There are various therapies and treatments that are used to treat alcoholism. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is just one option that is available. CBT can be used as a stand-alone treatment for alcoholism, but it is also particularly effective when delivered alongside other treatments. CBT is often given at the same time as treatment options such as group counselling, diet and exercise changes, and other types of therapy. The aim of CBT is to give the client goals and help them to develop strategies and behaviours to help them reach those goals. CBT for alcoholism can be part of an outpatient treatment program and has even been trialed as an online treatment.
What Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
CBT stands for cognitive behavioural therapy. This is a type of therapy originating in the 1920s that was developed further in the 1960s. It’s a counselling therapy that is goal-oriented and provided short-term, usually across around 12 sessions. The patient works with their counsellor to set goals that they want to work towards, with the aim of completing these goals by the time the treatment has finished. CBT is used as a treatment not just for alcoholism but also for several mental health conditions that people with alcoholism often have alongside their addiction, such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety.
The Phases of CBT
CBT has six different phases that the patient works through with their counsellor. The treatment begins with an assessment, which allows the patient and therapist to discuss the problem and assess it before developing a treatment plan. The next step, reconceptualisation, teaches the patient new concepts of understanding so that they can change the way that they think. This leads to skills acquisition when they will learn the necessary skills to reach their goals. These skills and then applied in training scenarios in a controlled environment before they can be applied to the real world. These skills should be put into practice and maintained, and the patient will receive a post-treatment follow-up too.
How Is CBT Used to Treat Alcoholism?
CBT treatment for alcoholism is generally used together with other treatments. It can help people with alcohol use disorder to develop new coping strategies or avoidance strategies and give them the mental and practical skills to change their behaviour. It’s not just CBT and alcoholism that go together. CBT is also used to treat other mental health problems, which many people with alcoholism also experience. CBT techniques for alcoholism include setting goals to recognise triggers that lead to drinking and developing techniques to cope with difficult situations.
CBT as Part of a Wider Treatment Program
CBT for alcohol use disorder is usually provided as part of a more comprehensive treatment program. When carrying out an outpatient rehab program, this might mean that a client is attending CBT sessions in addition to detoxification, medication, support from doctors, nurses and counsellors, and peer group support.
If you are looking for treatment options for alcoholism, CBT can form part of your overall treatment program.