Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy (talking therapy) which helps you manage your problems by troubleshooting the way you think and behave. This is done by a mental health counselor who follows a structured approach, to help you identify the negative thoughts and think clearly. This, in turn, impacts the way you look at problems in life and overcome them with better capabilities.
CBT is used to treat a wide-range of diseases. But, there are some diseases which make the need for CBT mandatory. They are mentioned below.
Depression is a complex medical condition characterized by loss of interest, feeling hopeless, insomnia, lack of appetite, and constant fatigue. CBT helps by changing the thinking pattern and behavior, in which the patient learns to overcome a problem with rationality. A scheduled and structured approach of around 14 to 16 weeks helps a person overcome mild to moderate depression, without the help of anti-depressants. A combination of anti-depressants and CBT has proven effective in treating major depression.
2. Anxiety And Panic Disorders
CBT helps overcome anxiety and panic disorders. The treatment focuses on identifying the situations that induce anxiety and panic in the patient, the symptoms, and ways to predict it. The therapist will then teach the tricks of reacting to the situation positively. In severe cases, the patient might be exposed to situations that trigger anxiety or panic, and then taught ways to fight it. This therapy is called exposure therapy.
A phobia is an extreme fear of an object, situation, animal, or feeling. A phobia could interfere with a person’s day to day life with a frequent onset of anxiety or panic disorders. Mild phobias can be handled by self-help techniques like meditation and deep breathing. But moderate to major phobias require cognitive behavioral therapy. The patient is either exposed to a situation or object that induces fear, or the therapist talks in detail about the triggers of fear, and the ways to overcome them.
4. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder which sets after a distressing event in life. The patient relives the traumatic moment through flashbacks or nightmares and ends up feeling emotionally and physically drained. A severe injury, terrorist attack, natural calamity, and violence in the past are some of the situations which could trigger PTSD. CBT has been effectively able to treat it. The therapist makes the patient describe the situation again and again, or induce one, to make him realize that the present is not harmful.
Apart from age, bad lifestyle, and medications, insomnia could also be caused due to stressful thoughts and beliefs. In the initial stage, insomnia could be treated with relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes. But, when this technique fails, CBT plays an important role. It helps the patient analyze the thoughts that induce insomnia and slowly get over with such thoughts. It also throws light on the normal sleep goals and the influence of naps and exercise on sleep.
6. Chronic Pain
The process of recovering from a chronic pain can be challenging, since you are hurting and all you can do is bear the pain. Studies suggest that the intensity of the pain depends on your mind’s perception of its severity. CBT helps by changing the thoughts, emotions, and behavior related to pain, improving coping strategies. It helps one perceive the pain at significantly lower levels.
7. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a chronic illness characterized by obsessive thoughts, which result in compulsive behavior. It interferes with the person’s day to day life affecting their personal and professional life. Severe cases of OCD are successfully treated using CBT. The patient is made to gain control over his obsessive thoughts, which in turn regulates the behavior.
Apart from the above conditions, CBT also helps one recover fast from a mental illness and reduce the risk of getting it again. It has been successfully able to resolve relationship issues, enhancing communication skills. Identifying the right therapist and sticking to the schedules of the therapy are the key factors.