acquiesce - September 10th, 2020

Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Drug Addiction

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy? 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is a method of therapy to help someone’s recovery through the psychological aspect of their addiction. It allows the individual to take control of their thoughts and feelings which can lead them on a smoother path towards their recovery. Identifying the connection between their thoughts and actions can change the way in which they view their addiction.

How Does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Work?

CBT often refers to ‘automatic thoughts’, which are the first thoughts that come to the individual’s mind based on internalized negative feelings or fear that they have as a result of past trauma, mental health problems or as a result of misconceptions they have been taught to believe e.g. “Once an addict, always an addict.” CBT helps to debunk these insecurities and misconceptions and provide tools to increase positivity.


Sometimes, people will attempt to self-medicate their negative feelings by drinking or abusing drugs. Part of CBT is teaching the individual new methods of coping with their thoughts instead of using drugs to avoid them.

This is because addiction can be broken down into four stages: Trigger, Avoidance, Substitution and Repetition. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps to find the trigger and teaches how to confront it.

If you are struggling with your mental health as well as an addiction, this is most likely the trigger that fuels the addiction. Finding what your trigger is and how to deal with it can take away the first stage of addiction and therefore break the cycle. 



The trigger of an addiction is either an external action or internal thought that triggers strong feelings. These actions or feelings are most likely negative, and can be difficult to face or resolve alone. Some triggers could include stress from work, a traumatic experience or a hard breakup, but a great number of triggers are mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder.



Instead of continuing to struggle with these issues or seeking help from a doctor, these feelings and concerns will be pushed aside or avoided.



The positive feelings evoked by substances or behaviors will be used to replace those negative emotions. This is of course a quick fix and does not solve the problem long term but rather takes the focus away from it for a short time.



If these actions are repeated as a way to keep putting off having to deal with the negative emotions or actions and they start to become a dependency, then an addiction begins.


If you are unsure of what triggers your addiction, the Acquiesce rehab programme can work with you to recognise, understand and provide a solution to the psychological aspect of your addiction, including therapy for mental health disorders.

The Acquiesce Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based approach includes SMART recovery, psychosocial interventions and positive psychology. These support an individual to gain skills, tools and resources to manage their addiction practically day to day.

They allow an individual to look at the reasons behind their actions and behaviours, and at the relationship between the way a person thinks and their problems with addiction. They are aimed to support the individual to break the cycle of destructive behaviours and actions and to form new healthier habits so that they can respond to challenges in a more effective, healthier way.


Acquiesce approaches the two main factors of the psyche: Spiritual and Social.

As part of the spiritual CBT approach, you can gain the following skills:

  • Yoga
  • 12 Step approaches
  • Meditation
  • Spiritual principles
  • Healing Therapies
  • Workshops
  • Affirmations
  • Mindfulness


As part of the social CBT approach, you will have access to the following:

  • Mutual aid
  • Educational advice and access
  • Employment support, advice and guidance
  • Social and leisure activities, bowling, walks etc
  • Family support
  • Housing advice and guidance
  • Budgeting advice and support

For more information, read about our different programmes here or contact us for a free confidential consultation here.

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