Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an effective, practical solution backed by extensive research. It can be used for any number of mental health problems or behavioural issues, including of course, alcoholism.
So how does CBT work in relation to alcoholism, what is the process? And, as you’re probably wondering, how will it help you to solve your own alcohol problems?
Alcoholism is different for everyone; the reasons why you drink are not the same as the reasons someone else drinks. So the first step in solving your issues with alcohol is to explore where your drinking fits into your life, what contributes to it, and what might be maintaining the problem? CBT is a method for helping you to examine your thinking styles, your beliefs, and your interpretations of the various aspects of your life, to see if they are unhelpful for you, and particularly to see which ones are fuelling your alcohol consumption.
Once we’ve established a few priority issues to focus on (like work stress, or relationship problems, worry, or depression perhaps) you can practice some pragmatic changes to see which ones are most effective for you, and which ones help you reduce your alcohol intake. Part of what makes CBT so effective is that it’s individually tailored to you and your specific problems, it’s not just a set of instructions to follow.
Alcoholism is a difficult problem to solve though, so the best intentions don’t always work out as you expected. Dealing with mistakes and learning from them is key to this, without criticising yourself. As such, predicting your most likely triggers for drinking is vital, so plans can be developed for how to handle such situations differently.
Another key difference with CBT for alcoholism is that abstinence is not the only option (unlike AA for instance) – most people find they can successfully cut down how much they’re drinking, once they start handling some other aspects of their lives a bit better. Equally, CBT allows you to learn new approaches to problems, without solutions being ‘implanted’ in you, as in hypnosis.
If you’re curious about how CBT can help you, make an initial enquiry with our contact form in the top menu.