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Addiction Recovery and Treatment

Cognitive Drug Rehab

Understanding Cognitive Drug Rehab

A person who has been addicted to drugs and alcohol will find that the road towards recovery is long and challenging. Even after the addict has gone through the physical detoxification process, many still relapse in their old addictive behavior because they have not yet learned how to replace addictive behaviors with new ones that will help them kick the habit for good.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) seeks to change this. In this form of psychotherapy, primary importance is given on the power that our thinking has on our feelings and actions. It is used as part of an overall recovery program that basically seeks to change how a person thinks about a particular situation and thus alter their feelings and behavior towards it. This focused approach teaches addicts how to spot situations where they will be more inclined to use drugs or drink alcohol, avoid these circumstances as much as possible and learn how to effectively cope with stresses, problems and issues that are related to drug and alcohol abuse.

Elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is usually used as a component in a substance abuse recovery program. It has been evaluated extensively and has been found to be effective in helping those addicted to cocaine. It has also been used together with other recovery programs that treat alcohol addiction and other types of drug abuse. The following are some features of CBT:

1. It is a short-term treatment method. Counselors usually employ CBT for anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks. They also inform the patient at the outset that this form of therapy will end. That date will be a mutual agreement between the client and the therapist.

2. Therapists teach clients how to accomplish their goal of complete drug recovery. The client, not the therapist, determines what the goal is. The therapist then directs the client on ways of thinking and behaving that will enable them to accomplish their objectives not by telling them what to do but how to do it.

3. It is adapted to various treatment settings. CBT can be employed in inpatient or outpatient programs as well as with one-on-one counseling sessions and group sessions. It can also be used with different kinds of treatment modalities, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, family therapy and pharmacotherapy.

4. It is the joint effort of the therapist and his client. The role of the therapist is that of a listener and teacher who encourages the client every step of the way. They must also believe that their client has the capability to learn and can change because of the things they learn in therapy. The client, meanwhile, honestly expresses his thoughts to the therapist and learns from him. More importantly, he is the one who implements what he learns in real life. When this collaborative effort isn’t practiced, CBT is not effective.

5. It assumes that behavioral and emotional reactions are learned. Thus, when a person undergoes CBT, he does so with the goal of unlearning all negative behaviors that led them to the addiction in the first place. CBT then teaches them new and healthier ways of acting that will result to better behavior. In order to drive home the lessons, therapists give patients reading assignments to do as well as tell them to practice the concepts they’ve learned after each sessions.

How a Typical Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Sessions Works

A typical CBT session takes an hour or 60 minutes to complete and employs the 20-20-20 rule. For the first 20 minutes, the patient does most of the talking. The therapist will only ask the patient about his drug or alcohol abuse, the cravings he feels and the situations he was placed in since the last session that tested his resolve. The therapist also tries to find out whether the patient was able to practice the skills he learned and whether it was difficult and if his strategies worked.

In the next 20 minutes, the therapist introduces a new topic. The therapist may talk about what strategies to employ when being offered a drug or teach new skills to cope with a potential relapse. The therapist will also ask the patient to discuss the topic as it relates to them. They may also practice the skill taught in the lesson during the session. The therapist develops the skill topics based on the needs of each patient.

In the last 20 minutes, both the therapist and client will talk about the topic. They will think about practice exercises for the next sessions and predict situations where the client’s resolve will be tested. Through this structured and educational format, the addict will hopefully be able to learn new behavioral patterns and unlearn old ones that led to their addictive behavior.


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