Treating the Cognitive Components of Addiction

Treating the Cognitive Components of AddictionAs understanding of the psychological functioning of the brain has increased in recent years, so has the arsenal of strategic treatment options available to addiction recovery programs and therapists. One significant advance in the understanding of how the brain works relative to addiction has to do with the concept of cognition and understanding.

Identifying the Cognitive Components of Addiction

According to cognitive behavioral therapists, addictive behaviors are driven by faulty or destructive thoughts of which the addict is often not aware. A variety of types of thoughts can be behind drug and alcohol abuse, including the following:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Personal insecurity or fear
  • Personality disorders
  • Unresolved stressors created by previous trauma
  • Impulse control disorders

Substance abuse often evolves as a means of coping with stressful experiences or thoughts through self-medication. Drugs and alcohol may provide temporary relief from these psychological disorders and the brain will often begin to crave that relief on a level that is more powerful than rational thought or will.

Cognitive Behavior Treatment

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) describes a range of therapeutic techniques that focus on a few key goals, including the following:

  • Helping the patient identify his faulty thought patterns
  • Creating healthy alternative thought patterns
  • Developing specialized coping and communication skills
  • Preparing the patient for long-term recovery

Within the CBT family of therapies are several different approaches to this type of treatment. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of CBT that incorporates non-religious aspects of the Buddhist concept of mindfulness into the thought analysis process. Through meditative and reflective skill development, therapists help their patients to identify stressful situations and triggers and then to tolerate them without succumbing to the corresponding behavioral temptations.

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help

When treating addiction, CBT is often effective as an ingredient of a larger comprehensive rehabilitation program. It may serve as the personal counseling component of rehab and be augmented by a variety of treatment tools, including the following:

  • Medically supervised detox
  • Diagnosis of any co-occurring psychological disorders
  • Support group meetings
  • Addiction education
  • 12-step programs
  • Spiritual care
  • Relaxation skills such as yoga or meditation
  • Introduction to healthy diversions such as art therapy

Finding Treatment for the Cognitive Components of Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please call our toll-free helpline now. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be able to help you find recovery. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have about CBT and how it can help addiction. We can help you find the best treatment options for your situation. Please call now.