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Cognitive-behavioural therapy and the Importance of Extending Treatment

Addiction professionals have gained a better understanding of how addiction develops and affects patient’s lives over time. For many addicts, the first step towards recovering from this life-threatening condition is simply going into rehab. But is one stint in a primary facility enough? Because there are several tiers of treatment that addicts can undergo, each giving the addict a greater chance of successfully avoiding relapse.


Addiction Therapy Treatment Importance of Extending Treatment

It is important to note that although some liken addiction to a disease, it is officially classified as a disorder. Such as Bipolar Disorder. And unlike diseases, disorders are not “curable” but only treatable. Flu is a disease — eventually, the immune system defeats it. But as with Bipolar Disorder, Addiction-related disorders are lifelong. And so require constant maintenance to keep them in check.

With this newfound knowledge, they’ve been able to shift their approach to addiction treatment, focusing on therapies that provide addicts the highest chance of long-term recovery. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is one of the most successful addiction therapies (CBT).  If you are battling with addiction or you would like to start a cognitive-behavioural therapy programme, having an understanding of it will help you prepare yourself for what to expect at each step of your recovery. We know that addiction can be treated with the correct care at Houghton House Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Centres. Should you be interested in learning more about the cognitive-behavioural treatment programme offered to our patients call us today on 011 787 9142.

Understanding Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy in Addiction Therapy Treatment

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that aims to help patients identify and alter detrimental ideas and habits. Its main purpose is to assist patients in connecting their ideas and emotions to their behaviours so that they can progress in their recovery. Patients who participate in CBT are urged to recognise that their behaviour or emotions are not always reasonable and they are taught how to manage how they react when having strong emotions.

Patients in cognitive-behavioural therapy are encouraged to discuss traumatic or distressing events from their past and to practice managing their emotions when they emerge. Practising this skill in a secure, supportive environment can be quite beneficial. Patients learn to recognise what is commonly called ‘automatic thinking’ and by identifying and modifying this automatic thinking process, we find that patients manage better in tough situations, strengthen relationships and even boost self-esteem.  Internalised dread or a lack of self-confidence might cause these kinds of ideas and CBT can go a long way in combating those internal thoughts.

How to tell if you need Addiction Therapy

Many elements have a role in the emergence of addiction. To identify and address the fundamental reasons of their addiction, the majority of people require treatment, which may include therapy. Recognise that your substance usage is interfering with your ability to live the life you desire as the first step toward getting the help you need. The following are some indications of addiction:

  • Inability to care for oneself or handle duties at home, work, or school
  • Financial difficulties
  • Mood swings
  • Needing more of the substance to get the desired effect
  • Sleep or appetite changes
  • Spending a lot of time getting, using, and recovering from using drugs or drinking
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you cut back or quit using the substance

Important note:  Once you recognise that you live with addiction, you can get the therapy and treatment you need to address and overcome it.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is used quite frequently and commonly in the treatment of addiction. CBT teaches addicts who are in recovery to find connections between their feelings, thoughts and ultimately actions while also increasing their awareness of how these things impact recovery.

In addition to addiction, CBT also treats co-occurring disorders including:

  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Getting to know more about Cognitive-Behavioural Addiction Therapy

Addiction Therapy Treatment Cognitive-Behavioural-Therapy-

Patients are helped through cognitive-behavioural therapy to combat habitual thinking that contributes to addiction. It enables patients to make significant, long-term behavioural changes in a relatively short period of time. As a result, it’s an excellent choice for usage in an addiction treatment programme. You will engage in activities such as the following when participating in CBT:

  • Individual treatment sessions with your therapist
  • Learning about your mental health or addiction
  • Recognizing and reshaping harmful ideas
  • Group therapy sessions with your therapist
  • Identifying habits you wish to alter

Trauma and addiction are related, according to research. A trauma history is reported by almost two-thirds of people in addiction treatment. Patients can employ cognitive-behavioural therapy to figure out what caused their trauma and then heal from it. It has been demonstrated that addressing a person’s trauma and addiction at the same time is more beneficial than treating addiction alone.

An addict is never cured of addiction, it is managed. Meaning, they can “relapse” just as a bipolar can relapse into mania if not taking their medication and doing psychotherapy.


With addiction, the main “medication” one would use to off-set a relapse is psychotherapy and support groups. This is where recovery treatment centres like Houghton House fit in.


There are steps to keep from relapsing.

We spoke about tiers of treatment. Basically, there are four: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, and the fourth is maintenance-based.

In Primary, the addict goes into a rehab centre, is cut off from the outside world, prevented from access to drugs or alcohol, and undergo an education programme designed to make them aware of what addiction actually is.

They mainly focus on the denial of the damage addiction has caused their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

This is essential, because many addicts have had a “relationship” with their drug of choice, and just like any abusive relationship, there is a temptation to go back to it.


Often, in our experience, addicts start reminiscing about the “good” times they had with their drugs of choice. This has to be counter-balanced with reality checks.


The next step.

 Often, we recommend at Houghton that certain patients do a Secondary treatment programme.

This is because despite a well-honed team of counsellors working on  Addiction Therapy Treatment and armed with lessons and sessions designed to face up to denial, many addicts still relapse. After all, it is a disorder and a disorder affects the way the brain functions.


In Secondary, addicts are given more freedom. Now they’re allowed to use their phones and have a certain amount of time out the facility – though it is strictly enforced. When addicts in Secondary don’t stick to the rules, they lose privileges. This helps implement a negative and positive feedback loop into how one’s own actions have repercussions on one’s immediate future. Secondary is important because it allows the addict to experience the world again, just under quite strict controls. This helps reinforce recovery, and reinforce recovery-based behaviours. It establishes more normalcy in an addict’s life.


In addition to this, Houghton House also conducts intensive group therapies and more in-depth exercises into addiction. Not to mention physical exercise, though this plays a role in both tiers.


Secondary treatment unfolds over a longer time period than Primary.


Because tech, which we must admit we all love, is allowed between certain hours, Secondary is far less deprived an experience than Primary — where it is of utmost important to keep the outside world at bay.


Finally, on completing their Secondary experience, which has involved chores, being organised, keeping to structured plans, and going to regular 12-Step Meetings, addicts are ready for the outside world in full.


But not necessarily on their own. We advise additional support, which is where Tertiary comes in.


Tertiary’s importance as a structured living environment.

What we call Tertiary is essentially a halfway house. Houghton has had over 20 years experience in managing this important stepping stone. Here, the addict gets far more freedom — though there are still important rules in place for them to help structure their lives.

Here’s an example: everyone for the week is assigned a chore to do, whether it is cleaning the kitchen in the evenings, or the patio, or the pool…


They’re also required to do a certain amount of meetings per week, five in the first month, three in the second onwards. Then there are small group sessions during the week. This ensures that there are no issues in the house during Addiction Therapy Treatment. It gives housemates a chance to confront each other on possible lapses in behaviour that may have been noticed.

Further, there are curfew times, and times they need to be out the house during the day. This is so they get into the habit of being back in the rhythm of life. Such as going to a regular job. Or working hard to find a new one. Perhaps most importantly is while they’re experiencing this extension of freedom, there are randomised tests that take place: drug and alcohol tests. It’s not about catching anyone out, it’s about giving them a safety net of sorts. Residents during this stage of recovery are welcome to stay at the Tertiary institution for as long as they feel necessary.


Maintenance: the fourth part.

 We also offer special groups outside of our institutions, some which meet three times a week for an hour and following that ones that are once a week. The three times a week groups are called Aftercare (anyone who was a patient at Houghton is welcome to this). At Houghton House we do randomised testing here as well, which just helps add another barrier towards relapsing.

The group’s main function is a therapeutic space where they have a chance to deal with real-life issues they’re facing post-in-patient treatment. Added group support, we find, goes a long way to helping an addict keep clean. Camaraderie is key. Following that, the once-a-week groups are helpful in getting addicts to continue their drug-free journey through life. This can be joined following the Aftercare programme. Once Addiction Therapy Treatment is joined, there is no obligation to stop at any time.


Why extending Addiction Therapy Treatment is so important.

The more time spent clean and with the necessary support structure in place, the less likely a relapse is to occur. This helps break the cycle of misery and devastation that occurs with drug and alcohol addiction.

As each part of the programme is structured in suitable ways for the addict’s recovery life cycle, the longer they keep at it, the more certain it becomes that – while never dead – addiction becomes dormant. And with continued therapeutic support from our team, possibly dormant forever


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For more information on Addiction Therapy Treatment and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

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