Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Drug & Alcohol Addiction

Treatment for substance use disorders often includes the use of evidence-based therapies, one of which is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT can offer a range of benefits to people going through addiction treatment, such as helping them understand how their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all related.1 Continue reading to learn more about CBT, including what it is, how it works, benefits of CBT for addiction treatment, and finding substance use treatment near you.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an overarching term to describe a variety of evidence-based psychotherapies that focus on the connections between a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.1-3 CBT is an effective treatment for a variety of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and is a valuable component in addiction therapy.2,4

The effectiveness of CBT is based on several underlying principles, including:1

  • Unhelpful thinking patterns partially contribute to psychological problems.
  • Unhelpful behavioral patterns partially contribute to psychological problems.
  • Patterns of thoughts and behaviors are learned and can be unlearned.
  • People struggling with mental health concerns can learn effective coping strategies to help manage their symptoms and improve their overall functioning.

In cognitive behavioral treatment, there are many strategies and techniques that a therapist might use to help a patient achieve their goals, such as cognitive restructuring or reframing thinking patterns. Therapists may use a variety of strategies to help individuals change thinking or behavioral patterns, which may include:1

  • Guiding the client to recognize distortions in thought patterns and reframe them “in the light of reality.”
  • Helping the client to develop and use problem-solving skills.
  • Helping the client to learn how to face their fears instead of using avoidance.
  • Teaching the client techniques to calm the mind and body.

It’s important to note that CBT is collaborative process between the therapist and individual, with an emphasis on first identifying the problem and developing a strategy for resolving it. 1

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

CBT works by guiding the patient to understand the connection between unhelpful thoughts and behaviors and a person’s emotional experiences and equipping the patient with the tools to stop cycles of negative thoughts that influence a their mood and behaviors.2

CBT is a collaborative process between the therapist and patient.1-4 Treatment usually begins with an assessment of a patient’s symptoms, and treatment goals are identified early in therapy.5  Generally, sessions follow a specific format though each patient’s experience is individualized for their specific needs.5 The framework of a typical CBT session includes:5

  • Goal identification – Working together, the patient and provider identify specific issues and problem areas to be worked on, as well as goals for therapy. Generally, issues that are identified as a priority are worked on first.
  • Check in – Each session begins with a mood check in and an update about any events that have occurred between sessions. This may also include a follow up on any homework that may have been assigned during the previous session.
  • Working through the agenda – Once the therapist and patient have “bridged” from the previous session to the current one, the issues on the current agenda are discussed and worked through. During the discussion feedback may be provided. At the end of the session the therapist provides a summary and may assign additional homework.

CBT for Addiction Treatment

There is significant evidence of the efficacy of CBT for the treatment of substance use disorders.4 Behavioral therapies, like CBT, are used in addiction treatment for a number of reasons, including: 6

  • Addressing the underlying issues, thought patterns, and behaviors that may have led to substance use.
  • Building skills to resist further substance use.
  • Improving problem-solving skills.
  • Developing coping and relapse prevention skills.
  • Understanding the effects of continued substance use.

Benefits of CBT During Addiction Treatment

CBT for addiction treatment has shown to have many benefits and lead to positive outcomes, such as: 4, 7

  • Learning to identify negative thoughts and actions.
  • Identify triggers, such as situations, people, or places, that increase the likelihood of substance use.
  • Learning more adaptive ways of thinking and responding.
  • Learning coping skills.
  • Being prepared for post-treatment by learning relapse prevention skills.
  • Learn how to set short-term goals to achieve long-term goals.

Is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Covered by Insurance?

In many cases, insurance will cover at least some of the costs associated with substance use disorder treatment, which may include cognitive-behavioral therapy. Coverage can vary across insurance providers and the type of plan you have, so consider contacting your insurance provider or an admissions navigator at Greenhouse Treatment Center with any questions you have.

CBT and Addiction Treatment in Dallas Ft. Worth

If you or someone you care about are struggling with addiction and looking for information about ways to treat addiction, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, consider contacting our admissions navigators at for more information. Greenhouse Treatment Center offers care at different levels, including inpatient addiction treatment near Dallas. Our admissions navigators can help answer questions you may have about insurance plans that cover treatment and other options to cover the cost of treatment. Contact us today to start the admissions process.

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