What Are Cognitive Distortions & How They Impact Addiction Recovery

This is an especially malignant distortion since it can facilitate the continuation of negative thought patterns even in the face of strong evidence to the contrary. If you’re worried about an interaction, consider whether you have conveyed all the information to the other person. Do they know everything they need to, or are you expecting them to figure out your needs? Dr. Sledge is a sought-after speaker in the industry, talking about the critical need to treat both the mind and body of those struggling with substance use disorder. In addition to working for Cumberland Heights, Dr. Sledge is an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. Nick’s work highlights Cumberland Heights’ commitment to outcome-oriented care, using proven techniques to put those struggling with substance use disorder on a path to success.

What are the 4 main risk factors of addiction?

  • Family history of addiction. Drug addiction is more common in some families and likely involves an increased risk based on genes.
  • Mental health disorder.
  • Peer pressure.
  • Lack of family involvement.
  • Early use.
  • Taking a highly addictive drug.

This happens when you judge and then define yourself or others based on an isolated event. You want your partner to focus only on you, despite knowing that they’ve always been very social and value time with friends. The fallacy of change has you expecting other people will change their ways to suit your expectations or needs, particularly when you pressure them enough. When these things don’t happen — they really depend on many factors — you feel guilty, disappointed, let down, or frustrated.

Alcoholics Resource Center

This article discusses different cognitive distortions and how they work. It also discusses hypothetical examples to show how this kind of thinking affects behavior and what you can do to help overcome these distortions. Denied users will not or cannot fully acknowledge the extent of their addiction. Denied users invariably make a secret deal with themselves that at some point they will try using again. Important milestones such as recovery anniversaries are often seen as reasons to use. Alternatively, once a milestone is reached, individuals feel they have recovered enough that they can determine when and how to use safely.

Why the pull of addictive cravings is so hard to resist – Aeon

Why the pull of addictive cravings is so hard to resist.

Posted: Thu, 22 Sep 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Action is not only louder than words; it is also more empowering. In the case of an unfortunate https://cheekystreet.com/2016/05/14/tools-for-living-sober-part-2/, you will no longer frame it as a situation you “should” confront, but rather one you “will” confront.

Addicted Brain

Typically, some kind of transitional care is needed, whether that’s a step down to outpatient care, a sober living environment, or other transitional services. Instead, accept that other people are going to do what they’re going to do and adjust your behavior however you have to in order to stay sober. You still have to work out the problems you caused before and you will still face new problems, just not problems caused by your drinking or drug use. No one’s life is free from problems but sobriety at least makes them easier to solve. If you want the best chance of a strong recovery, you need guidance to know what to do and you need social support to keep you motivated and accountable. You might decide that someone is a jerk because of one interaction and continue to judge them in all future interactions through that lens with no room for redemption. For example, when something bad happens, you see this as “proof” of your own failures.

What are the four C’s of addiction?

The four C's of addiction are a helpful tool in distinguishing between addiction as a mental health disorder demanding treatment and other types of addictive behaviors. The four C's are compulsion, cravings, consequences, and control.

CBT focuses on specific goals based on the particular issues you’re facing. Unlike other forms of psychotherapy, CBT doesn’t focus on past issues and instead concentrates on current struggles and mental processes that are causing you trouble. Personalization is the unhelpful thinking style whereby “You assume responsibility for a negative even when there is no basis for doing so.

The 7 Most Common Cognitive Distortions That Lead to Relapse

If you can think about them in that way, they don’t upset you very much. DBT guides participants toward more effective relationship skills, teaching new ways to interact with the people in your life. These skills include some assertiveness training, conflict resolution, and problem solving. Those with the perfectionist thinking error believe that they are totally competent in all they do. As a result, if they don’t immediately excel at something, they believe that it’s not by any fault of their own.

  • One example of fortune-telling is a young, single woman predicting that she will never find love or have a committed and happy relationship based only on the fact that she has not found it yet.
  • This distortion assumes that other people must change their behavior in order for us to be happy.
  • Jumping to conclusions or “mind-reading” is often in response to a persistent thought or concern of yours.
  • So, every time they go out, you let them know it’s not OK with you.
  • This page will look at the myriad of cognitive distortions and preservative thinking that appears to be part of the condition of many different addictive behaviours.

http://tools-of-death.ru/suicide/su05/su0003.html is still the golden standard towards treating depression, anxiety, and numerous other disorders. This thinking pattern causes a person to internalize his or her opinions as facts and fails to consider the feelings of the other person in a debate or discussion. This cognitive distortion can make it difficult to form and sustain healthy relationships. To understand the importance of self-care, it helps to understand why most people use drugs and alcohol. It helps to acknowledge these benefits in therapy so that individuals can understand the importance of self-care and be motivated to find healthy alternatives. The tasks of this stage are similar to the tasks that non-addicts face in everyday life.

Skills Training

The techniques we outlined beneath each cognitive distortion are all tools in your toolbox. When a friend tries to remind you of a good deed you did, do you brush it off and say that it “doesn’t count” or “doesn’t matter”? Butch worked for one of the state’s first intensive outpatient programs in Jackson, TN and the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism. During this time, he developed two pilot addiction programs in the Greater West Tennessee area. Butch also maintained a private practice, specializing in family of origin work and addiction populations.

As conscious beings we are always interpreting the world around us, trying to make sense of what is happening. Sometimes our brains take ‘short cuts’ and generate results that are not completely accurate.

Mislabeling can be emotionally loaded and have long-term consequences on someone’s self-esteem. Personalization happens when someone believes everything others do or say, somehow is a direct reaction to them. Personalizing would be assuming that they are in a sour mood because you’ve been a bad or unsupportive friend. Anna Bennett oversees the content strategy and implementation at HWP. A writer by trade, Anna has dedicated years to learning everything she can about mental and physical wellness, mindfulness, sustainability, and more. When not click-clacking away at her desk Anna can be found sitting in her garden with a cup of coffee and a good book.

When individuals continue to refer to their using days as “fun,” they continue to downplay the negative consequences of addiction. Expectancy theory has shown that when people expect to have fun, they usually do, and when they expect that something will not be fun, it usually isn’t . In the early stages of substance abuse, using is mostly a positive experience for those who are emotionally and genetically predisposed. Later, when using turns into a negative experience, they often continue to expect it to be positive. It is common to hear addicts talk about chasing the early highs they had. On the other hand, individuals expect that not using drugs or alcohol will lead to the emotional pain or boredom that they tried to escape.

For those in addiction recovery, cognitive distortions can be especially dangerous. These patterns can often increase anxiety and depression, fueling unhealthy behaviors that could lead to relapse. All-or-nothing thinking, often known as black-and-white thinking, is a type of cognitive distortion that many individuals who suffer from SUD encounter. It leads people to perceive things in extremes and leaves no shades of gray in emotional reasoning. For example, a person may think that if they abstain from drugs or alcohol for a day or two, they will believe they are no longer suffering from a substance use or alcohol use problem.


Consider whether a similar event has occurred in your past and, if so, how often it occurred. With the frequency of this catastrophe in mind, make an educated guess of how likely the worst-case scenario is to happen. Some of the most effective and evidence-based techniques and resources are listed below. Sometimes no matter how hard we work or how much we sacrifice, we will not achieve what we hope to achieve. To think otherwise is a potentially damaging pattern of thought that can result in disappointment, frustration, anger, and even depression when the awaited reward does not materialize.

Addiction Lead to Recovery, and Recovery Lead to Being a Good Dad

Substituting old habits that contribute to substance use with more positive and enduring actions enhances a person’s ability to function and aids in long-term recovery. When you recognize yourself engaging in this cognitive distortion, focus on practicing self-compassion. Replace these statements with more realistic ones, and work on accepting yourself for who you are rather than who you think you should be. While research has found that this distortion is common in people who have anxiety and depression, it is actually a very common way of thinking that many people engage in. For example, Nathan focuses on all of the negative or hurtful things that his partner has said or done in their relationship, but he filters all the kind and thoughtful things his partner does.

  • There are many others who have picked up the torch for this research, often with their own take on cognitive distortions.
  • But remember, feelings are facts and thoughts aren’t completely true.
  • We may have hurt the ones we love, do things we are ashamed of, and caused harm to ourselves.
  • Gilbert’s ideas have since developed into the distinct therapeutic approach of Compassion Focused Therapy .
  • I do it with one-on-one clients and group activities, but you can also do it with family members and friends who can provide positive solutions and support.