Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Addictions


Without qualified support, addictions can be difficult to overcome. Left untreated, addictions of all kinds can wreak havoc on your personal, professional, and social relationships. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, often referred to simply as CBT, is a form of treatment that relies on discussion to arrive at long term results. CBT is an incredibly successful mode of treatment for individuals experiencing all forms and severities of addictions.

ottawa addiction therapyHow is Addiction Defined?

According to Psychology Today, an addiction is defined as “any activity that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities…” Life responsibilities can include career duties, involvement in romantic and social relationships, and maintaining an adequate level of health. In addition to substances like drugs, alcohol, and nicotine, activities such as gambling, shopping, and sex all classify as addictions.

Explaining Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an evidenced based psychotherapy employed by licensed therapists to treat mental illnesses, as well as a whole host of other behavioural and emotional difficulties. Those undergoing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will engage in conversation with a therapist that focuses on problem solving, and goal achievement. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy requires the active involvement of the patient. Like all addictions, the treatment is largely dependent on the patient’s willingness to address their behaviour, and the underlying reasons for their behaviour. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy works diligently to address both the behaviour and the underlying cause. You can learn more about how CBT improves your entire life here.

ottawa addiction counselling servicesEmploying CBT to Treat Substance Abuse

When treating addictions and mental health differences alike, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy employs scientifically researched treatment methods, and tailors them to the individual. Your therapist may begin by helping you examine the relationship between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. The end goal of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in treating addiction is to in fact “un learn” the behaviour, and styles of thinking that are associated with the addiction.

Cognitive Behavioural Thinking can help individuals cope with a craving, harness their motivation, learn how to say “no,” establish an “all purpose coping plan,” solve problems and think about themselves in a new, more positive way. For those with addictions, using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to understand what triggers their use of an addictive substance, or activity helps arrive at a long term, sustainable recover.

All-or-Nothing Thinking Styles

When it comes to overcoming addictions, everyone is different. However, a pervasive style of “all-or-nothing” thinking seems to be a trend amongst those experiencing an addiction. This style of thinking is a negative type of thinking, that can be successfully treated by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Even in those not experiencing any form of addiction, this harmful style of thinking can lead to anxiety, depression, and even addiction. For those with an addiction, this type of thinking causes them to believe they are powerless to the substance or activity that has come to define their addiction. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps individuals restructure their thinking through written and spoken exercises.

To learn more about how Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help you or someone you know recover from an addiction, call Capital Choice Counselling today at 613-425-4257.