The Role Of CBT In Addiction Recovery

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CBT is one of the most popular therapeutic modalities for those in recovery for addiction. Regarding substance use disorder, it’s useful as a monotherapy and as a component of combination treatment strategies. In addition to addressing the mental health disorders that often co-occur with addiction, such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder, CBT also uncovers an individual’s motives for substance use.

Addiction is complicated, and Guardian Recovery knows how beneficial it is to use CBT to examine the origins of our negative thoughts and problems that drive addiction. In fact, it’s a necessary step toward lasting sobriety.

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What is CBT?
CBT is founded upon the belief that our thoughts influence our feelings and behaviors. It is a combination of behavioral therapy and psychotherapy, meaning that it 1) examines behaviors and the thoughts and feelings that cause them and 2) helps a person overcome challenges.

The cycle of addiction is a prime example of thoughts influencing feelings and behaviors: negative thoughts can drive an individual to use and engage in other destructive behaviors.

The primary goal of CBT is not to silence our inner monologue, but to understand the root of our negative thoughts. Negative-self talk stems from fear and anxiety, and it just isn’t true.

Unraveling Core Beliefs
Most people emerge from childhood with at least one negative core belief about themselves. These core beliefs, such as “I’m unlovable,” “I’m not worthy” and “I have to be perfect,” manifest in many different ways.

By the time we reach adulthood, our core beliefs are so deeply rooted that we believe them to be fundamental to who we are. They can be near impossible to undo because we’ve spent our entire lives subconsciously either reinforcing our core beliefs or trying to prove them wrong.

CBT aims to unravel those beliefs that enable us to engage in harmful behavior patterns. Clients are challenged to replace negative core beliefs with more rational explanations and are taught that they have the power to overcome the challenges that have negatively impacted their lives.

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Benefits of CBT for Addiction Recovery
Core beliefs can stoke the negative thought patterns that lead to substance use. It’s crucial to confront negative core beliefs head on instead of falling victim to them weeks, months or years into the future. Daily reinforcement is key to maintaining long-term benefits.

CBT is beneficial for those in an addiction recovery setting because it’s usually a short-term therapy and it delivers results relatively quickly. The client and therapist tackle one issue at a time, set achievable goals and incorporate complementary exercises. Once a client works through one issue over the course of several sessions, they move on to the next one.

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Addiction Recovery Therapies That Work
For a fighting chance at lasting sobriety, an individualized treatment plan that encompasses a complementary combination of therapies is essential. CBT for addiction is one of those therapies. At Guardian Recovery, we understand the importance of individualized care, which we implement into our evidence-based treatment plans unique to each client’s needs.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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