All of us want to make the best decisions possible when choosing how to spend our time, money, and energy. When looking for addiction or mental health treatment, the stakes are especially high. The sooner the right treatments are begun, the less time is spent suffering unnecessarily, and the fewer the ongoing consequences of the illness are likely to be. Regaining health and reclaiming life is too important for random experimentation.
Most treatments for mental and physical health challenges start with a theory. Over time, these theories are tested until a consensus emerges that a given treatment either is or isn’t effective for most people who use it. When enough peer-reviewed scientific research shows a treatment is effective, it’s considered evidence-based. These are some of the evidence-based treatments offered at Florida rehab center Promises Five Palms:
- CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely-used and widely-studied forms of psychological intervention. As the name implies, it’s based on the idea that cognitive processes (patterns of thinking) prompt specific behaviors and emotions.
People may have beliefs about themselves, the world, or the future that need to be examined and addressed. A wide variety of therapies for specific disorders fall under the CBT heading, and although techniques vary, the approaches share the same underlying theory and model. Some common thought patterns that CBT may help you identify and confront are:
- Overgeneralization – When we overgeneralize, we take an observation and come to a broad conclusion that may not be warranted. If we fail at a task, for example, we may conclude we’ll never succeed at anything.
- Personalization – Personalization is interpreting the actions of others as being specifically directed against us. We can also see ourselves as the cause of events that aren’t truly our responsibility.
- Filtering – To engage in filtering is to mentally remove the positive attributes of a situation and see only the negative ones.
- Disqualifying the positive – Sometimes, even when we see the positive aspects of an experience, we discount them and believe they aren’t important.
- Catastrophizing – Catastrophizing involves living in a state of expectancy that disaster or misfortune will strike. It’s predicting the worst-case scenario for how events are likely to play out.
- Maximizing or minimizing – Events may be seen as overly significant (maximized) or their significance may be undervalued (minimized).
- Polarized thinking – If our thinking has become polarized, it’s hard for us to see a situation’s nuances. People and situations are either completely good or completely bad.
Hundreds of clinical trials have proven CBT to be effective for a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, including anxiety, mood disorders, anger issues, and chronic pain. Some studies have found CBT more effective than antidepressant medications for adults suffering from depression.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse includes CBT on a list of evidence-based treatments for substance use disorder. They note that techniques focus on helping patients anticipate challenges and develop self-control.
Counselors may help people examine the consequences of continued substance use, learn to recognize cravings when they first begin and identify risky situations. They note that the skills the patients learn are theirs to use long after treatment is completed. Computer-based versions of CBT have even been shown to be effective in people who’ve finished standard treatment.
- DBT – Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an outgrowth of traditional CBT developed in the 1970s. Traditional CBT focuses on “reframing” situations and learning to look at them differently.
DBT acknowledges that people can get stuck in unhelpful thinking patterns that lead to unwanted behavior, but it also acknowledges that we develop these thinking patterns for legitimate reasons. It adds an intentional element of validation. The term “dialectical” refers to the integration and synthesis of forces that appear to be opposites. The primary opposing forces in DBT are acceptance and change.
Skill development is part of traditional CBT, but the focus varies according to need. In DBT, patients develop skills in mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotional regulation. It’s more structured than traditional CBT as well, with practitioners following a specific protocol. DBT was initially developed to treat borderline personality disorder. But it has been proven effective for a wide range of conditions and needs, including addiction, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and eating disorders such and anorexia and bulimia.
- Trauma Therapy – Trauma can be the genesis for a mental health disorder you might expect – PTSD, but also for other challenges, like anxiety, depression, and addiction. Identifying and addressing sources of trauma is often a crucial part of healing and recovery. Trauma can lead to impaired functioning through several different mechanisms, including the following:
- Limbic system changes – The limbic system, which is the part of our brain that controls instincts, raw emotions, and drives, is often affected by traumatic events.
- Cortisol production – Trauma may cause the body to alter the way it produces and uses stress hormones, such as cortisol.
- Hypervigilance –Hypervigilance, or hyperarousal, can lead to muscle tension, a strong startle responses, and poor sleep quality.
- Triggered memories – The brain may pull up memories of the traumatic event when something in the present situation seems similar. Some triggers are obvious, and some, such as a barely-remembered smell or the color of a shirt, are less easy to anticipate.
- Flashbacks – Flashbacks differ from triggered memories in that when you experience them, it feels like you’re living the traumatic event in the present moment. They may be brief but are often very intense.
- Nightmares – Nightmares aren’t uncommon in people who’ve experienced trauma. It can add to the sleep issues caused by hypervigilance.
- Dissociation – When you dissociate, you lose the connection between thoughts and actions. You “go somewhere else” in your mind to escape the present reality.
- Learned helplessness – Because they were unable to prevent the traumatic event and felt helpless during it, people who’ve experienced trauma can develop a sense of general helplessness and hopelessness that accompanies it.
- Cognitive assumptions – Experiencing a traumatic event or series of events can challenge the idea that the world is safe and that most people are kind and helpful.
- Alienation –If you’ve experienced trauma, you may begin to feel like you have nothing in common with people who haven’t experienced something similar. It can lead to a growing sense of alienation and a tendency to isolate.
- Adaptive behaviors – People may engage in various behaviors to manage the emotions created by the traumatic event. They may attempt to soothe and/or distract themselves through actions like substance use, overeating, or gambling. Sometimes people try to gain control by re-enacting the trauma. This may involve self-harming activities, hypersexuality, or engaging in high-risk behaviors.
- Mindfulness-based treatments – Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment, observing feelings and thoughts as they come and go, and calmly allowing them to float in and out of awareness. Mindfulness can is in many ways, often through guided meditation. It may incorporate mind-body practices like stretching and body scans. Mindfulness-based treatments have been proven effective for a wide range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, so when looking for Florida rehab, it’s wise to find one that incorporates it.
Mindfulness is the opposite of what we generally experience, which is mindlessness or mind-wandering. One study found that people let their minds wander for almost half of their waking hours. This is unfortunate because mind-wandering is associated with unhappiness.
We may resist the urge to focus on the internal world and the present moment because when we do look inside ourselves, we often see worry, fear, anger, self-criticism, or other emotions and thoughts we’d prefer to avoid. Mindfulness teaches us not to fear these thoughts and feelings but to simply observe that they typically come, do no harm, and leave again.
Mindfulness treatments can be effective on their own and can also be a good combination with other evidence-based therapies. Mindfulness and CBT are similar in that they both build on the assumption that thoughts and feelings aren’t truth that necessarily needs to be acted on. Mindfulness can help you become aware of your thoughts and feelings, and CBT can help you challenge the untrue or unhelpful ones. Both CBT and mindfulness exercises can help you learn not to fear your internal world but to view it with curiosity.
Mindfulness is compatible with DBT, but as previously noted, it is one of the four basic skills taught in that program. In DBT, mindfulness may be taught and practiced through imagery, breath counting, coordinating breathing with footsteps, and other activities that help you incorporate it into your daily life. Patients may choose the exercises that best fit their lifestyle and preferences.
Mindfulness can be especially helpful for people healing from trauma. It helps you learn to focus on the present and the fact that you’re safe. Mindfulness practices reinforce the truth that unpleasant feelings come, but they also leave.
If you’re looking for a Florida rehab facility that offers evidence-based and trauma-informed treatment, why not give us a call? We’re a trusted place to heal, recover and grow. Call us today for more information on how we can help you or your loved one at 1.844.675.1022.