Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and alcohol misuse
Some evidence – there is enough evidence to indicate that this can be a helpful treatment option.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that uses a problem-solving approach to alcohol misuse. The approach involves identifying unhelpful, unrealistic thoughts and beliefs that may be contributing to your alcohol misuse (e.g. "my friends would find me boring if I was sober").
Once you have identified these thoughts and beliefs, your professional will encourage you to base your behaviour on more realistic and helpful thoughts ("my friends like me for my personality, not for my drinking").
CBT can also help you to identify triggers that cause you to drink alcohol, such as:
- social anxiety
- being in "high-risk" environments, such as pubs, clubs and restaurants
Your CBT therapist will teach you how to avoid certain triggers and cope with any triggers that you can’t avoid.
CBT is usually delivered as 60 minute sessions once a week for around 12 weeks. There will usually also be some sessions which involve your family. CBT can be more helpful if you do not have other problems in addition to alcohol misuse and you have good social support (e.g. from your family and friends).
Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.