Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Addiction Treatment - PAX Riverbend

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is Beneficial for Addiction Treatment

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of “talk” therapy frequently utilized in the treatment of addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the psychological principles of behaviorism. In other words, CBT is based upon controlling or modifying negative behaviors or patterns of thought. To explain further, this form of addiction therapy helps patients understand how they think and feel, as well as understanding themselves and the people around them. To break things down even further, behaviorism focuses on the behaviors and actions a person takes, whereas theories of cognition focus on people’s perceptions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy combines these two ideals, allowing individuals to change their behavior by utilizing positive and negative reinforcements with behaviors they would like to increase or decrease.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is known to be extremely beneficial for individuals suffering from addiction. This is because CBT focuses on identifying and changing the links between negative thoughts/feelings/behaviors, as well as modifying unwanted elements like being depressed (or addicted to a substance). CBT is an extremely common form of therapy due to its effectiveness in treating several mental health conditions. Due to this, cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most beneficial forms of therapy in addiction or substance abuse treatment.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a therapy used to treat a wide variety of issues. CBT is typically the preferred type of psychotherapy as it quickly allows individuals to identify and cope with specific challenges. Additionally, cognitive-behavioral therapy generally requires fewer sessions when compared to other forms of therapy due to the structure and effectiveness of this therapy method.

CBT is a useful tool that addresses many emotional challenges. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy may help you:

  • Manage symptoms of mental illness
  • Prevent a relapse of mental illness symptoms
  • Treat a mental illness when medications aren’t a good option
  • Learn techniques for coping with stressful life situations
  • Identify ways to manage emotions
  • Recover from addiction, alcoholism, or substance abuse
  • Resolve relationship conflicts and learn better ways to communicate
  • Cope with grief or loss
  • Overcome emotional trauma related to abuse or violence
  • Cope with a medical illness
  • Manage chronic physical symptoms
  • Serve in dual diagnosis treatment

Cognitive-behavioral therapy treats an array of mental health disorders. Mental health disorders that are typically treated with CBT include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Phobias
  • PTSD
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Substance use disorders
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sexual disorders

In some cases, individuals receiving CBT also require medication and additional forms of therapy, depending on the severity of their mental health condition or substance use disorder. If you or a loved one are suffering from a mental disorder, addiction, or co-occurring disorders, cognitive-behavioral therapy may be right for you.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help Those Suffering from Addiction?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps those suffering from addiction to recognize their triggers to use substances. This is extremely important because many individuals with substance use disorder are unaware of the underlying causes (or triggers) of their addiction and substance abuse. CBT allows individuals to identify thoughts, feelings, behaviors, experiences, or even people who trigger their desire to use drugs or alcohol. As a result, individuals can begin to avoid triggering situations, allowing them to reduce their desire to abuse substances.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches patients how to break the connection between a trigger and an addiction behavior through the utilization of a variety of methods. For example, CBT focuses heavily on incorporating activities, homework, and lessons that teach patients how to redirect negative patterns of thought before they become actions. For example, if a patient routinely uses drugs to reduce stress, the therapist will teach them alternative ways to self-soothe, rather than self-medicating.

Another major benefit of cognitive-behavioral therapy for individuals with addiction issues is that they can utilize their learned skills in other areas of their lives. To explain, it is extremely common for individuals with addiction to have a co-occurring mental health condition such as depression or bipolar disorder. Fortunately, the skills learned in CBT are applicable to the management of symptoms stemming from a variety of mental health conditions. In other words, by utilizing CBT, individuals can essentially kill two birds with one stone, treating their addiction and their co-occurring disorder.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Offered at PAX Riverbend

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy commonly used in the treatment of addictions and other mental health disorders. Individuals suffering from addiction should seek help in the form of a professional and licensed addiction treatment center that includes the option of CBT therapy. At PAX Riverbend, our group of experienced medical staff creates an individualized treatment plan in order to decipher which forms of treatment, therapy, and counseling are needed to create the most effective treatment plan possible. Our comprehensive treatment plans include vital forms of therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, individualized talk therapy, and group counseling. If you or a loved one suffer from addiction, mental health conditions, or a combination of the two – contact PAX Riverbend today to learn more about how to recover.

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.