After years of substance use, many people find themselves asking where and how it all began. They might think this is an impossible question to answer and have conflicting throughs about the matter. The qualified staff at Laguna Shores might be able to help clients understand their addiction.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is among the most proficient ways to help people understand the root of their addiction. It helps recovering individuals learn how to balance conflicting thought patterns and opposite forces by providing ways to overcome these patterns.
Why Do Negative Thought Patterns Persist?
Most thoughts and beliefs are based on prior experiences. They reflect messages from parents, siblings, peers, teachers, significant others, and other people in one’s life. People who have had adverse experiences or who struggle with addiction tend to lean toward distorted thinking. These distortions may come from misconceptions or a lack of proper information.
Addiction tends to reinforce distorted thought patterns. Negative self-talk and judgment may harm one’s emotional life and trigger continued substance use. Even after some people achieve sobriety, the challenge of distorted thinking remains because these thought patterns do not go away without professional intervention.
While recovering individuals feel the forces of negative thought patterns, they may not necessarily be aware of other options. It is difficult to jump outside of oneself to choose self-esteem and confidence. This is why effective intervention is necessary, especially in terms of relapse prevention.
What Kind of Intervention Is Needed?
First, one needs to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. Increased self-awareness of emotional and mental well-being provides people with a space to pause and reflect. Next, individuals should seek coaching from a mental health professional to become more competent in identifying negative thought patterns and their triggers.
Negative thought triggers include difficult life situations, traumatic memories, substance use, or certain people and places. For example, when someone experiences flashbacks of past trauma, rather than dwelling on these storms of thought, they can recognize them as triggers and try to distract themselves by engaging in a healthy activity. This way the mind will be distracted and their mood can be boosted.
Unlearning negative thought patterns helps people discover more rational and healthy ways to think about themselves and their life. Thoughts tend to come and go very quickly. As humans, people have automatic thoughts that through their minds without realizing it every day. Adopting rational ways of thinking allows one to notice these passing thoughts without yielding to their power.
What Are Some Common Examples?
Because people’s minds, bodies, and emotions are closely connected, negative thoughts almost always trigger negative emotions. For example, some automatic thoughts may include subconsciously comparing oneself with others or assuming people think poorly of one. These thoughts may give way to emotions of inferiority. Below is a list of other common negative thought patterns:
- All-or-nothing thinking: Seeing things as all good or all bad without allowing for a middle ground
- Over-generalizing: Tending to reach a conclusion hastily based on limited evidence or past experience
- Negative filtering: Focusing only on the negative aspects of life
- Converting positives into negatives: Discounting achievements and positive experiences while focusing on negative ones
- Catastrophizing: Exaggerating the impact of events and nurturing a sense of doom
- Personalizing: Blaming oneself for unpleasant events
Emotions do not need to follow these traps of negative thought patterns. If people consider themselves in a positive light by recognizing the goodness of life, their own value, and the beauty around them, positive emotions like confidence and gratitude will come in time. People can unlearn negative thought patterns and relearn rational ways of thinking. Doing so is a choice, and with coaching from health professionals, anyone can improve on this skill which can greatly aid recovery for those struggling with addiction.
Recovery Thinking and How to Get There
Thought patterns that help people stay sober are recovery thinking. They tend to be characterized by acceptance, contentment, empowerment, alertness, confidence, and hope. The question remains: how does one get from addictive thinking to recovery thinking? Health professionals can help by way of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT).
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) seeks to identify and change negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioral changes. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is often used to treat high-risk individuals with suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors that emerge with substance addiction.
A unique aspect of DBT is its focus on acceptance of a client’s experience as a way for therapists to guide them toward changing negative behaviors. A DBT therapist will focus on enhancing a client’s life skills by improving their distress tolerance, emotion regulation, mindfulness, and effective interpersonal conflict resolution.
Are you struggling with negative thought patterns during recovery? There are many proven methods to help. Because of the brain’s fundamental property of neuroplasticity, therapies addressing the mind-body connection and regular practices of mindfulness can even reshape brain structures. If you are looking for a treatment center that promotes mental health therapies and holistic treatment methods, look no further than Laguna Shores Recovery. Here we have experienced mental health professionals who can coach and support you in these easy-to-use recovery strategies that challenge and redirect negative thought patterns. We will design and customize a comprehensive treatment plan for you by using a combination of therapies so you can recover from substance use and conflicting thoughts. We are determined to provide you with an empowering experience so you can flourish in recovery from substance use disorder. For more information, call (866) 229-9923.