Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Dual Diagnosis

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Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Dual Diagnosis

When it comes to therapies for issues of addiction and psychological problems there can be a variety of different approaches. One of the most common therapies used in treatment for dual diagnosis is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT as it is sometimes called. CBT can be effective in treating a wide range of disorders including addiction and many of the psychological issues that are often associated with it.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can provide a foundation for people in dual diagnosis treatment to begin finding a sense of understanding about their thoughts, feelings, and actions so that they are less compelled to engage in substance abuse. With the help of this type of therapy, patients in treatment can reduce some of their symptoms and develop more control over their cravings in order to remain sober.

Change Thoughts and Behavior
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the concept that our thoughts and feelings play a fundamental role in our behavior. For example, if someone thinks many negative thoughts about themselves or believes in pessimistic ideas they might be more prone to depression or anxiety than someone with more positive thoughts. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to teach the patient that while they may not be able to control the world around them they can control how they react to and interpret things that happen in their lives.

For someone with both an addiction and a mental illness, cognitive behavior therapy can be effective in helping them address the types of thoughts and feelings that likely contribute to both problems. Someone with a negative view of the world, deep-seated fears, or issues of low self-esteem might turn to drug abuse to deal with these problems. Their thoughts can strongly affect their emotional state as well causing symptoms of different mood disorders.

Self-Analysis and Learning New Skills
In order to change their behavior, CBT can be used to approach a patient’s many faulty beliefs and confront them as erroneous. A therapist can help the patient identify their problematic beliefs and see how these are affecting their life. The client will learn to become more introspective and self-aware so that they know when they are experiencing a thought that is irrational or harmful to their own well-being. As the patient becomes more familiar with understanding their own state of mind, the therapist can then focus on their behavior and how to change their actions.

For addicts, their behavior is often self-medicating, isolating, or engaging in self-destructive actions. Through therapy, an addict can learn to practice new skills that will be useful in real-life situations so that they develop more positive coping mechanisms. CBT gives them a chance to practice how they will react to situations that could be triggering or lead to a relapse. They will learn not to turn to drugs or behaviors that lead to substance abuse as a solution to life’s problems. Therapy sessions are a gradual process that uses incremental steps eventually leading to lasting behavior changes.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy not only treats addiction but it can also help to improve a wide range of disorders including anxiety, phobias, and depression. Depression and anxiety are some of the most common psychological disorders associated with addiction so CBT can prove highly effective in treating patients with a dual diagnosis. This type of treatment can focus on specific goals allowing patients to work on their most difficult issues. Because CBT is built on self-analysis it can be difficult at first for many addicts who are still dealing with a sense of denial. Over time, however, this type of therapy can be beneficial for helping them break through barriers to their recovery and work toward a positive outcome in their treatment.