3 Ways Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help You Overcome Addiction


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Like most diseases, your substance use disorder didn’t develop overnight, which means that a solid road to recovery will involve several different treatments to address both your addiction and your dependency. One of the most effective tools for addressing the addiction side of the equation is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

As part of our extensive recovery program, our team of addiction specialists here at Tres Vistas Recovery encourages using every tool available to beat your addiction, including CBT.

To give you a better idea about how CBT can help you regain control over your life, here are three ways this therapy can help.

1. People, places, and things

If you’re in recovery, you might have heard the phrase “people, places, and things,” which is referring to things that are out of your control. All too often, addiction is fueled by the people, places, and things in your life, and one of the first things we try to get you to understand is that overcoming an addiction is an inside job.

At the core of CBT is the understanding that your emotions and behaviors are a product of your own thoughts, not the world around you. 

For example, you’re an alcoholic at a wedding or business function, and the drinks are flowing. Your thoughts turn negative and you become angry at the situation and the people around you. Next thing you know, you’re picking up a drink out of resentment.

In this scenario, it’s important to recognize that the circumstances are not to blame but how you think and behave in response to them.

Through CBT, you learn new ways to think and behave so that you can greet the same situation with far more confidence.

2. Managing your triggers

While CBT helps you to slowly change your thoughts, this therapy is also important for teaching you how to better manage your triggers. To do this, you learn how to do three things:

  • Recognize your triggers
  • Avoid your triggers when possible
  • Cope with your triggers

By providing you with the tools you need to better manage everyday situations, you can take back the power from your addiction.

3. Addressing underlying mental health issues

Substance use disorders are often a result of an underlying mental health issue — in fact, people with a mental health issue are twice as likely to develop a substance use disorder than the population at large.

If your substance use disorder coincides with other issues, such as anxiety or depression, CBT can go a long way toward helping with both disorders. The same principles of CBT — learning how to better control thoughts and behaviors — apply to problems like anxiety disorders, which means this therapy can help address both diagnoses.

If you’d like to explore how CBT can play a role in your recovery, contact our office in San Juan Capistrano, California, to learn more.

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