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Changing Your Outlook: How CBT Works

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Many addiction treatment centers incorporate some form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) into their treatment plans. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on the theory that changing a person’s thought patterns can help them change their behavior.

Developed initially to help recovering alcoholics avoid relapse, this therapeutic technique has since been adapted to address various disorders and behaviors. CBT has proven to be particularly effective as a component of addiction treatment. It helps patients establish positive thought patterns, teaches them how to resist peer pressure, and is one of the most cost-effective forms of treatment.

The Power of Positive Thinking

CBT teaches patients to recognize negative thinking patterns and replace them with more positive ones. This activity can help patients identify the feelings and thoughts that trigger their substance abuse.

Addicted people often suffer from negative thought patterns that lead to feelings of distress and hopelessness. Developing the habit of positive thinking can keep them from feeling overwhelmed and give them the confidence to handle difficult situations. With this empowerment, recovering individuals are less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Learning to Handle Temptation

It can be difficult for a recovering individual to resist temptation and peer pressure, but CBT helps patients develop the ability to handle these situations. During CBT sessions, patients practice new behaviors that will serve them well in real-life settings. Patients develop these skills one step at a time.

First, they might imagine themselves successfully saying no to their substance of abuse; the next step would be to practice saying no in a controlled setting. With continued practice, patients can resist their substance of addiction whenever they’re presented with temptation.

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A Cost-effective Treatment

Another benefit of CBT is its cost-effectiveness. Some addiction treatment programs require a stay at a residential treatment center, which can be costly. Although CBT is used in many residential programs, this therapeutic technique can be successfully conducted on an outpatient basis. The cost of addiction treatment is significantly lower when CBT is performed in an outpatient setting, and CBT is likely to be covered by health insurance plans. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps bridge the treatment gap and makes effective addiction treatment accessible to a broader group of people.

CBT has many benefits as part of an addiction treatment plan. Thinking positively gives patients the confidence and hope they need to maintain their recovery. Patients’ coping skills during therapy will help them avoid temptation and resist peer pressure. CBT can be performed inpatient or outpatient, making it more accessible to patients who can’t afford a costly residential program.

Like any form of addiction treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy works best when the patient is motivated and focused on their recovery. No addiction treatment can offer guaranteed results, but this powerful form of therapy can make the road to recovery a lot smoother.

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