Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy are types of treatment that are based firmly on research findings. These approaches aid people in achieving specific changes or goals.
Changes or goals might involve:
A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing;
A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious;
A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts;
A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like lessening back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.
Behavior Therapists and Cognitive Behavior Therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past.
They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life, not on personality traits.
Behavior Therapists and Cognitive Behavior Therapists treat individuals, parents, children, couples, and families.
Replacing ways of living that do not work well with ways of living that work, and giving people more control over their lives, are common goals of behavior and cognitive behavior therapy.
HOW TO GET HELP:
If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet.
You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner.
It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist.
It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees.
They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association.
Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state.
You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations.
You may, of course, visit our website (www.abct.org) and click on "Find a CBT Therapist"
The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is an interdisciplinary organization committed to the advancement of a scientific approach to the understanding and amelioration of problems of the human condition.
These aims are achieved through the investigation and application of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assessment, prevention, and treatment.
Different Drugs Have Different Effects
When we speak of drugs, we mean those substances that affect our brain and,
thus, our behavior. Different drugs have different types of effects. The major
classes of psychoactive drugs are depressants, amphetamines, hallucinogens,
inhalants, opiates, and cannabis. Below are brief descriptions of these drugs and
Depressants, such as barbituates and benzodiazeprines, slow down the brain
and central nervous system and include alcohol, tranquilizers (Valium®,
Xanax®), and sedatives (e.g., Dalmane®, Amytal®, and Seconal®). These
drugs, even when prescribed, can cause a strong physical and psychological
Stimulants, such as crack, cocaine, methamphetamine, and diet pills, speed up
the central nervous system. Rapid psychological and physical dependence to
amphetamines can occur, particularly if these drugs are injected or smoked.
Hallucinogens produce distortions of perception (for example, seeing or hearing
things that are not really there) and affect insights and judgment. Common
hallucinogens include LSD, PCP, MDA, and mescaline. Although physical
dependence is rare, frequent use can lead to psychological dependence.
Inhalants give users an immediate “high” or “buzz.” Inhalants such as glue, solvents,
aerosols, and volatile nitrates were never meant to be used as drugs,
and, when inhaled, their long-term use often results in very serious health
problems, including brain damage. Frequent use of inhalants can cause psychological
Opiates are very strong pain killers and include heroin, methadone, morphine,
Demerol, percodan, and Dilandid. Although some opiates are prescribed for
short-term medical use, abusers seek a different effect: highs and relaxed feelings.
People can become physically and psychologically addicted to opiates.
Cannabis, the most commonly used illegal mood-altering drug in North
America, includes marijuana, hashish, and hash oil. Regular and frequent use
of large doses can cause psychological and physical dependence.
WHY DO PEOPLE USE DRUGS?
People have used drugs as far back as recorded history. Drugs’ healing and painreducing
properties are an essential element of medicine. People use drugs for a
variety of reasons and their use can be beneficial, neutral, or detrimental.
Whether it is to avoid “feeling bad,” to enhance good feelings, to be “one of the
gang,” to cope with stress, or for other reasons, the rewards for drug use usually
occur sooner than the negative effects. Feeling good, or "high," is often one reason
why people are willing to risk the long-term negative consequences of drug
use. Although negative consequences do not always occur, when do they do happen,
they can be devastating.
WHAT DO DRUGS DO?
Repeated heavy drug use over extended periods can have long-term negative
effects on the user's health, family and social relationships, and psychological
Health problems can range from mild medical problems, such as headaches
or stomach inflammation, to serious or fatal medical problems, such as heart
failure, liver or kidney damage, brain damage, or, if needles are shared, AIDS.
Negative social and/or psychological effects can range from mild problems,
such as absence from work or school, to serious problems with depression
and strained or broken ties with family and friends.
The effects of drugs depend on several things: the amount taken at one time
and the route of use (inhaled, injected, etc.); the strength of the drug; past
experience and expectations of the user; and circumstances in which drug
use occurs (such as the person's mood, whether others are present).
Tolerance to drugs develops with repeated drug use. As tolerance develops,
people need more of the drug to achieve the same effects previously produced
by smaller amounts. Individuals who develop a substantial tolerance can
sometimes use drugs without appearing impaired.
Regular drug use can lead to psychological dependence and, for some drugs,
physical dependence. Psychological dependence is a compulsive need for
drugs: People often continue to use drugs even when they are aware of how it
can harm them. Psychological dependence is different than physical dependence,
although both can occur together.
Not all drugs produce obvious signs of physical dependence. Physical
dependence occurs when the body, and particularly the central nervous system,
has adapted to the presence of drugs. When people who are physically
dependent on a drug stop using drugs, they can experience withdrawal, which
is the body’s way of readjusting to the drug's absence. The body's reaction is
usually the opposite of what it would have been were the drug present. For
example, withdrawal from depressant drugs may cause over-stimulation of
the nervous system, which can lead to anxiety, tremors (shakes), hallucinations,
and seizures. Withdrawal from stimulants can involve serious feelings
of depression (a “crash”) and can even trigger psychotic symptoms. The
length and severity of withdrawal varies with the drug and how long it takes
to be eliminated from the body. Sometimes medical treatment is required for
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Because drug problems can be mild to severe, and affect people differently, it
is unlikely that a single approach will be right for everyone. Various treatment
approaches can help people who are experiencing problems due to their drug
use. Many types of therapy, including individual and group therapy, residential
therapy programs, pharmacotherapy (for instance, methadone treatment),
and various types of behavior therapy, are effective. Some people even
overcome their drug problems on their own. As with many other serious
health problems, there are many pathways to recovery. The ultimate goal, of
course, is to eliminate the drug use and related problems. If this is not possible,
the goal becomes harm reduction, or reducing the risks of ongoing use.
The success rate of treatment varies, and can be affected by various factors
such as the person's age, motivation, social and family support, and the presence
or absence of friends who are still using drugs.
Behavioral research has contributed significantly to major changes that
have taken place in the drug field over the past decade, most notably in the
areas of assessment and treatment. Behavioral treatments start with a
detailed assessment of the behavior. This information is used to develop an
individualized treatment plan which is tailored to each person’s needs.
Specialized treatment typically starts with motivational enhancement and a
detailed assessment of a person's drug use and related behavior. This information
is used to develop an individualized treatment plan. Common guiding
principles similar to treatments in other health care areas suggest that treatment
should (1) be individualized (tailored to each person); (2) be least
restrictive (requiring the least total life change, while still achieving goals and
maintaining accomplishments); (3) empower the person to take responsibility
for his or her own change; and (4) address issues related to relapse (since
relapse rates are very high following treatment).
HOW LONG WILL TREATMENT TAKE?
Treatment length varies. For some this might be a few sessions; for others it
might involve a longer or more intensive process. Typically, the more severe
the problem, the more intense the treatment. It is recommended that treatment
start with the most minimal intervention suitable for the severity of the
person’s drug problem and that more intensive treatment be implemented
only if necessary. For example, many people will only need outpatient treatment,
while others may require hospitalization followed by outpatient treatment.
Some people may need only one course of treatment, while others may
have continuing problems with drugs and require several courses of treatment.
For more information or to find a therapist:
Please feel free to photocopy or reproduce this fact sheet, noting that this fact sheet was writen and produced by ABCT. You may also link directly to our site and/or to the
from which you took this fact sheet