Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Addiction Treatment

There are many different therapies used in the treatment of behavioural disorders, addiction, and mental health problems. The ones used for you will usually depend on who is providing your treatment, what condition you are being treated for, and your personal situation and set of circumstances. If acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a part of your programme, it might be something you are keen to learn more about it. We take a look at it in the following paragraphs.

What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

When it comes to treating conditions such as mental health issues and addiction, ACT can be a useful tool. It is based on the idea that you must learn to accept what you cannot control but commit to learning new positive behaviours that will change your life for the better.

ACT is a behavioural therapy that utilises strategies such as mindfulness to improve mental and emotional wellbeing. The use of ACT will help you learn how to accept the things that you cannot change and face them head-on. The idea is that if you can learn to overcome your negative thoughts and beliefs, you will achieve an overall sense of wellbeing.

The use of mindfulness skills can help you have greater control over your feelings and thoughts. By learning how to deal with these issues, the consensus is that they will have less control over you. You will also learn how to identify things that have true meaning to you. By learning what your values are, you will be in a much better position to develop ways of improving your life.

ACT teaches you to embrace and accept your thoughts and beliefs and to see them for what they are. You will learn how to avoid acting on these negative thoughts and feelings and to just let them come and go without them bothering you.

How Does Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Work?

ACT works by helping you to change how you view your negative thoughts and beliefs. With the use of a range of experiential therapies, the power that your maladaptive thoughts have over you will be diminished. This allows you to change how you react to these feelings.

You will learn that it is better to accept your beliefs and thoughts rather than trying to act on them and get rid of them. ACT typically takes place in one-to-one sessions where you and your therapist work on mindfulness techniques and exercises to help you deal with the issues that are affecting you personally.

It can also be used within a group setting where visualisation and behavioural techniques are practiced. You may also be given homework to do between sessions. The wonderful thing about ACT is the fact that it is a long-term solution that can be implemented each and every day to improve quality of your life.

ACT attempts to help you deal with the inner thoughts you are having so that you can prevent these from controlling the things that you say and do. It can help you to take charge of your life by bringing about an empowerment within yourself. Since ACT does not attempt to label the symptoms or problems you might be experiencing, it is an effective tool for those reluctant to see themselves as being ill.

You will learn how to change the way that you perceive the thoughts you have. Instead of them being the driving force behind your maladaptive behaviour, you will learn to see them as harmless, even if they are uncomfortable at times. Instead of changing the way you react to your thoughts, you will develop ways of reducing the impact these have on your life.

Many people try to avoid their feelings by taking drugs, drinking alcohol, or gambling, while others get angry or sad and then behave in a similar self-destructive manner. ACT helps you to just accept your feelings and let them pass without reacting.

Understanding Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

ACT is a behavioural therapy that is all about taking action to help you achieve your core values. But it is not just about acting without thinking. At the heart of this therapy is the idea that you need to be more mindful of what you do. ACT helps you to be conscious of what you are doing and to be fully aware and engaged in whatever you are doing.

The aim of ACT is to teach you how to accept the things that you cannot control and to commit to taking action that will improve your life. During ACT sessions, your therapist will teach you the skills that will help you deal with painful thoughts without letting them negatively impact your life.

You will also learn how to identify the things that are really important to you; when you know what your true values are, you will be able to use them to guide your actions. The idea is that you will be motivated and inspired to set goals and targets so that you can improve your quality of life.

By using ACT, your therapist will attempt to help you learn how to live a fulfilled and meaningful life while at the same time accepting the pain and suffering that goes with it. Life is full of ups and downs and so how you deal with the downs will help you to enjoy the ups even more.

What Abuse/Addictions Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Used to Treat?

  • Gambling Addiction
  • Alcohol Addiction
  • Drug Addiction
  • Prescription Drug Addiction
  • Internet Addiction
  • Shopping Addiction
  • Sex and Love Addiction
  • Food Addiction
  • Gaming Addiction
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How Does Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Help in Addiction Recovery?

No matter what type of background you come from or what your upbringing has been like, you are never going to be able to escape feelings of sadness or pain. These feelings are a part and parcel of life. No matter how privileged a life you may have lived thus far, pain and suffering are inevitable. It is how you deal with these feelings that dictates how your life will continue.

Most people handle negative thoughts and feelings in a non-destructive manner, but there are those who try to deal with their emotions by self-medicating with harmful substances such as alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication. Others will engage in compulsive behaviours that have a negative impact on their daily life.

When used to treat addiction, ACT helps the affected individual learn how to accept the painful emotions and feelings that are a natural part of life. By learning to accept them for what they are and allowing them to pass without any action, the person can then focus his or her energies on reaching their goals in a healthy and positive manner.

The simplest solution for an addict facing emotional difficulties or painful memories is to self-medicate with a particular substance or to try to act away from the problem. However, doing this can result in a never-ending cycle of addictive behaviour and negative feelings that just get worse and worse.

ACT can help you to accept your feelings without you being overly affected by them. You will learn to realise that there is not necessarily any truth in your thoughts or beliefs. They are just thoughts that you have no control over and there is no need for you to act on them.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Techniques

Many different exercises can be used during ACT sessions, and these will depend on the therapist. Nevertheless, six core processes are used, which are:

  • Acceptance – This is the first step in making ACT work. It involves teaching patients how to accept their painful feelings without acting on them. By learning how to open up and overcome the internal struggle that these feelings usually induce, you will be able to learn ways of dealing with them effectively.
  • Cognitive Defusion – Cognitive defusion looks to help you learn how to stop associating your negative thoughts with the truth. You need to learn how to see your thoughts for what they are – just thoughts. They are not fact and they are not necessarily true.
  • Contacting the Present Moment – This is used to teach you how to become more aware of the here and now. You will learn how to experience what is happening without the need to predict the outcome or attach any judgement to the experience.
  • The Observing Self – A big part of ACT involves ‘the observing self’, which is different to the ‘thinking self’. The thinking self is the part of your mind that is responsible for your beliefs and ideas. The observing self is responsible for your awareness and attention. The use of mindfulness techniques will help to improve your awareness and attention.
  • Values – This technique is used to help you identify the core values that are most important to you. These are the qualities that you will choose to live your life by and they are vital in terms of helping you to achieve your goals.
  • Committed Action – With committed action, you will set your goals and develop ways of helping you to achieve them. The goals you choose should be consistent with the values you have identified. By committing to achieving these goals, you will improve your overall wellbeing and quality of life.

How Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Differs from Other Psychotherapies

The main difference between ACT and other psychotherapies such as CBT is that with ACT you will learn how to accept your thoughts and feelings rather than trying to change them. Instead of learning how to identify and challenge negative thoughts and actions as would be the aim of CBT, with ACT you will learn not to be influenced by your thoughts without trying to change them.

This therapy aims to change the function of unpleasant thoughts rather than removing the existence of them. It is therefore a useful tool in the treatment of a variety of problems including addiction, mental health problems, and behavioural disorders.

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Co-Occurring Mental Disorders Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Treats Include:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Panic Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Social Anxiety
  • Phobia Disorder

Other Supplemental Therapies

  • Yoga
  • Fitness Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Experiential Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
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Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.