According to a 2019 survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, around 14.5 million Americans — ages 12 and older — were living with alcohol addiction. Sadly, given trends in previous studies, it is likely this number has only increased since then. While an alcohol addiction can be difficult to overcome, it is possible through professional treatment at a rehabilitation facility. The specialists in these facilities utilize a variety of treatments and therapies; however, only one is considered the most effective.
To understand how to effectively treat alcoholism, one must first understand alcoholism itself.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism — also known as alcohol use disorder — is a medical condition that occurs when an individual is no longer able to exercise control over or stop their alcohol use. This lack of control is especially significant when it comes in opposition to serious consequences. Despite facing financial, occupational, or social problems, an individual with alcoholism is still unable to exercise control over their alcohol use.
Effects of Alcoholism
Alcohol addiction affects an individual in several ways. Excessive consumption of alcohol leads to multiple risks to oneself and others, including impaired coordination, impaired judgment, aggressive and sometimes violent behavior, and alcohol poisoning, which can result in death. Aside from these more immediate effects, long-term alcohol addiction can also have negative effects on an individual’s relationships, finances, occupation, and more.
Alcoholism and the Brain
One of the most impactful, negative effects of an alcohol addiction occurs in the brain. By abusing alcohol to a point of no control, the brain is forced to change. In doing so, it is often restructured to promote addictive behavior to ensure the body is receiving the substance it has become dependent on. Sadly, this restructuring will typically remain — even after an individual becomes sober.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Most Effective for Alcohol Addiction
To effectively address an alcohol addiction and the way an addiction restructures the brain and behavior, an individual with an alcohol addiction must modify their behavior in order to live a happy, healthy, and sober life. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through cognitive behavioral therapy.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy used in addiction treatment and elsewhere that seeks to modify an individual’s behavior. When using CBT, an individual with an alcohol addiction works with an addiction therapist or counselor to help them identify the connections between their thoughts, feelings, and actions.
By identifying how these factors affect each other, an individual can make new insights into their alcohol addiction, including reasons why they abused the substance in the first place. Once this is done, the individual and therapist can work together to modify the individual’s behavior, making them more likely to pursue healthy activities and coping mechanisms — rather than substances like alcohol.
Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The use of cognitive-behavioral therapy for alcohol addiction offers patients several significant benefits, including:
Modifying Harmful Behaviors
An alcohol addiction changes the brain, making an individual prone to addictive behavior and immediate pleasure-seeking. However, through CBT, an individual can identify these behaviors and what thoughts or emotions trigger them. In doing so, they can work to modify their behavior by using healthy coping mechanisms instead of resorting to alcohol use.
Nearly every variation of therapy involves self-reflection, including CBT. By engaging with one’s thoughts, feelings, actions, and how the three interact, one can improve their self-reflection and learn more about themselves. This can not only be a great benefit for alcohol addiction treatment but life in general.
Enhancing Communication Skills
CBT forces a person to communicate what their thoughts and feelings are and to contextualize why they took certain actions. While this process can be difficult for many, it is an important part of the process that they get to practice over time. In doing so, many find that their communication skills improve after engaging in CBT for alcohol addiction.
Looking for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction is a difficult condition to overcome and manage while in recovery. However, it can be more manageable by identifying triggers and unhealthy behaviors through the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy. If you or a loved one are living with alcohol addiction, contact Knoxville Recovery Center today. Our team of addiction specialists offers a variety of proven addiction treatments and therapies, including the most effective therapy: cognitive behavioral therapy.