A woman looks out the window wondering how to stop negative thinking.

How CBT is Used to Help with Unhealthy and Destructive Thoughts

Self-deprecating thoughts and behaviors can lead to addiction and perpetuate substance abuse further. This destructive method of thinking creates a scenario in which the addiction takes precedence over every facet of your life – driving you away from all their healthy relationships, destroying your physical well-being, creating emotional instability and leaving you feeling hopeless and overwhelmed.

Deciding to begin your recovery journey is essential to re-establishing control over your life, while also healing the physical and emotional damage inflicted by your addiction. But which treatment option is able to not only help you identify the maladaptive behavioral patterns that instigated your addiction, but can also aid in creating new and improved responses to the emotional triggers and negative influences in your life?

While the options may seem endless, there are some very specific treatment methods that can answer these questions and place you on the path to health and happiness.

Why Negative Thinking is So Destructive, Especially When Struggling with Addiction

Have you ever smelled a rotten potato? It is a foul and off-putting scent that can make the strongest of stomachs feel like wrenching. The thing about a rotten potato, though, is if you leave it with fresh potatoes, it will spoil the whole bunch. This crude example typifies the dangers of a single negative thought.

For some, negative thinking can come and go. However, this experience is different for those struggling with addiction. Negative thoughts can not only spoil a mood, but they can also create a spiraling effect where those struggling with substance abuse fall deeper and deeper into dangerous destructive patterns.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps people learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on their behavior and emotions.

CBT is based upon the idea that our thoughts, not external events (like people or situations), are actually the cause of our feelings and behaviors. This form of therapy focuses on changing the automatic negative thoughts that can contribute to and worsen emotional difficulties, depression, anxiety and addictive patterns of behavior.

These spontaneous negative thoughts have a detrimental influence on mood and are consistently linked to unforeseen incidents of relapse within many individuals attempting to maintain their sobriety.

How CBT Stops Negative Thoughts

Some forms of psychotherapy focus on looking into the past to gain an understanding of current feelings. In contrast, CBT focuses on present thoughts and beliefs.

Cognitive behavioral therapy works by changing people’s attitudes and behaviors by focusing on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that are held (a person’s cognitive processes) and how these processes relate to the way a person behaves (as a way of dealing with emotional problems and addictive impulses).

CBT can help people with many problems where thoughts and beliefs are critical. It emphasizes the need to identify, challenge and change how a person views a situation and has shown to be instrumental in treating the symptoms and thought patterns associated with addiction.

Some of the more effective techniques implemented in CBT sessions include:

• Daily Stress Journaling
This technique is a way to gather one’s moods and thoughts. A CBT journal can include the time of the mood or thought, the source of it, the extent or intensity, and how one reacted, among other factors.

This technique can help to identify thought patterns and emotional tendencies and change, adapt, or cope with them.

• Gradual Exposure to Fear and Stress
This approach is a cognitive behavioral therapy exercise designed to reduce anxiety through repeated contact with what is feared. This has been shown to be among the most effective treatments that exist for any psychological problem that may be triggering addictive behaviors.

The underlying theory is that avoidance of things we fear results in increased anxiety, which, in turn, increases the potential to relapse. By systematically approaching what you might normally avoid, a significant and lasting reduction in anxiety takes place and better methods of avoiding addictive behaviors are learned.

• Relaxed Breathing and Mindfulness Training
There are many ways to relax and bring regularity to your breath, including guided imagery, yoga training, daily mantras, and deep-breathing techniques. Bringing regularity and calm to your breath will allow you to approach your problems from a place of balance, facilitating more effective and rational decision making.

It allows your mind to avoid overreacting and trains your body and emotions to process addictive triggers in a more calm and thoughtful manner.

CBT for Negative Thinking: Where to Start

The key to achieving long-term success and sobriety is simply beginning the journey. Finding a clinically qualified facility that specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy is an excellent place to start if you feel this specific treatment approach would best suit your individual needs.

For a person living with a substance use disorder, being able to look into the mirror and admit that a problem exists is a major part of the battle.

Once this is achieved, asking your friends and family to help you find a treatment program that can address your specific addiction enables you to begin receiving the care and guidance needed to overcome the debilitating disease of addiction that has taken root in your life.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Ranch Creek Recovery

Remember, you are never alone on your path to recovery. All you need to do is be brave enough to ask for help. As a non-12-step rehab and holistic treatment center, a large component of our treatment program is rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy to help those struggling with addiction and mental health challenges overcome and change self-deprecating thoughts and behaviors.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with you to create a
custom treatment plan that will include customized, life-changing CBT sessions. Contact us today to get your questions answered and start the admissions process.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607