goal of cognitive therapy

How The Goal Of Cognitive Therapy Can Help You Beat Your Drug Addiction

Addiction is a complicated disease that affects both body and mind. Over time, substance abuse can compound emotional and behavioral issues that may touch nearly every aspect of an addict’s life.

In the end, addiction can leave your life a broken mess. So when it comes time to pick up the pieces, you need every tool available so you can win this painful battle.

One of the strongest means of understanding yourself, your addiction, and how you can stay sober comes from cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.

But what is this powerful treatment option and how can it set you up for success?

Keep reading to find out more about the goal of cognitive therapy and how it can help you overcome your drug addiction.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy, often shortened to CBT, is one of the most popular forms of psychotherapy.

Though it’s quite popular, it’s also relatively new, with its origins rooted in the 1960s.

Dr. Aaron Beck created CBT as a means of examining patients symptoms more thoroughly instead of simply looking for a solution. He felt that by better understanding a patient’s cognitive behaviors, it was possible to identify underlying issues and create a more effective treatment plan on a patient-by-patient basis.

Since its inception, the effectiveness of CBT has been the subject of many studies, almost all of which have found CBT to be a useful and efficient form of treatment.

It’s also a versatile treatment plan. CBT is useful in the treatment of a variety of disorders or behavioral problems common in addicts or recovering addicts, such as:

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Extreme anger.
  • Marital concerns.

CBT is often far more limited than other forms of psychotherapy. As a result, it may also be a quicker form of therapy.

What Is the Goal of Cognitive Therapy?

The primary objective of CBT is to address and understand mental processes that cause unwanted feelings or behaviors.

For addicts, this means tackling tough subjects like one’s reasons for using drugs while also addressing how a person’s drug use may impact their interpersonal relationships.

Most CBT practitioners believe that unwanted behaviors such as addiction are caused by automatic negative thoughts or ANTs.

Say a person begins experimenting with drugs as a means of self-medicating. Soon, they may start to feel guilty about their drug use, which further exacerbates these negative thought patterns. This spiral of negativity can quickly manifest into a variety of other destructive thought patterns and behaviors.

In essence, CBT is less concerned with how an addict started using, instead, focusing on why they use.

What to Expect from a First CBT Session

CBT can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you’ve never tried other forms of psychotherapy.

However, demystifying the process can make the ordeal far less intimidating and can help you gain the courage to seek treatment.

Here are a few things to expect from your first therapy session.

An Overview of CBT

First and foremost, your doctor will provide you with a quick history of CBT as well as its relevance to the world of addiction.

Expect to hear some things you may have learned about from this article, as well as an overview of your doctor’s history.

Questions About General Health

Your doctor will likely ask a few basic questions about your general health, as well as your genetic history.

In many instances, addiction can be genetic, so it’s important to be forthcoming and honest with your doctor if your family has a history of addiction.

Questions About Drug Usage

On the subject of honesty, it’s crucial that you tell the entire truth about your history of drug use. Though it may be uncomfortable, what you say to your doctor is kept confidential provided you’re not a risk to yourself or someone else.

You’ll provide your doctor with a general timeline of your history of drug use.

Be sure to include things like the first time you started using when you started to notice signs of addiction and any events that led to you choosing to seek treatment.

Questions About History of Mental Health

There’s a distinct correlation between mental health risks and substance abuse. Almost half of all substance abusers also struggle with their mental health.

Furthermore, both addiction and mental health conditions are inheritable. Exploring your family history of mental health conditions can help you better understand the hurdles you’re facing.

A Bit of Discomfort

Understandably, these may not be subjects you’re excited to talk about. That’s reasonable.

As a result, you can expect to feel shy or a little nervous during your first visit. Still, be open and honest with your therapist, no matter how nervous you’re feeling.

Discussion of Personal Goals

The first session is often the most important, as it’s where you and your therapist establish your goals.

You may want to better understand your reasons for using drugs, for instance. Or maybe you’re hoping to identify triggers that lead to destructive behaviors.

Your goals should align with your personal wellness as well as your long term strategy for sustained recovery.


Your therapist will likely send you home with a questionnaire or exercise to complete before your next session.

These assignments are short, easy ways to solidify the things you’ve talked about during your CBT sessions. And don’t worry, there isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to complete an exercise.

It’s all about better understanding yourself.

Finding a Reputable Therapist

If you like what you’ve read thus far, you may have an interest in finding a treatment option near you. That’s great!

However, finding the right therapist can take a great deal of time. Also, many therapists have a waiting list, so it may be a few weeks before your first session.

When looking for a therapist, consider:

  • Your insurance.
  • Their experience level.
  • Their areas of expertise and how it aligns with your needs.
  • Their certifications.

Depending on the severity of your addiction, it may be best to consider an inpatient treatment plan at first as a means of jumpstarting your sobriety.

CBT and Recovery: A Match Made in Heaven

By providing you with newer, healthier thought patterns and a better understanding of your history with addiction, CBT can be a powerful tool that can help you sustain your sobriety long after you leave rehab.

The goal of cognitive therapy is to give you the strength needed to overcome your addiction. Though it may seem impossible at first, over time you’ll learn more effective coping strategies and ways to escape negative thought patterns.

A better life begins with you. If you’d like to learn more about addiction treatment options, be sure to get in touch today.

xanax addiction signs

8 Warning Xanax Addictions Signs: What You Should Look Out For

In 2012, 6 million people used Xanax or a drug like it non-medicinally. 

Addiction can be a slippery slope, but the sooner it’s caught, the easier it is to treat.

Worried that your loved one has a Xanax addiction? Here are eight Xanax addiction signs you should keep an eye out for in your struggling loved one.

1. Social and Behavioral Changes

If your loved one has a Xanax addiction, they may start to exhibit behavioral or social changes.

The drug will start to take over their thoughts and behaviors. 

If someone is abusing Xanax, they will start to have erratic mood swings. Their emotions will be all over the place, and it will be difficult for them to control them. However, you should also be aware that mood swings can also be a sign of something else.

If they start skipping work or school more often than not, this may also be a red flag. If you want to make sure that it’s related to drug use, then you will need to see if their performance starts to slip as well. Also, keep an eye out for if they stop socializing and stop returning your texts and calls.

Someone addicted to Xanax will also have problems remembering things.

2. Being Secretive

If you noticed that your loved one is being secretive, this could be another one of the Xanax addiction signs.

Everyone has their secrets, but when someone starts to make sure that you don’t go in their room or get defensive or aggressive if you are close to finding something out, this is abnormal.

This could manifest in different ways, like having secret hiding places, always shutting doors, and locking the bathroom door even when they’re not using the toilet or taking a shower. 

You may notice that your friend or family member starts hanging out with other people rather than you. When you ask them who they’re going to see, they don’t want to tell you. They could be hanging out with other Xanax users or meeting with drug dealers.

They may also not be hanging out with other people; they could be spending more time with themselves and keeping those secrets.

3. Having Drug Paraphernalia 

Perhaps you do manage to get inside their room or house. 

If they weren’t expecting you, they could have left drug paraphernalia laying around. This would be a pretty obvious sign. 

You may find things like:

  • Pestle and mortar
  • Old credit cards
  • Razor blades
  • Rolled up or loose dollar bills
  • Rolled papers
  • Straws
  • Empty pill bottles

If you see a combination of some of these items, you may want to consider staging an intervention for your loved one. 

4. Legal Trouble

Because Xanax is a prescription medication, the user may start to get into legal trouble if they are abusing it.

They may have started taking it as a prescription, but once their prescription ran out they may have found other illegal ways to get it. 

They may even start dealing Xanax or doing illegal favors to just make sure that they get their dose of Xanax. The legal trouble may start with small offenses and then it may escalate. 

5. Physical Signs

A person abusing Xanax will also start to exhibit physical signs as well. They may start to show signs such as:

  • Slurred speech
  • No coordination
  • Lower sex drive
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Light-headed
  • Dry mouth or more salivation
  • Constipation/diarrhea 

If someone starts showing some of these physical signs or even others, you shouldn’t try and get them to stop using the drug immediately.

Doing this can actually cause severe withdrawal symptoms. If you notice any withdrawal symptoms, this is also a clear sign that they are abusing a drug.

These symptoms may include things such as trembling, sweating, headaches, vomiting, changes in your heartbeat, and pain or stiffness in their muscles. 

6. Psychological Signs

As we mentioned above in the first point, the abuser may also exhibit psychological signs that they are abusing a drug.

Xanax is a benzodiazepine, which can cause many psychological symptoms if it’s misused. 

In addition to their memories being affected, they may also experience symptoms such as:

  • Being easily annoyed
  • Mood swings
  • Easily confused
  • Manic moods
  • Irritable
  • Tiredness
  • No enthusiasm 
  • Lethargy 

Xanax affects the central nervous system and the brain, so it makes sense that it would cause psychological effects. 

7. Financial Difficulties

If you notice that your loved one has started having financial troubles, they may be having problems with Xanax.

Once their prescription runs out, they will need to find other, illegal ways of obtaining the drug, and it’s not cheap. They may have some money saved up to pay for it in the beginning, but as time goes on, the money will run out.

If they have stopped going to work, they may not be getting paid anymore either. They may stop paying their bills or even go into debt to make sure that they can pay for their fix of Xanax.

8. Being in Denial

If you think your loved one has a problem with Xanax and you confront them about it, they may become aggressive or defensive.

They may not even realize that they have a problem, and they may think that there is nothing wrong with their actions. If you bring it up to them and they deny that it is a thing, you may need to think about staging an intervention or seeking professional help or advice. 

Keep An Eye Out for Xanax Addiction Signs

If your loved one starts exhibiting some of these Xanax addiction signs, it may be time to seek help.

If they are in denial about it, they most likely won’t do it on their own. Thankfully, there are places where you can get help.

To get help for your loved one, reach out to us today.