Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an Approach to Treat Addiction

August 14 20:02 2015

Throughout time, and across cultures, there are a variety of perspectives and beliefs on mental illness that influence the popular and common treatments offered in that era.
All treatment or therapy programs that offer to treat addiction are not equal.

Throughout time, and across cultures, there are a variety of perspectives and beliefs on mental illness that influence the popular and common treatments offered in that era.  For majority of patients, the greatest benefits can be gained with a methodical and evidence-based approach to therapy that works hard to bring change in perspective and behavior.  For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is highly effective in treating addiction, because it recognizes that there is an intellectual learning process that underlies addiction.  In fact, no matter if the patient has been recommended or required to attend treatment as part of a court order, or if the patient has self-admitted, the results of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for addiction are statistically equivalent, and are also unvaried across gender and race. 

The emphasis on the personal intellect of the addict being the source of successful recovery is both profound and genius.  An alcoholic or abuser of cocaine is thinking clearly, quickly and often about the next fix, and often has to be able to respond with creativity and speed in order to conceal the addiction.  Attempting to protect a personal relationship, a job or even a self-concept from the truth of an addiction requires high-level planning and execution.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy not only recognizes, but leverages, the mental capacity of an addict, and is very effective in bringing individual and personalized therapy into junction with a pharmaceutical or group treatment platform.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is especially suited to treatment platforms that are relatively short in duration, and focus.  It offers structure, gamification or goal orientation, and self-management skills that are the foundation of the physical and mental recovery process.  Empirical evidence suggests that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the best resources for fostering long term recovery in a patient suffering from addiction.  However, there are some patients who do not benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy without some prior intervention.  Those who suffer from psychotic disorders or bipolar disorders, and who are not under a successful and stabilizing medical treatment program with secure living arrangements and a social support network are not great candidates for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  Multiple, concurrent treatment for addictions to alcohol, cocaine and marijuana are acceptable adaptations to the traditional CBT platform, but outside of these specific substances, concurrent treatment is not recommended under CBT.  Finally, those who have medical issues which are not stabilized are not considered a candidate to go through the relatively brief, focused and complex process of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for addiction.

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