CBT has previously been used to mainly treat depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. However, Dr Donna Grant, Medical Director at The Causeway Retreat, sees CBT as increasingly valuable in treating alcoholism and drug dependency, especially as part of an overall programme of recovery.
CBT can help you to change how you think ('Cognitive') and what you do ('Behaviour'). These changes can help you to feel better. Unlike some of the other talking treatments, it focuses on the 'here and now' problems and difficulties. Instead of focusing on the causes of your past symptoms, CBT looks for ways to improve your state of mind in the present. In the treatment for alcohol and drug dependency, the aim is to recognise situations, problems and behaviours in which you are most likely to drink or take drugs. You may not be able to change these circumstances, but you can change how you think about them which in turn will lead to a change in how you feel and behave.
CBT can help you to make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts to make it easier to see how they are connected and how they are affecting you: these parts are a situation (problem or event) followed by thoughts, emotions, physical feelings and actions. Each area can affect the other. How you think about a problem affects how you react physically and emotionally. And it can make a big difference to what you do about it.
At The Causeway Retreat they have found CBT treatment for addiction to be an integral part of a recovery programme and their addiction treatment experts will continue to introduce it along with other treatment methods.