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The term “Cognitive” relates to the way we understand, conceptualize, think, perceive, reason, judge and examine patterns of behavior that is self- destructive while at the same time ensure to modify them through a holistic approach.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is an extended branch of Psychotherapy that is basically employed in substance abuse and drug dependency treatment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy unlike conventional Talk Therapy methods requires overt and extensive participation that is solely focused on the problem and therefore, result oriented.

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Prescription Drug Abuse

As per the data released by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); in the United States of America, prescription drug abuse has assumed the form of an epidemic as more than 45 people die every day from prescription drug overdose. In a majority of cases, Benzodiazepines is the main reason for prescription drug overdose related deaths. Even though it is difficult to ascertain the credibility or success rate of one such Cognitive Therapy, a study published by the Psychiatric Clinics of North America estimates that scientific CBT techniques helped drug abusers abstain from drugs for more than 52 weeks and this figure showed in more than 60 percent of those reviewed.

Prescription drug abuse covers all socioeconomic classes, race, ethnicity, age and gender and it often begins with a prescription from the family doctor or physician. It is a widely accepted myth that if prescription drugs are prescribed by physicians, it must be legal and safer to use than illicit drugs and narcotics. In the year 2011, it has been reported by Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) that more than 1.3 million Americans came for emergency outpatient department (OPD) treatment for abuse due to prescription medications.

Authorized and certified pharmacy products are usually safe when intended and prescribed for certain medical conditions in a regulated manner but once they are used for non-medical or recreational purpose, it might result in dangerous consequences.

Prescription drugs generally fall under four main categories:

  • Opioid pain relieving medicines such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet.
  • Power tranquilizers and Benzodiazepine sedatives such as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan.
  • Stimulant medicines for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) such as Adderall and Ritalin.
  • Mood stabilizing and mood controlling medicines and antidepressants like Lithium, Celexa and Lexapro.

Prescription drug abusers may take more than one dose at a time which is more than their actual medical necessity by the way of snorting or directly injecting into the veins.

Even though each of the drugs are categorized in respect to their potency levels, all of them can create a situation of “high” or a euphoria that has the power to disrupt the natural pathways in the brain and the central nervous system. Users develop a psychological and physical dependence on prescription medications, as drugs like Dopamine and Serotonin interfere with the neurotransmitters responsible for generating the feeling of pleasure. The dependence on prescription drugs can lead to severe compulsive behavior that is characterized by immense craving for drugs. It is accompanied by uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when the substance leaves the body or system. CBT is a result oriented approach or therapy that help overcome or reverse the negative psychological effects.

Conventional Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Drug abuse or drug addiction is a complex medical condition which has many potential underlying causes. According to the estimates of The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 6.6 million Americans in the age group of 12 or more had abused prescription drugs and this was based upon a survey conducted in 2013.

While a onetime abuse may not lead to addiction, regular and frequent drug abuse substantially increase the risk of addiction.

It needs to be understood here that stress, anxiety, depression, trauma and the way we deal with negative emotions in everyday life, may also be related to substance abuse as increased stress and anxiety are considered to be precursors to addiction. Child abuse, neglect, betrayal, embarrassment can all lead to the desire for substance abuse. Prescription drugs and medicines has the power to suppress anxiety, fear, depression and other negative emotions that lead to dependency on addictive substance. According to the data published by the US Department of Veteran Affairs, as many as three out of 10 veterans suffer from both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as substance abuse disorder. CBT is an effective mechanism to counter abuse and to find out the underlying cause of addiction.

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Apart from defining the root cause of addiction, CBT also helps prevent relapse by improvising newer and advanced methods for dealing with potential social detachment. CBT teaches to successfully handle such traumatic situations and minimize instances of relapse.

Once a therapist identifies your stressors, he / she can employ CBT techniques to teach healthy coping mechanisms by transforming your negative emotional responses into positive ones. Advanced lifestyle skills are imparted via CBT and sometimes homework are suggested which is outside the therapy sessions. In one such scientific behavioral therapy, you learn how to effectively handle stress and improve self-confidence and self-esteem by curtailing destructive behaviors.

It has been scientifically proven that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) actually goes on to change the dysfunctional neural circuits in the brain that is responsible for the feeling of fear and handling of negative emotions and this is published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. Through one such advanced therapy, an individual learns how to cope with stress and negative emotions as it is evidence based scientific treatment model that is based upon an optimal treatment plan.

Motivational Interview and Contingency Management

Motivational Interviewing takes a patient centric approach towards substance abuse as the core focus is on empathy and understanding. Instead of coming down directly and demanding a complete halt on substance abuse, Motivational Interview is a ’middle path’ approach that encourages positive behavioral changes through negotiations and counseling. Similar to conventional CBT methods, Motivational Interview goes on to build or develop self-confidence while correcting negative and self destructive postures, emotions and actions. It goes on to motivate substance abusers to stop abusing illicit drugs.

In Contingency Management, a positive thought is inculcated in order to abstain from drugs. Anytime and every time a clean drug test is organized, there are prizes, vouchers, coupons and cash that are distributed among individuals. This approach is proving highly beneficial in improving upon the abstinence rates among those who have opioid dependencies. Any constructive Contingency Management helps influence your inner self whereby you make a healthy choice and eventually go on to discard drugs.

Through a community reinforcement approach, it is made to understand that healthy living and lifestyle is a much more viable option when compared to substance abuse as that considers changing the social environment. Family behavioral therapy identifies the negative effects of substance abuse on a relationship and thereby goes on to reinforce, a drug free behavior.

Our highly experienced professionals at SLO Recovery Centers will perform an extensive and comprehensive feasibility study as well as an assessment in determining the best possible treatment for you or your loved ones. The progress made on one such treatment is evaluated or monitored regularly for modifications in order to achieve a successful recovery. Contact one of our professional administrators today for the most professional advice and detailed information.