black and white woman with illusion of head shaking back and forth

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Substance Abuse

An effective treatment method for drug and alcohol addiction is “talk therapy” or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This clinically proven substance use therapy is often used to help drug and alcohol abuse patients suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and trauma. CBT was created by psychological experts to help clients reconstruct negative thought patterns and improve their overall well-being and quality of life. Studies have shown that patients in CBT treatment have an overwhelmingly higher success rate of long-term sobriety and addiction recovery.


Request a Call

Beautiful portrait of stern, unhappy woman

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and how does it work to help those suffering from a Substance Use Disorder?

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on altering negative thoughts and emotions in order to understand and manage future difficult situations more effectively. This type of behavioral therapy is often used to help treat patients with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. The goal of CBT is to give patients the knowledge and tools to better manage stressful life situations associated with their substance addiction.

In CBT patients learn how to identify negative thoughts triggered by their addiction and how to implement effective coping strategies in order to avoid using, avoid cravings and avoid any negative consequences associated with the substance addiction. Patients learn how to healthily deal with negative emotions, reverse maladaptive thought patterns and create the best coping strategies for turning negative thoughts into constructive self-dialogue.

This type of substance use therapy is based on several base principles. The first is that psychological issues stem from flawed ways of thinking and learning how to recognize this is the first step in healing. The second is psychological issues can also develop from learned patterns and behaviors that foster negativity. The last principle of CBT treatment states that those suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders can learn better alternative strategies for coping with distressing situations and ultimately relieving themselves of the negative symptoms associated with substance addiction.

CBT is generally overseen by a licensed therapist anywhere from 2-3 times per week depending on the needs of each individual patient. Sessions will focus on working through trauma, anxiety, and self-destructive habits that are often present in addiction, early sobriety and throughout the duration of addiction recovery. Much of the work done in CBT puts emphasis on the patient’s current life situation and how to strategically create a positive future moving forward.

History of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

According to the Beck Institute of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania Dr. Aaron T. Beck, was a leading pioneer in CBT in the 1960’s. Dr. Beck studied the prominence of “automatic thoughts” in people suffering from depression and found ways to measure a depressed individual’s knee-jerk thought patterns that may be contributing to their mental illness. CBT stems from the idea that internal mental processes can be observed and interpreted through external behavior. 

The Beck Institute of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy states that CBT’s base principle believes the way individuals perceive a situation is more closely connected to their emotional reactions rather than the actual situation itself. By studying these patterns in cognitive thinking, Dr. Beck was able to identify certain maladaptive patterns in a person’s thought process. By pinpointing where a patient’s thoughts become negative and destructive, clinicians are better able to help them learn new coping skills and eventually overcome their substance addictions permanently.

side profile of girl who is struggling and alone

What are the benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? 

As one of the most popular forms of substance use treatment therapy, CBT can be very beneficial for those suffering from a drug and alcohol addiction as well as any co-occurring mental health disorders.

  • CBT helps clients identify destructive and unhealthy thought patterns, habits and more.
  • CBT helps both the patient and therapist form a relationship working together for the benefit of the patient’s recovery.
  • CBT helps work on multiple mental health conditions simultaneously.
  • CBT helps patients deal with grief and loss, traumatic events, relationship issues, and various other distressing life events.

In some unique cases, CBT can also help manage chronic physical symptoms.

Who can benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treatments? 

CBT is very effective for patients who experience co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite not always being a catalyst for each other, these mental health disorders often occur alongside drug and alcohol addictions and is a popular form of substance abuse therapy. CBT can help patients identify and find resolutions for any underlying mental health issues that may be directly or indirectly linked to their substance addiction. Like any type of therapy, CBT can only be successful if the patient is willing to actively contribute, commit and work on their issues in and outside of therapy sessions.

Under what condition is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy used?

CBT is often a great tool for the treatment of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety as well as substance abuse addictions. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches people how to better manage their distressing emotions whether it is related to a substance use disorder or any other mental health disorders. It is a very popular treatment method used to help patients suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders because it helps both clinicians and patients understand the root cause of their substance addiction and the best strategy on how to overcome the difficult obstacles on the journey to recovery.

What type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy method is right for me?

CBT has become a leading treatment in helping patients suffering from substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. Therapy helps both physicians and patients better understand any underlying causes of their addiction and how to create an effective treatment plan customized to each individual needs. Rehab clinicians utilize various forms of CBT including acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, multimodal therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, and trauma focused behavioral therapy.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

This type of substance treatment therapy teaches mindfulness skills to help patients change their behavior patterns to match their new values of sobriety and wellness. By recognizing and addressing their challenges, patients will be able to make positive actions that support a healthier well being free from substance addiction. There are a few core principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) that are beneficial to treating patients with substance use disorders. ACT helps patients build and cultivate actions and behaviors consistent to what is most important to them during their recovery journey. ACT helps patients accept their emotional experience as part of the learning process in developing new behaviors and habits. ACT also helps patients take initiatives to commit to new changes moving forward on their journey of long term sobriety.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on problem solving and acceptance. DBT is generally based on five principal components.

1.    DBT provides opportunities for the development and improvement of skills such as emotion regulation, mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness and distress tolerance.

2.    DBT encourages individuals to use the techniques and strategies they have learned in real life situations throughout their daily lives.

3.    DBT focuses on individualized behavioral treatment methods based on the needs of each patient.

4.    DBT focuses on ensuring positive behaviors across all environmental settings are provided for the patient throughout the duration of their treatment including through other treatment therapies.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

In this type of substance use therapy, patients learn how to use cognitive methods in combination with mindfulness to interrupt the automatic negative thoughts related to their addiction. By learning how to understand and manage their addiction related emotions, patients will be better equipped to achieve relief from those distressing thoughts and feelings. MBCT helps patients understand their sense of being and separate themselves from their emotions. By doing this, patients may better assess their situations and implement the necessary tools to combat depressive symptoms.

Multimodal Therapy

Multimodal therapy for treatment includes using two or more treatment methods to target different aspects of a mental health disease. These different types of therapies are combined together to create a greater impact on the health and wellbeing of the patient. Multimodal therapy treatments include using two or more different types of individual and group therapy to treat mental health disorders. It can also be a combination of medication-assisted treatments in conjunction with cognitive therapies to treat co-occurring mental health disorders. This also allows for a more individualized treatment plan to fit the needs of each patient.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

REBT stems from the idea that our feelings and emotions are influenced from how we process our thoughts and encourages the development and practice of rational thinking. This in turn produces a healthier way of expressing your emotions and behaviors in an appropriate and effective manner. The core principles of REBT includes identifying triggering events, understanding core beliefs and replacing them with positive affirmations, and ultimately minimizing negative consequences. By utilizing these key components, individuals who suffer from substance use disorders will be better able to heal their inner cognitive issues associated with their addictions.

Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

This evidenced-based treatment, usually meant to treat teen and young adults, helps patients overcome the negative effects of trauma. Young patients experiencing emotional and physical trauma learn to understand and process these negative events and ultimately lessen the symptoms. Patients will learn techniques and strategies to process distressing emotions triggered by or associated with the traumatic experience. TF-CBT also focuses on helping parents of teens and young adults by providing education, tools and resources to help their loved one cope with the negative symptoms of their trauma.

Hotel California by the Sea offers a personalized approach to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

At Hotel California by the Sea, we strongly believe in the emphasis of individual-based treatment. Every patient who enters into our substance addiction rehab program has specific and unique needs that should be addressed in order for them to successfully recover from their addictions. There is no “one size fits all approach” for substance abuse treatment because every individual has a different history, background and biological makeup. 

As Orange County, California’s most sought after substance addiction treatment program, Hotel California by the Sea offers substance abuse cognitive behavioral therapy as well as other types of therapy such as dialectical behavioral therapy, EMDR and group therapy. When used in conjunction with one another, each of these treatment therapies creates a well-rounded approach to drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Many of our patients suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders in addition to their substance use disorder. CBT is able to treat multiple mental health conditions at the same time, and for someone with a dual diagnosis, this can be especially beneficial for their recovery.

Patients enrolled in our inpatient treatment programs at Hotel California by the Sea will be able to meet with their therapist at least twice a week or as many times as needed according to their treatment plan. Patients will be regularly assessed and the frequency of CBT can be changed based on the patient’s progress. Sessions can last anywhere from 30-60 minutes which therapists guide patients in reframing their cognitive narratives, self-awareness and reducing the frequency of a negative thought processes.

Green, Gray, and white couches surrounding coffee table in front of fireplace

Get Help

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been a proven treatment method to helping patients of all walks of life recover from substance use disorders. This treatment method helps pinpoint current pain points in a patient’s life related to their addiction and teaches effective tools and strategies to overcome negative emotions. Reach out to our admissions team today if you or a loved one is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction and learn about the various inpatient and outpatient therapies we offer. Assigned therapists and psychiatrists will be available to assist individuals in every step of the recovery process with the ultimate goal of living a life free of drugs and alcohol.

Request a Call

The road to recovery is full of uncertainty, leave your worries behind…
Our compassionate staff will answer all of your questions without any pressure. Learn about our evidence-based drug addiction treatment and rehab, the ease of entering our program, and the benefits of getting help from a reputable addiction treatment facility like Hotel California by the Sea.

Every member of our admissions team has been where you are today – be sure to ask them about their journey!