Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment modality that is widely used to address and treat a variety of mental health disorders, as well as substance abuse disorders.
Since CBT was developed in the 1960s, researchers have published over 1,000 studies demonstrating its effectiveness. CBT is based on the core theory that mental health problems stem from a person’s negative ways of thinking and unhealthy thought patterns. This framework also suggests that psychological distress comes from learned patterns and behaviors that affect mental health, stress response, and overall well being.

CBT treatment helps people understand their negative thought arrangements and how it affects their lives. Throughout treatment, people learn how to cope with stress and triggers using a more satisfactory healthy approach while practicing problem-solving skills along the way. One of the more unique aspects of CBT is that it encourages people to become their own therapists.

How is CBT Used for Addiction Recovery?

CBT was developed in part to help prevent relapse in people within alcohol abuse recovery and was later adapted for those suffering from drug addictions.

For decades, CBT has been used successfully to treat addiction and substance abuse issues in people of all ages.

CBT is beneficial for those in addiction recovery because it trains them to recognize the negative thought patterns and unhealthy belief systems that fuel their addiction. It guides them to understand how those negative thoughts affect their mental health and their ability to cope with difficult situations.

Awareness is another core component of CBT. People who go through CBT treatment focus on self-monitoring, identifying their cravings, understanding the negative consequences of continued substance abuse, and recognizing the situations that could trigger a relapse.

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In most cases, addiction stems from unresolved mental health issues or trauma. People often turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and numb the pain of their emotions, rather than facing their dark feelings head-on. CBT aims to help people deal with their emotions and mental health struggles in a more productive and healthy way, without turning to substances.

CBT for Depression

People who have depression can benefit greatly from CBT because it helps them eliminate the negative thoughts that prevent them from functioning at a high level.

People who suffer from depression often deal with limiting beliefs that lead to feelings of extreme sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and irritability.

People who are dejected and depressed may also feel like they have nothing to be happy about, even if they have a seemingly great life. CBT can be useful because it helps the person identify their negative beliefs and improves their awareness of mental thought patterns. As a result, they can practice reframing their thoughts to be more positive.

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If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today.

CBT for Anxiety

Anxiety sufferers often struggle with panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, irritability, nervousness, and specific phobias.

These fears stem from unpleasant experiences and false thought systems that trigger uncomfortable symptoms. CBT can help people find the root cause of those particular thought systems in hopes that they can work on reversing the anxiety.

Most people who receive treatment for anxiety will undergo CBT. CBT allows people to examine how their thoughts contribute to tension, as well as how they react in situations that trigger their worries. With CBT, people learn to challenge their anxious thoughts and recognize how it affects them mentally and physically. From there, the person can replace their apprehensive thoughts with more rational beliefs.

In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.

Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.

Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.

People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.

Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

CBT for PTSD

CBT can also be beneficial for people with PTSD and other trauma disorders.

Trauma sufferers often struggle with emotional regulation. Specific people, places, and experiences can trigger their trauma and create emotional distress. When a person can’t process those triggers in a productive way, it can lead to other issues like substance abuse and self-harm.

CBT can be used to treat people with trauma by helping them reevaluate their thinking about the agony which they experienced. For example, someone who was in a serious car accident and is afraid to drive can retrain their mind to stop expecting a catastrophic outcome when they get inside a car. A CBT therapist can help the person develop more effective ways to cope with his or her fears.

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In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.

Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.

Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.

People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.

Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

CBT for BPD

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a relatively rare condition that affects less than 2% of the population.

But for people who suffer from BPD, CBT has been shown to be an effective treatment. In this case, CBT helps people regulate their emotions, avoid conflict, and learn to cope with mental distress in a healthier more positive way.

It’s common for people with BPD to avoid their emotions, which can create relationship issues and increase the risk of self-harm. With CBT, people learn to identify their emotions in the present moment and recognize how those emotions affect their behavior. This understanding helps people cope with their mood and behavioral changes without creating turmoil.

CBT for Dual-Diagnosis Cases

Dual-diagnosis is the presence of one or more mental health conditions with a co-occurring substance abuse disorder.

Because addiction is often caused by mental health issues, dual-diagnosis cases are extremely common. Most professional treatment centers, including Nexus Recovery, have dual-diagnosis treatment programs.

CBT is incredibly effective for dual-diagnosis because it helps people learn to cope with the emotions that trigger their drug and alcohol use. Instead of using substances to self-medicate, CBT gives people the tools they need to develop healthy coping mechanisms that don’t involve substance abuse.

When someone is dealing with a mental health disorder and substance abuse disorder simultaneously, both conditions must be addressed together. Healing one symptom while ignoring the other one makes recovery extremely difficult and significantly increases the person’s risk of relapse. 

Dual-diagnosis treatment involves a variety of therapy modalities. At Nexus Recovery, some of the dual-diagnosis treatments we use include:

  • CBT
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Gestalt Therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Art Therapy
  • Surf Therapy
  • Yoga
  • Meditation and Mindfulness

If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health or substance abuse disorder, help is available. Contact our recovery advisors at (888) 855-6877 to learn more about the dual-diagnosis treatment programs at Nexus Recovery.

family therapy for parents

In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.

Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.

Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.

People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.

Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, we’re here to help. Contact us today and speak with one of our trusted recovery advisors.

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