Overcoming Addiction: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

cbt for addiction

College students and young adults are the groups that are most susceptible to addiction. Several factors play a role like peer pressure, unemployment and stress. The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that there were 34.1 million young adults from age 18 to 25. Of those young adults:

  • At least one third reported binge drinking
  • At least 2 in 5 young adults used an illicit drug in the past year
  • At least 1 in 7 had a substance abuse disorder
  • At least 1 in 10 young adults report vaping marijuana

Young adults are especially susceptible to addiction because they have not fully developed their coping skills. At this age, they are figuring out the rest of their lives, and this means that they need to find gainful employment, budget their income and deal with the stress of real life. For college students, peer pressure adds another layer.

At this stage of their life, young adults are dealing with anxiety, uncertainty and curiosity. This is leading to alarming addiction rates among this population. 

For young adults dealing with addiction, remember that you are not alone. For the parents of young adults who are struggling, help is nearby.

How Addiction Affects Your Life

Addiction does not just affect the addicted; addiction has an impact on family members, friends and even co-workers, too. Once a person succumbs to this vice, their life changes. While some argue that functioning alcoholics are real, even functioning alcoholics will experience the negative effects of their substance abuse disorder. Being able to keep going about your daily life is one thing. Your body, however, is still being destroyed from the inside. Eventually, your vital organs won’t be able to function, so you’ll begin to experience health problems.

In the worst-case scenario, addiction causes an early death. Those who do not pass away soon, watch their life crumble. Some addicts become homeless because they are unable to function within the parameters of daily life in a society. Substance abuse occurs when the substance of choice overpowers an individual. Nothing else matters. Usually this person cannot earn an income because they become unreliable, which leads to the loss of a place to live.

In 2008, it was estimated that 38% of homeless people were abusing alcohol. 26% were abusing a different substance. The same survey found that someone who becomes homeless due to a different circumstance is at risk for substance abuse. Whether substance abuse leads to homelessness or vice versa, another negative outcome of either is the development of mental health issues.

Many young adults feel like they are indestructible. Some try drugs out of curiosity. The issue is that one hit can sometimes be all it takes to get hooked. There are new scientific studies that show there’s a genetic component to addiction, so some people are far more susceptible to this potentially fatal disease.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

For those who do fall prey to addiction, there are several types of treatments available. A private rehabilitation center can determine the best course of action after a consultation. One treatment we may suggest is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

CBT for addiction was first introduced in the 1960s, and more widely used in the 1970s. It was originally intended to treat individuals who were abusing alcohol. Later it was used to treat individuals who were abusing cocaine. Today, it has been expanded to other disorders such as eating.

What is CBT for Addiction Like?

CBT for addiction is therapy that involves retraining various thoughts and behaviors. Patients are taught how to live in a sober manner again. It also guides patients through their feelings, thoughts, and actions that take people down the path of addiction.

Co-occurring conditions are also addressed like:

  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

During this type of addiction treatment, patients are shown the behavior that led them to addiction is not rational. So, past experiences are explored. Sometimes an addiction is a cry for help. Someone may act out with reckless behavior because they are trying to escape a trauma. Maybe they needed someone to talk to but never figured out how to get that help. This can be an intense experience because negative experiences are relived as many times as needed to lessen their negative effects on a patient.

how to talk to teens about drugs

Like all addiction treatment, the goal is to equip the patient with the tools they need to remain sober once the process comes to an end. Cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction takes it a step further. Any myths about addiction a patient is carrying with them are dispelled. You are taught how to communicate effectively as well as how to handle tough situations that may lead to a relapse.

In some circles, relapse is not the end of the world. Addiction is seen as a chronic illness. Chronic conditions are never cured, but they are managed. Substance abuse is seen in the same manner. The expectation is that post-treatment, you will be triggered, but you are given the tools to manage those triggers. Professionals help you learn how to recognize, avoid, and cope with triggering situations.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for addiction places its focus on learning. Patients learn to avoid situations that put them at risk for relapse. They also learn how to cope with cravings. The biggest emphasis is placed on self-control. Each session is a safe space for the patient. Treatment is customized so that each one can be vulnerable.

When you are ready to get better, Mission Harbor is here to help. We have programs that help parents cope and deal with a child’s addiction in addition to programs designed to specifically meet the needs of young adults.

The facilities at Mission Harbor are staffed with trained experts to best assist patients with their mental health issues. We are capable of dealing with any and all cases with a licensed staff, equipment, and approved techniques. Our mission is to help those who want to help themselves, and we support your decision in seeking help.

Get Help Now

Alcohol addiction is extremely difficult to overcome on your own.. Seek specialized help and let professionals guide you in your recovery.