How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Prevent Relapse
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Many former addicts find themselves nervous at the end of their detox program. They fear going back to their lives and the possibility of relapse. Indeed, many addicted individuals are too disheartened to even enter therapy after failed attempts to break free. However, with the proper tools it is possible to anticipate and prevent relapse.
By preparing for situations that might lead to relapse, many former addicts find the tools they need to navigate the everyday. Where addiction was formerly used as a coping mechanism for the stresses of everyday life, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help replace it with effective coping mechanisms.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT) is an evidence-based treatment that helps prevent relapse. It gives patients the tools they need to overcome situations that may trigger their desire for drugs or alcohol. As part of a treatment plan, many individuals find that they can go on to live productive lives apart from their addiction for the long term.
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is based on the premise that addiction is: 1. Caused by an unhelpful way of thinking, and 2. Based on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior. CBT’s aim, then, is to learn better, more effective ways of coping.
CBT is a hands-on, practical approach to therapy. It identifies unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviors. A trained psychologist works with the patient on an individual basis to find ways to change the thought patterns and/or behaviors to more effective ones. It is also a brief, limited form of therapy that ends once the patient has the tools they need to cope with everyday life.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a effective in treating:
- Mood disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Sleep Disorders
- Substance use addiction
How Does CBT Prevent Relapse?
CBT uses a two-pronged approach to address why the patient feel the need to turn to addiction. Rather than trying to uncover hidden pathologies or reasons why the individual is addicted, CBT faces the problems head-on with providing useful behaviors to replace or counteract the negative one.
First, CBT treatment seeks to change thought patterns. The psychologist and patient discuss and recognize unhealthy thinking patterns. By uncovering false or unhelpful thoughts, they can evaluate them in reality and discuss how they are unrealistic and lead to destructive behaviors.
Another way that CBT works to change thought patterns is developing problem-solving skills. As much as we would like otherwise, individuals on the road to recovery will face difficult situations as they transition back to everyday life. Rather than having a victim mentality and letting situations overwhelm them, CBT allows them to take control of the situation and find ways to fix it.
By gaining perspective and learning to problem solve, CBT seeks to instill confidence. By gaining confidence in their abilities, those on the road to recovery find that they can face situations after they leave detox. CBT develops the self-assurance necessary to allow them to cope without the need for addiction.
Next, CBT seeks to instill helpful behaviors to replace the ones that led to addiction. Some of these include facing problematic issues instead of running away, learning stress management techniques and role-playing to anticipate potentially stressful situations. All of these techniques work together to replace the role that addiction had in managing life stress.
Individuals that have a history of addiction will often feel the pull to fall into old patterns long after detox and treatment. However, using the techniques learned in CBT allows them to have successful ways of overcoming their cravings. These tools will continue to be useful long after treatment has ended.
Not only is CBT practical, and hands-on, but it is personally tailored to your needs. Every person is unique and CBT recognizes that successful techniques for one may not work for everyone. By working with a trained professional, those who struggle with addiction can target their specific unhelpful patterns and learn the coping techniques that work best for them.
The situations that trigger a relapse are individual and CBT helps to pinpoint the specific mal-adaptive thoughts and behaviors that make addiction so attractive to each individual. As a result, CBT is effective in helping to prevent relapse.
CBT at Hawaii Island Recovery
Not only does CBT help to prevent relapse, but it gives the tools needed for your most effective life. We here at Hawaii Island Recovery are not just looking to help you overcome addiction, but to give you your best life possible.
As a part of a comprehensive treatment program, our professionals specialize in CBT to make your recovery life-long. We know your journey to recovery does not end at detox and give you the comprehensive tools you can use long afterwards to prevent relapse.