Impulsive decisions, habits and behaviours are mostly justified and fuelled in the mind. Behaviours and outlooks are formed, accepted, and maintained through cognitive processes, which are found to impact physical actions and choices.

For someone who’s addicted to drugs or alcohol, negative emotions thought processes and experiences can justify the action of substance abuse. Whether from early childhood, through stigmatisation, or internal beliefs, irrational outlooks, illogical reasonings and clouded perceptions can arise, all known to increase the risk of addiction and poor mental health. Destructive and unsupportive feelings can also hinder the ability to recover, see beyond addiction and commit to healthier choices.

Alongside withdrawing from addictive substances, to overcome an addiction, emotional responses and mental health must be considered and improved. Through therapeutic addiction treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), positive changes can be aimed for.

Offering a flexible treatment service that not only supports addiction recovery but also the treatment of co-occurring disorders, CBT is one of the most recommended therapies here at Nova Recovery. S

ee why as we answer, ‘how does CBT help addiction?’, along with providing some insight into our addiction treatment programmes, available via our private recovery hospital.


What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic talking therapy that focuses heavily on psychological activity and processes. It works to understand current thought processes, with the aim to inspire positive changes, mindfulness, and personal awareness.

CBT is renowned for its ability to consider previous experiences and memories, which may be fuelling recurring negative outlooks and behaviours. It also works by considering the future, reducing the impact of previous responses, and offering a plan of action to adapt and heal.

Problematic, impulsive, dysfunctional, and destructive feelings can fill and reside in the mind, found to influence physical actions, choices, and intentions. For some, those feelings can become uncontrollable, especially for people who suffer from mental illness or addictive behaviours.

Due to a lack of control, thought processes are known to fuel, ingrain and churn negative spirals, making it difficult to break away, look at the positives and recover. CBT offers a range of techniques to understand, address and move on from unproductive and unhealthy thought processes.

Suitable to treat a range of disorders, here’s some insight into ‘how does CBT help addiction?’.


CBT during addiction therapy

CBT techniques are highly effective whilst treating substance abuse disorders and addiction. They are also beneficial whilst understanding and treating co-occurring mental health disorders, commonly diagnosed alongside drug and alcohol addiction.

Recognised as an evidence-based treatment, CBT helps with addiction recovery by offering emotional understanding and support. Whilst working alongside CBT therapists, any negative feelings or emotional triggers can be assessed and recognised. Anything from a negative environment, a period of judgement, or a childhood memory can cause addictive behaviours.

With awareness, positive changes can then be aimed for through CBT sessions. Irrational outlooks and illogical choices linked to substance abuse can be digested, understood, and disconnected from through cognitive restoration.

Cognitive behavioural therapy sessions will then be formed around developing positive coping skills and healthier outlooks. Making use of CBT techniques, such as thought records and behavioural experiments, responses can be tested, automatic reactions can be adapted, and positive choices can instead be selected.

CBT sessions will also provide insight into self-management and how to avoid future cravings, relapse risks and negative spirals. CBT has a strong role to play through long-term drug and alcohol addiction recovery, helping to control future triggers and responses.

Sessions are offered through one-to-one and group structures. They are personally formed to benefit individual needs, inclusive of mental health support. CBT sessions are also suitable to treat behavioural addictions and any form of dysfunctional habit.


Benefits of CBT therapy sessions

CBT is one of the most recommended and beneficial addiction treatment therapies experienced throughout rehabilitation. It carries the below benefits, helping to ease and strengthen addiction recovery.

  • It’s flexible: CBT sessions are adaptable, fully accommodating of personal needs and experiences.
  • It’s an evidence-based treatment: Cognitive behavioural therapy is a scientifically-backed treatment, found to effectively understand, and treat addiction.
  • It’s a long-term recovery tool: Lessons and techniques can be carried forward to improve long-term recovery and to work through relapse.
  • It promotes sustainable change: CBT helps with addiction recovery by motivating sustainable change. Old responses can be diminished by developing new and feasible outlooks.
  • It helps to improve mental health: Outlooks, mood and thought processes can all be improved through CBT sessions. Mental health issues are common through addiction, in place as a dual diagnosis treatment.
  • It’s found to increase self-awareness, value, and mindfulness: Addiction recovery can be strengthened through education and mindfulness practices. CBT helps to increase awareness.
  • It works alongside many other therapy sessions: CBT is a significant part of rehabilitation, yet also works alongside further core addiction treatments.
  • It offers a personalised plan of action: CBT helps to plan for the future, offering small yet impactful steps. Emotional recovery can be aimed for, which can help to adapt to the physical actions of drug and alcohol abuse.


Additional therapies for addiction

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is regularly recommended here at Nova Recovery through drug and alcohol rehab. It’s one of the most effective therapies for treating underlying emotional and psychological problems.

Yet to overcome an addiction, additional therapies must also be completed. Detoxification, dialectical behavioural therapy, support groups, holistic therapies, family therapy, relapse prevention planning and aftercare are the most complimentary services.

For someone suffering from addiction and/or poor mental health, actions and decisions will be automatic, driven by thought processes and feelings. Physical detachment is important to avoid instant relapse. Yet psychological detachment is vital, to understand and adapt habit-like behaviours and routines.

Many of our therapies here at Nova Recovery are underpinned by CBT and its role within addiction recovery. To experience our support, medical advice, and guidance throughout addiction treatment, reach out. Alternatively, find out more about our approach by asking for more information on ‘how does CBT help addiction?’.

Back to all posts