What are cognitive behavior therapies for opioid abuse?

Updated: Jun 21, 2018
  • Author: David W Dixon, DO; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Cognitive behavior psychotherapy primarily focuses on the patient's thoughts and behaviors. Cognitive behavior–based models are widely used in drug rehabilitation programs. Cognitive behavior theories were aimed at substance abuse beginning in the mid-1980s. The techniques used help patients acquire specific skills for resisting substance use and teach coping skills to reduce problems related to drug use. Two major cognitive behavior theories of substance abuse are the following:

  • Relapse prevention: Based on the work of Marlatt and Gordon, important relapse prevention concepts and techniques include identification and avoidance of high-risk situations, understanding the chain of decisions leading to drug use, and changing one's lifestyle.

  • Cognitive therapy of substance abuse: Developed by Beck and colleagues, cognitive therapy of substance abuse is based on the concept that drug abusers engage in complex behaviors and thought processes, such as positive and negative drug-related beliefs and spontaneous flashes related to drug use before giving in to the actual drug use

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