Substance Abuse and Cognitive Therapy Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1740 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs

Substance Abuse and Cognitive Therapy

Alcoholism and drug abuse affect more than just the individual. Its negative stressors also have a devastating effect on friends, family, and coworkers. Left untreated, individuals and their families can be torn apart. This learner has a sister who abuses alcohol, LSD and cocaine. Obtaining health care for her has been a five-year struggle for this learner. After researching many counseling techniques, the learner found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy would be the best approach for healing her sister both physically and mentally, with the hopes of keeping her sister away from alcohol and drugs.

The learner will perform an evaluation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the treatment of her sister, who suffers from alcoholism and severe Substance Abuse. This learner will point out that it is expected that this type of therapy is highly effective in the treatment of the problem, as it provides a greater understanding of the negative as well as positive influences in life. This learner will provide an insider's view of how this therapy has helped her sister. It works extremely well with substance abusers and has a high success rate for keeping individuals clean and sober.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Substance Abuse and Cognitive Therapy Assignment

For individuals who develop any number of substance abuse problems that require professional intervention, it is necessary to consider the many options that are available. There is a necessity to utilize specific techniques in order to treat such problems as alcoholism and drug abuse. With this in mind, the purpose of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a means of offering support for the management of this problem is a critical step in a positive direction for many patients. A significant body of research supports Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an effective treatment for a variety of disorders, including the issues related to alcoholism and drug abuse. This paper will describe a case study involving this learner's sister, who has suffered from serious bouts of alcoholism and drug abuse. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the means of supporting her wellness regimen. Prison is not the answer. This learner has found Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to be the best approach for treating her sister.

"Cognitive-behavioral coping-skills training (CBST) is an alcoholism treatment approach aimed at improving the patients' cognitive and behavioral skills for changing their drinking behavior. CBST encompasses a variety of approaches that, despite their core similarities differ in duration, modality, content, and treatment setting. Numerous studies and reviews have ranked CBST among the most effective approaches for treating alcoholic patients. Nevertheless, a recent analysis of nine studies failed to identify specific CBST components that could account for the treatment's effectiveness." (Marlatt and Gordon 1985).


Substance abuse continues to be a major health threat to the population of the United States with tens of millions of Americans continuing to consume alcohol, smoke (or chew) tobacco products as well as a host of other illicit drugs that may or may not have been legally prescribed (Beck, Wright, Newman & Liese, 2001). The economic consequences of this trend are staggering, but the toll exacted on the individuals involved is even more severe. Indeed, the problem extends to the larger society as well.

Beck, Wright, Newman and Liese (2001) state that at least one in every ten adults in America has a serious alcohol problem and at least one in four is addicted to nicotine. This level of substance abuse has very big consequences on both an individual and a larger societal level. Hundreds of thousands -- in the range of 450,000 people approximately -- die every year in America as a direct result of cigarette smoking, and thousands also die as a direct result of alcoholism and/or illicit drug abuse.

One positive factor is that public awareness of the problem has increased in recent years. In fact, over the past quarter century, the United States has engaged in an aggressive "war on drugs" campaign since 1986 in an effort to reverse these trends. Anti-drunk-driving campaigns have become a common feature in the American media, for example, and tobacco users are warned about the dangers involved with their addiction to themselves and the people around them on a relentless basis.

Since the United States began its "War on Drugs" in 1986, various policies and approaches were established and implemented. The U.S., generally speaking, takes a "tough-guy" stance when it comes to substance abuse -- emphasizing punishment, restriction, and "social welfare, as opposed to a public health oriented position," as Newcomb (1992) notes in his article "Substance abuse and control in the United States: ethical and legal issues." Policies often reflect a "quick fix" solution to a very complex problem, which, according to Newcomb (1992), may explain somewhat why it has failed and why the U.S. seems to be losing the War on Drugs.

Increased public awareness concerning the dangers that are associated with substance abusing behaviors in isolation from other interventions has been shown to be ineffective (Kadden, 2002). Simply telling people that they are engaging in harmful behaviors that they find to be pleasurable has been a failed experiment in social engineering since the dawn of time, because human nature encourages rationalization, which extends to self-destructive and destructive behaviors associated with addiction. This is a trend that will confound the best intentioned public awareness efforts.


American citizens who survive the rigors of early childhood and adolescence to achieve their majority -- and free people everywhere -- have a fundamental legal and moral right to engage in behaviors that the medical community may feel are harmful and even self-destructive. After all, adults in the United States are legally presumed to possess the requisite knowledge and wherewithal they need to live their lives in the fashion they want and it would be disingenuous and ineffective for others to force their contrary views on them, even when it is in their best interest (DiClemente, 2007). This problem is further compounded by the fact that some of the most frequently abused substances, alcohol and tobacco, are legal and their use continues to be promoted in the media, even while marketers warn consumers to "drink responsibly."

People who drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or use other drugs, do so because these activities are perceived as providing them with some type of significant return on their investment of time and resources (Hanson, 1995). In fact, Americans who drink alcohol, for example, even to excess, may consider these behaviors as not only normal but entirely acceptable from a societal perspective, and will go to great lengths to defend their right to continue to do so without interference from others. Likewise, tobacco users are clearly addicted to a harmful product that many nonsmokers view as a disgusting and expensive habit, but they will also go to great lengths to continue to use their substance of choice.

The increasing multicultural demographic of the United States makes this trend even more complicated. Some cultures do not share the same tolerance that American society does in terms of alcohol use, for example, while others may have an even higher acceptance rate for these types of behaviors. If a sufficient number of people are engaging in the same types of behaviors, this will only reinforce individual perceptions of the appropriateness or acceptability of such behaviors. This means that clinical interventions must take into account cross-cultural differences, both from the perspective of the substance abuser as well as the healthcare professional. Indeed, although modern American mainstream society has condoned alcohol and tobacco use by virtue of their legal status, other cultural segments of American society may view them behaviors in a less positive light.

When it comes to illegal drugs such as cocaine or marijuana, the trend is even more complicated, but can be reasonably expected to mirror many of the same processes that inform the abuse of alcohol and tobacco. For example, cocaine users and marijuana smokers will likely associate with other cocaine users or marijuana smokers based on a mutual desire to use these substances and the need to identify new sources for their drugs of choice as old ones are lost to arrest or otherwise. Among this segment of American society, the use of illicit drugs would likely be viewed in the same manner as the collective view of ordinary citizens who gather at the neighborhood bar after work for a few beers. This makes clinical interventions even more difficult.

Kouimtsidis, Davis, Reynolds, Drummond, and Tarrier (2007) note that most communities in Western societies accept alcohol as a cultural norm; however there are some communities that may not be so accepting (communities that are very religious or with specific cultural norms might be the exception). Because of the trend of acceptance, it can be suggested that society does not judge people who use or even abuse alcohol, as opposed to other substances, as harshly, even though an alcoholic may require pharmacological treatment and detoxification strategies.

In many parts of the world, alcohol is used to enhance peoples' lives and many… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Substance Abuse and Cognitive Therapy" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Substance Abuse and Cognitive Therapy.  (2010, September 15).  Retrieved April 3, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Substance Abuse and Cognitive Therapy."  15 September 2010.  Web.  3 April 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Substance Abuse and Cognitive Therapy."  September 15, 2010.  Accessed April 3, 2020.