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California CBT and DBT for Addiction Treatment

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy in California

Drug addiction is a common and serious problem. It’s important to seek treatment early on since drug use can cause changes in the brain. Keep in mind that these changes are typically long-lasting, which is why relapse is common. People struggling with addiction can learn how to manage your addiction with therapy for addiction.

For many individuals, addiction occurs because of mental health problems. To account for these issues, many treatment facilities provide mental health treatment to assist in recovery. Two of the more effective types of addiction therapy include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). This guide provides you with everything you should know about these two therapies and the benefits they offer.

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What You Should Know About CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a kind of mental health therapy. It’s a powerful form of addiction treatment. This form of therapy educates recovering individuals on how to connect their thoughts and feelings with their actions. During therapy, patients learn how their thoughts and actions can impact the recovery process. The co-occurring mental health disorders that CBT can treat during an addiction treatment program include:

  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

How CBT Works

During addiction treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients to understand that harmful actions and emotions aren’t rational. The harmful behaviors and thoughts could be the result of environmental factors or past experiences. Therapists who practice cognitive behavioral therapy help individuals identify negative thoughts that may play a part in their addiction.

Many individuals cope with repetitive negative thoughts and actions by abusing drugs or drinking too much alcohol. Identifying negative memories often makes it easier to think about them without getting triggered. Over time, positive behaviors and thoughts can replace negative ones.

Obtaining CBT During Addiction Treatment

Negative thoughts are typically the main cause of anxiety and depression disorders. Co-occurring disorders mean a person has a mental illness and a substance or alcohol use disorder. CBT tackles both.

When a person has negative thoughts and experiences symptoms of depression or anxiety, they’re more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol. When used during addiction treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy can:

  • Teach proper communication skills
  • Help get rid of insecurities that contribute to addiction
  • Provide tools that help elevate mood

A key benefit of using cognitive behavioral therapy is that it helps recovering individuals deal with their triggers. Over time, the recovering individual will learn skills for recognizing, avoiding, and coping with the triggers that lead to drug abuse. Recovering individuals use CBT techniques inside and outside of therapy.

Techniques Used During This Therapy

There are a variety of CBT techniques that can be used during addiction treatment, which extend to:

  • Behavioral experiments – These are exercises that are designed to contrast certain negative thoughts with positive ones. The point of this exercise is to determine which type of thought is better at changing behavior. Certain individuals respond more positively to one mantra over another.
  • Thought records – Many people who are recovering from drug addiction will scrutinize their negative thoughts to disprove them or support them. Thought records help recovering individuals think healthier and more balanced thoughts.
  • Pleasant activity schedule – During this technique, recovering individuals learn how to create lists of fun activities that can enhance daily routines. These activities reduce negative emotions and thoughts, which lessens the likelihood of taking drugs or alcohol.

What You Should Know About DBT

Dialectical behavior therapy was first developed to assist individuals who were having suicidal thoughts. The primary purpose of DBT is to give patients the tools to cope with their addiction and manage stressful situations. Any patient who suffers from a mental illness is more likely to self-medicate by abusing drugs. The main aspects of DBT include improving self-image, enhancing coping skills, and strengthening communication skills.

How DBT is Used with Addiction Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy helps manage cravings. During therapy, patients learn emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness. All of these skills are key to recovery. The three facets of DBT that help discourage drug use include:

  • Strengthening confidence and self-esteem to remain sober when stress increases
  • Helping recovering individuals find support groups and environments that actively discourage continued drug use
  • Push recovering individuals to get rid of triggers that could cause relapse, which include everything from negative emotions to drug paraphernalia

Primary Techniques Used During DBT

The main techniques that are used during DBT include:

  • Individual therapy – This therapy helps individuals apply the things they learn during DBT in stressful situations
  • Phone coaching – This coaching offers an extra level of support when the patient is not at the therapist’s office
  • Skills training – A form of group counseling that teaches coping and communication skills that can be applied to an everyday routine
  • Team consultations – These consultations focus on providing the highest quality care to patients who are treatment-resistant

Other Treatments Used Alongside DBT

The majority of treatment facilities for drug addiction use DBT as one facet of their treatment programs. DBT is designed to help recovering individuals overcome their addictions. It can be found at inpatient rehab centers and outpatient facilities alike. This therapy is most effective when combined with:

  • Community reinforcement therapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

Which Type of Therapy for Addiction is Right for You?

There are many different types of addiction therapy to select from. The two main forms of therapy available during addiction treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. While it’s possible to obtain just one of these treatments, some benefit from both.

Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches people how to change their negative thoughts and actions into positive ones. On the other hand, dialectical behavior therapy teaches individuals how to manage stressful situations and reduce potential triggers. Contact us today to learn more about the addiction recovery options available to you.

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