Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for drug addicts
People addicted to drugs often find it difficult to change harmful or even life-threatening patterns in behavior. That includes the abuse of substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids and compulsive habits such as gambling and sexual behavior. Most people believe that drug users have limited control over their actions due to the changes in brain structure from long-term drug use, leading to a greater chance of relapse after rehab. However, new research suggests that CBT could be key in changing the brains of addicts and possibly even preventing relapse. Here are five ways that CBT can help:
1) It helps to break down harmful patterns of behavior and thought
One way that CBT does this is by helping people look at their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes surrounding addiction. That includes examining why they started using drugs in the first place and how the drug has affected them. By understanding these factors, people can develop healthier behaviors and actions when dealing with triggers for drug use such as stress, loneliness, or boredom. Further, it teaches people how to evaluate what they think would happen if they were to return to their old habits – whether losing loved ones or getting caught with drugs – and focus on any positive outcomes that can come from staying sober.
2) It helps with the emotional aspects of addiction
Most addicts often feel more than just cravings for drugs, which is why CBT has shown to be beneficial in helping them cope with these difficult emotions. For example, studies show that people who received CBT treatment were more likely to hold down a job and less likely to abuse substances than those who had undergone 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). That might be because CBT emphasizes identifying feelings and making amends for past behavior, whereas traditional treatments teach addicts not to do drugs again.
2) It improves insight into destructive behaviors
A key factor behind substance abuse disorder is the lack of insight displayed by addicts. That is because some substances, particularly opioids, cause the brain to release dopamine, making people feel good. Over time, they can become more focused on these feelings than stopping their addictive behavior, even if it does not provide any long-term benefits. CBT gives addicts the opportunity to reflect on how their actions affect their lives and others around them, including family members or friends who used to rely on them for support before drug use took over.
4) It helps with attending rehabilitation programs
Most addicts find it difficult to attend group therapy sessions at rehab facilities, so CBT can help them get out of this rut. Although fewer studies show the effectiveness of individual CBT therapy compared to group therapy, there are still some cases where the former has been useful. That includes helping addicts become more open with other people about their drug problems and reducing cravings.
5) It encourages positive thinking
When an addict finally stops using drugs after a long struggle, they might be left feeling depressed from the changes that have taken place in their lives. That is because drugs often make people feel good due to the dopamine released by the brain, and for this reason, it can cause withdrawal symptoms once use stops. CBT helps them deal with this by encouraging people to think more positively about themselves and their future so that they do not feel like reaching out for drugs is the only option available.