally and emotionally rather than hurt you.
Interoceptive Exposure is often used to treat anxiety and/or panic, two mental health conditions that either cause or arise from addiction. It encourages exposure to feared body reactions and sensations and teaches a new method of dealing with these sensations in a manner that is less distressing and frames objects or feelings of fear as less threatening and dangerous.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
PMR teaches the person how to relax one muscle group at a time until the whole body is a state of complete calm. This can be done at home using audio guidance (i.e. on YouTube) or simply using your own mind. It can be beneficial for calming nervousness and relieving an unfocused and cluttered brain.
Relaxed breathing, like PMR, is used in a variety of scenarios, especially mindfulness and meditation. Using guided or unguided imagery and audio, you can bring a consistency and relaxation to breathing that will allow you to meet your problems head-on from a place of balance. This technique promotes more rational and useful decision-making.
These approaches assist persons experiencing a wide variety of illnesses and condition, such as addition, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. They can be practiced without the use of a therapist.
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If you or someone you love is abusing substances, please seek treatment as soon as possible. There are many resources available to help you or your loved one.
Please call us today at 888-380-0342 for a free consultation.
~ Nathalee G. Serrels