Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is often used in the treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. It’s a therapeutic approach designed to support changes in behavior by anticipating and coping with problems. It’s known to be effective in preventing relapse. It’s part of relapse prevention therapy.
Relapse is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the act or an instance of backsliding, worsening, or subsiding” or “a recurrence of symptoms of a disease after a period of improvement.” Simply stated, it’s when a drug addict or alcoholic begins using drugs or alcohol again. Studies indicate relapse prevention therapies increase the odds of success.
Can CBT Prevent Relapse?
The three largest triggers to relapse are negative emotional states, interpersonal conflict, and social pressure. CBT helps recovering drug addicts and alcoholics create effective coping strategies to deal with high-risk situations. As more and more high risk situations are successfully navigated, the odds of relapse actually decrease over time. Without those newly developed coping strategies, the recovering addict is likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidence-based form of therapy. It may integrate mindfulness, acceptance, and validation. It helps the patient identify and unlearn addictive behavior and replace this with healthier behavior that puts them on the path towards recovery. The therapeutic practitioner utilizes the best approach based on the client and their unique needs.
CBT is a form of psychotherapy. It addresses the underlying issues of why a person developed a physical dependence on substances. It aids patients in replacing their addictive behaviors with positive ones. One of the first steps, called functional analysis, helps patients identify thoughts, feelings, and circumstances that have led to drug or alcohol abuse in the past. This can help identify high-risk situations that could lead to future relapse.
Skills training is the next step. Patients come up with new, healthier options to drug use. For example, if they used drugs to deal with social anxiety, they may create a list of other alternatives to deal with social situations that may trigger anxiety. They may use mindfulness strategies, bringing a sober friend along, or repeating a calming statement.
Relapse is common in the journey of drug and alcohol recovery. It’s not inevitable. If you or someone you love is recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction, CBT can help reduce the likelihood of relapse. Give it a try.
One step at a time, one day at a time, you can recover. At Design For Change, we offer refuge to those seeking to win against addiction because there is freedom in recovery. There is hope. Call us today to learn more about our long-term treatment programs and recovery services creating change, one step at a time. (877) 267-3646