CBT helps a person with addiction by helping –
• Enhance self-control,
• Avoid triggering circumstances where possible,
• Develop awareness of situations where they are most likely to engage in alcohol,
• Develop coping strategies on faced with triggers,
• Deal with other problematic behaviours that contribute to drinking.
CBT can be beneficial for people with addiction as it –
• Helps identify self-destructive thoughts and behaviours,
• Helps monitor thought patterns,
• Helps learn more adaptive, new ways of thinking,
• Helps learn new ways to handle stressful situations.
CBT has two components in treating alcohol addiction
: functional analysis and skills training.
Functional analysis involves the person looking at the causes and consequences of their drinking behaviour by asking probing questions such as what the person was doing before the substance use, how they were feeling, if anything positive happened right after the substance use, etc. In this way, functional analysis can give insight into why a person drinks, and the thoughts, emotions, and situations that play a role in it as well.
When people are unable to deal with problems and the distress caused by it, they may turn to substance use for coping. Thus, skills training involves unlearning this maladaptive way of coping with anxiety, depression, life stress, and other problems, and learning new, more adaptive ways of coping with problems. A crucial component of this is learning to tolerate feelings of distress.