You’re likely to hear the term Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), sometimes known simply as Cognitive Therapy, used quite frequently these days. With more and more studies coming out about CBT and its beneficial, non-invasive application to a wide variety of mental and substance abuse disorders, this form of treatment is receiving a lot of attention.
What is CBT?
The way that any individual views themselves and the world around them carries significant consequences. An estimated 9 percent of Americans suffer some form of depression, and 27 percent of those people self-medicate with drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. Substance abuse creates an even longer cycle of sadness.
Simply put, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy links a person’s thoughts to their emotions and behavior. This therapy teaches people how to think and act in a more positive way. It provides helpful tools and coping mechanisms they can use to revise their thought processes and stop destructive behaviors.
What Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Be Used For?
CBT is used to treat a variety of mental health and substance use disorders. The most recent news regarding CBT is a study performed on patients suffering from schizophrenia. Published in February of 2014, researchers found that CBT reduced the number of painful psychiatric symptoms that schizophrenic patients suffered. They further noted that for patients refusing to take antipsychotic drugs, CBT might be an acceptable and safe method of treatment.
Another study, released in January, showed how Cognitive Therapy is effective in treating insomnia in cancer patients. In fact, CBT is so adaptable, physicians are now using it for a variety of treatable conditions.
Here’s a short list of conditions where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has proven successful:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Anxiety in adults and children
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Weight loss
- Addiction treatment
- Eating Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The applications for this type of therapy will continue to grow because it is non-invasive, cost-effective, and so extremely versatile. CBT is quickly becoming a cornerstone of non 12 step treatment facilities for substance abuse addiction.
CBT and the Treatment of Addiction
More than 8.9 million people in this country have what’s referred to as a dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorder, both a substance abuse problem and a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. This is a complex problem because both of these conditions complicate the other.
CBT is particularly effective in treating patients with a dual diagnosis. After a thorough physical and psychiatric examination, a qualified physician can administer the proper medications, if needed based on a person’s diagnosis, and help balance the brain’s chemistry. This is essential because until underlying mental disorders are discovered and treated, it’s incredibly difficult for people to see a full recovery.
Cognitive therapy can be used in conjunction with or without medication for treatment. Studies have shown that using cognitive therapy in combination with medication increases the efficacy and results in a shorter duration of medication use.
When a co-occurring disorder is not present, cognitive therapy has shown to be very successful at treating substance abuse and addiction because it provides life skills, like improving self-esteem, establishing a pattern of positive thoughts and feelings, resuming normal, healthy activities and problem solving techniques. All of these tools are effective in the short-term, and also prove useful for a lifetime.
This adds up to a longer, healthier and happier life for anyone suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, or a wide variety of psychological disorders.