CBT for alcoholism aims to address the root causes of alcohol addiction so that people can manage the urge to drink by changing their thoughts, behaviours, and attitudes.
CBT is often used as one type of therapy in a broader recovery program, which might include detox, other types of therapy and counselling, and lifestyle changes to diet, exercise, and more.
It is just one tool that can be used to treat alcoholism but has been shown to be an effective one.
What Is CBT?
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a talking therapy that is used to treat a range of mental and emotional health problems.
The aim of CBT is to provide goals for the patient to work towards, helping them to change their thought patterns and create new concepts of understanding. It also teaches patients new skills to help them avoid returning to their past behaviours.
Patients get the chance to practise their skills in a controlled environment before applying them in a more general way. When used to treat alcoholism, it can be an effective treatment alone but is even better when combined with a complete treatment program.
CBT Treatment for Alcoholism
Looking at the relationship between CBT and alcoholism, we can see that CBT is used to address the problems that cause people to drink.
CBT is also used to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and various other mental health conditions. CBT is an effective treatment for alcoholism and depression together and can be used to treat people with alcoholism and other disorders.
When used to treat alcoholism, the goals of CBT include teaching people to recognise when they are most likely to drink and how to avoid these situations, as well as coping with other behaviours and problems that may lead to them drinking.
The therapy helps people to change their thoughts and behaviours so that they can resist drinking and deal with their problems in a healthier manner.
CBT Techniques for Alcoholism
CBT for alcohol use disorder includes using a variety of techniques. CBT is goal-oriented and provides the opportunity to learn and practise new skills before applying them in the real world, and so is delivered as a set course of treatment.
Unlike some other open-ended therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy is usually given in around 12 to 16 sessions. More therapy can be provided if required, but the aim is to reach the patient’s goals by the end of the course of treatment.
Some of the things that a therapist might help with during CBT include recognising when a situation could lead to drinking, planning how to leave such situations or change circumstances, and learning about both internal and external triggers.
Clients can plan other activities to engage in that don’t involve alcohol, and learn to cope with personal problems that could lead to substance abuse.
CBT is an effective treatment for alcoholism, especially when part of a complete rehab programme.