According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, the majority of US residents say that drug addiction is a concerning problem  in their area. Approximately 90 percent of those living in rural areas, 86 percent of those in suburban areas, and 87 percent living in urban areas agree that drug addiction is either a minor or a major problem in their community. Those findings aren’t surprising, given that the United States is currently in the midst of an opioid crisis. In fact, 72,000 Americans died in 2017 due to drug overdoses, while millions more struggled with addiction disorders.

In New York City, drug and alcohol abuse play a significant role in residents’ lives. Each year, more than 1,700 New Yorkers die from alcohol-related events. And from 2010 to 2013, drug overdose deaths in Manhattan alone increased by a staggering 85 percent. Unintentional overdose rates were even higher in the Bronx and in Staten Island, with those in Brooklyn and Queens not too far behind. What’s more, unintentional drug overdose fatalities outnumber both homicide and motor vehicle fatalities in New York City.

Although many Americans know that drug addiction is a major problem in their communities, the pervasive stigma surrounding substance abuse and its treatment still keeps those struggling with this disease from getting the help they need. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reveals that an estimated 20.7 million Americans over the age of 12 needed substance abuse treatment in 2017. But that same year, only 4 million people in that same demographic actually received help for their disorder. Said another way, 4 out of 5 did not receive help.

Those who do manage to seek treatment for substance abuse often find ongoing therapy sessions to be essential in their recovery. Cognitive behavioral therapy is just one type of psychological treatment that has been shown to help patients who struggle with addiction. Let’s take a closer look at CBT and why it’s often effective in treating addiction.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) is a specific kind of psychotherapy that’s based on the idea that our thoughts and feelings directly affect our behavior. It’s a simple concept, yet it can often be revolutionary in changing how individuals respond to certain situations. When we realize that the way we perceive a situation actually shapes the way we react, we can work on changing our harmful thought patterns to make positive shifts in the way we feel and the way we act.

As explained by the American Psychological Association, CBT has a few core principles. In essence, a person’s psychological problems are based on unhelpful or faulty ways of thinking and on learned patterns of unhelpful behaviors. But, with help from a therapist, individuals can learn better ways to cope with their psychological issues, alleviate symptoms, and live in more effective ways.

CBT and substance abuse

CBT is often used to treat anxiety disorders, depression, mental illness, and eating disorders. However, it’s also been shown to be highly effective for people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. Several studies have suggested that CBT can allow patients to make significant improvements in their overall quality of life. This therapeutic practice has also been shown to be as effective as (or sometimes even more effective than) other forms of therapy and psychiatric medications.

In order to embark on the recovery process, someone who struggles with addiction needs to do more than simply stop using his or her drug of choice. In most cases, a patient with substance abuse problems often grapples with negative and harmful ways of thinking. Many people will self-medicate with drugs or alcohol in order to escape these destructive ways of thinking. Even if a person feels motivated to stop using substances, he or she may very easily slip back into those behavioral patterns if the thought patterns are not addressed. CBT can often provide the psychological tools these individuals need during their recovery journey.

With help from a NYC cognitive therapy professional, patients can explore how their harmful thoughts and behavioral patterns lead to self-destructive actions. Once these negative and dysfunctional patterns are identified, both the therapist and client can work together to seek new ways of thinking that can support the client’s sobriety and improve his or her quality of life tremendously.

Studies have found that the use of CBT for substance use disorders can result in positive outcomes. While every individual has different needs and considerations to keep in mind, CBT can be an excellent place to start for individuals seeking recovery.

If you are looking for a clinic in the Boston, MA area for an Eating Disorder condition, you could contact Monte Nido

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