Category: Addiction and Treatment

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for Addiction and Alcoholism, An Evidence Based Treatment

By Tracey Basset, PsyD

Making the decision to seek help for a substance use problem is challenging enough.  On top of that, for a lot of people, they face the challenge of choosing where to go, who to see, and what type of therapy will benefit them most.  This can be a very confusing and daunting process.  My aim for this post is to provide some useful information about the benefits of one type of therapy, my favorite type of therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT.  

CBT is based on the notion that the way we think influences how we feel, and then subsequently how we behave.  Think of it like a domino effect- something happens, you have a thought or a belief about that event, that thought creates a feeling and that feeling creates an action.  For example, if you try to reach out to a friend or family member and they do not have time to see or talk to you, then you might think that you are not important to them, that you are not worthy of their time, or maybe that you are not good enough.  That thought can lead to feelings of loneliness, rejection, sadness, or even anger.  Those feelings could lead to the desire to escape, which could ultimately lead to using a substance.  Then substance use leads to more isolation and less connection.  The cycle starts again, and builds.  

In CBT, we explore these triggering events and identify patterns.  We explore the thought patterns, or belief systems, and we challenge those patterns that may be problematic.  Some beliefs are true and we work to problem solve and change them.  Others are not true, and are simply believed to be true, because they have been ingrained for a very long time.  We learn to explore where beliefs come from and we learn to challenge them.  In CBT we learn strategies to cope with the uncomfortable feelings, and strategies to help reduce the likelihood that certain feelings will trigger use.  

This is just one example of how CBT can play out in therapy.  There are dozens more.  CBT can be a great therapy for individuals struggling with substance use along with co-occurring anxiety and/or depression because it provides tools, strategies and a roadmap for how to gain control when you feel out of control. If you are someone that struggles with anxiety and/or depression in addition to substance use, it may feel like there are too many things to tackle, and you may even feel stuck, helpless or hopeless.  However, CBT works on exploring, challenging, and changing the relationship between symptoms of depression, anxiety and substance use.  Therefore, it is a very practical, effective and efficient approach to tackling co-occurring substance and mental health needs that feel complex in nature. 

So, why is CBT my favorite type of therapy?  Because there is a lot of evidence to show that it works.  CBT is empirically based, meaning that there are a lot of research studies that consistently show that it helps individuals to reduce anxiety and depression, and successfully address substance use.  

In closing, I will leave you with a quote.  It is one that I recently stumbled upon in my personal life and I instantly connected with it because it just made so much sense to me given my predisposition to think of life through the lens of CBT.  So, despite what you may be going through, and my guess is that it may be something quite challenging since you are here reading this page, the good news is that at any time you can choose to take the steps to change your destiny.  

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. 

Watch your words; they become actions. 

Watch your actions; they become habits. 

Watch your habits; they become character. 

Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny. 

– Upanishads”

Why Outpatient Treatment for Addiction and Alcoholism may be a better choice than Inpatient Rehab, and why you rarely hear this

This is my first blog entry and my hope is that through monthly posts, I and my associates, Dr.s Megwinoff, Bassett and Gottlich can help shed some light and insight on our various expertise and experiences in addiction treatment. In listening to my patients and their families, I realize that there is a great deal about addiction and its treatment that is misunderstood. There are many misconceptions about addiction treatment. Often, people looking for help for addiction are hopeless and vulnerable to exploitation. Many messages are misconveyed in order to justify expensive and unnecessary treatments. Inpatient rehab and its utility is one of them. Read more

Why More Attorneys Are Searching for an Addiction Therapist Near Me

The Lawyer: The Partyer and the Alcoholic

It’s a tired popular media trope: the attorney, burdened by the stresses of work, pours a glass of bourbon at the end of a long day. Maybe he is waiting for a verdict to come in after an impassioned speech in front of a jury, maybe she is prepping for a long day at the Supreme Court ahead. Alcohol as a coping mechanism in pop culture is as old as television itself. Read more

Opiate Detox for Lawyers, Even Attorneys Get Hooked on Heroin

The Path to Opioid Abuse for Attorneys

Popular culture portrayals of the legal profession may draw young people to law school: giving impassioned arguments in front of a jury, laying out a compelling case in front of a judge. A promising young law student may enter school with hopes of helping the disfranchised or aiding in the reform of the criminal justice system. However, once they exit the hallowed halls of their law school, reality paints a grimmer picture. Read more

The Wolf of Wall Street

Why Financial Execs Can’t Manage Stress, Leading to Addiction Treatment

The world of financial executives has long been the subject of fascination. The Wolf of Wall Street, a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio based on a memoir by Jordan Belfort of the same name, tells a compelling story of a financial executive’s meteoric rise and equally spectacular fall. Read more

Can You Treat Drug Addiction with Vivitrol?

As people, we may be different for a variety of reasons. But a common denominator amongst us is the existence of stress in our lives and how it impacts mental health. Oftentimes, it isn’t the stress itself that causes us harm but how we choose to perceive it or how we cope (or not) that poses the most risks.
Read more

Stress And Alcohol Abuse Are A Dangerous Combination

Stress And Alcohol Abuse Are A Dangerous Combination

Everyone faces stress on some level every day, and everyone develops individual techniques and coping mechanisms for handling different kinds of stress. Some stress is moderate yet persistent over time, while other forms of stress are more acute and traumatic. All types of stress share one common denominator, however: they can all easily lead a person into substance abuse if the person does not develop healthy stress relief techniques and coping strategies.
Read more

High-Functioning Addiction Is A Serious Problem

High-Functioning Addiction Is A Serious Problem

A high-functioning addict is a person who has managed to keep their life together despite their addiction. This situation will likely not last forever, but for a time they can hold onto their job and keep their finances relatively in order. Their physical health has only begun to deteriorate. This is an ideal time for them to start treatment, although regrettably, it can also be the time when they are hardest to convince.
Read more

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for Addiction and Alcoholism, An Evidence Based Treatment

By Tracey Basset, PsyD Making the decision to seek help for a substance use problem is challenging enough.  On top of that, …

Why Outpatient Treatment for Addiction and Alcoholism may be a better choice than Inpatient Rehab, and why you rarely hear this

This is my first blog entry and my hope is that through monthly posts, I and my associates, Dr.s Megwinoff, Bassett and Gottlich …

Why More Attorneys Are Searching for an Addiction Therapist Near Me

The Lawyer: The Partyer and the Alcoholic

It’s a tired popular media trope: the attorney, burdened by the stresses of work, pours a glass of bourbon at the end of …