Alcohol / Drug Abuse
The nature of the industrialised western world with all it's concomitant demands on time and productivity, and the stresses and strains correlate with the profound rise in alcohol / drug abuse. One in every ten adults in the UK has a serious alcohol problem.
Alcohol/drugs affects every organ of the body and with chronic abuse can cause serious medical problems - damage to liver, pancreas, gastro-intestinal tract, cardiovascular system, immune system, nervous system and endocrine system. Alcohol is also linked to the leading cause of accidental death in the United Kingdom. Approximately 30% of suicides and half of all homicides are alcohol related.
What characteristics predispose individuals to alcohol & drug abuse?
Specific factors in an individual which give them a predisposition to alcohol/drug abuse are:
extreme sensitivity to unpleasant feelings
low frustration tolerance
low boredom threshold
lack of alternative sources of pleasure
anger control problems
Psychoactive substances are chemicals that affect the central nervous system and alter a person's thinking, moods, and behaviour.
The DSMIIIR - categorises psychoactive substances into ten classes:
CBT for Alcohol/Drug Abuse
CBT therapeutic treatment for Alcohol/Drug dependence begins at the assessment session where the therapist looks at the initial sequence of events which led to the initial use of alcohol/drugs.
By understanding how individuals reliance on alcohol/drugs for pleasure and/or relief from emotional pain the therapist works to develop specific cognitive strategies to help reduce the intensity and demands of clients urges and create a stronger system of internal controls.
The CBT treatment rationale works with Alcoholics Anonymous in a complementary manner (12 step programme). The goals of treatment with CBT vary according to the clients individual needs, problems and previous history. Whereas AA views total abstinence as this treatment objective, CBT has found that clients prefer setting their own goals, and that way are more willing to achieve them.
The therapist helps clients to step back and assess how faulty thinking patterns impact on this emotional distress. By understanding the relationship between trigger situations which provide the stimulus for their addictive behaviours (work, stress, depression/loss, social anxiety, anger/resentment, low self esteem etc.) and the thoughts, beliefs and urges emotions which precede self medication through Alcohol/Drug abuse. Clients can work with self-defeating patterns and provide alternative ways of interpreting their life situations.