What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and does it work with substance abuse treatment?
Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT, is a widely studied approach that has been found to be effective in treating a variety of problems, including managing alcoholic abuse. It is relatively straight forward approach to therapy that involves the development of skills that can help individuals cope more effectively and improve relationships. There are many different individual techniques within the CBT system, some of which are particularly useful in treating substance abuse. These include: Cognitive Restructuring or Disputing Irrational Beliefs, Emotion Regulation, Mindfulness Practice, and Moderate Drinking Training for Problem Drinkers. Other helpful skills for substance abuse problems include Relaxation, Communication Skills Training, and Relapse Prevention.
Who is appropriate for this type of substance abuse treatment?
Individuals who are experiencing life problems due to their alcohol or drug use are appropriate for this type of outpatient, weekly therapy. The substance use may be impairing relationships, job performance, health, or a general sense of well-being. For those who require detoxification due to withdrawal symptoms, it is essential that a period of closely monitored inpatient treatment and/or a period of residential treatment be completed prior to outpatient therapy.
Do I have to go to AA meetings while in therapy?
That is completely up to you! Many individuals state that AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) meetings are helpful when trying to stop drinking, as they provide a positive support group. However, AA is not for everyone and is not a requirement while in substance abuse treatment sessions at Orenstein Solutions. We can recommend other supportive, psycho-educational groups for those interested, such as First Step, a family approach for teens with substance abuse issues.
Once my drinking (or drug use) is under control, will my substance abuse treatment be complete?
This question again depends on each person. For some, the substance use is the primary problem, and relationships, job performance, and overall mental and physical health improve once that is under control. For others, the drinking is an unhealthy coping skill or “self-medication” for underlying issues of depression, anxiety, and general problems with regulating emotions. These issues can also be addressed with coping skill development from Cognitive Behavior therapies, and they will be treated along with the substance abuse issues, as treating one will have a positive effect on the other.
Is there any hope for me to have lasting behavior change?
Yes! It does take hard work and a willingness to practice strategies outside of the therapy session, including journaling, monitoring of behavior, and challenging your own “self talk;” however, there is research that demonstrates the effectiveness of the above behavior change strategies to develop a moderate drinking or an abstinence approach. Relapse prevention strategies and periodic therapy “booster sessions” can increase one’s chance of success even more. The strategies will help you cope with your triggers to problem drinking, so you can effectively cope with strong emotions, social situations, stress and conflict without self-medicating or abusing alcohol or drugs.
We provide services in the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area. We invite you to call us for a 15-minute free consultation to discuss any questions and concerns you may have about substance abuse treatment and our practice.