WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is a mental health treatment that is also called CBT. During CBT, your mental health caregiver will help you change some of the ways you think and act. Your caregiver may ask you several questions about your past. Your caregiver may give you questions to answer about how you feel and react to things that bother you. Your caregiver may also give you homework so you can keep track of when you feel upset. Your caregiver will teach you about your mental health problem. You and your caregiver will set goals for the things that you want to change about yourself. During your therapy sessions, you and your caregiver will decide whether you are meeting your goals or not.
- With CBT, you may feel better by changing how you think and react to things that upset you. You may not feel as bad about yourself and other people. You may also stop doing things that get in the way of how you want to live. CBT may be used with other kinds of treatment such as talk therapy or medicine. Your caregiver may meet with you alone or in a group of people with the same kinds of problems. You may meet with your caregiver for several weeks or months. Ask a caregiver how you can get started with CBT.
How CBT may help you:
There are many reasons why you may need CBT. You might have a mental health problem that gets in the way of fully living your life. You might also feel better if you change the way you think about a health problem. CBT may also help you stop doing things like taking illegal drugs or hurting yourself.
Follow Up Meetings:
You and your caregiver will decide how many meetings you will have. If you reach this number of visits, together you will decide if you need to have more meetings.
How CBT may help your depression:
When you have depression, you may have times when you feel very sad for no reason. With CBT, you may start to feel better about yourself and your future. You may become more active and enjoy being around people more often. You may also feel more hopeful about the world around you.
How CBT may help your anxiety:
If you have an anxiety disorder, you may worry too much or feel very nervous. Your caregiver may help you relax when you face things that are scary to you. He may also help you use positive thoughts to make you feel less anxious about yourself. As you become less scared, you may feel better around new people and places. CBT may help you change thoughts that do not make sense.
How CBT may help your panic attacks:
If you have panic attacks, you may get very scared or uneasy for no reason. Your caregiver will teach you about panic and why you feel it at certain times. Your caregiver will show you how to breathe deeply and relax. You may be given homework to keep track of when you feel panic. Your caregiver may use a tool called exposure. Exposure helps you get used to things that cause your panic attacks. You may also change the way you think so that you feel less scared.
How CBT may help your fears:
CBT may help you feel better when you are fearful of things that should not scare you. These fears are called phobias. Your caregiver may teach you ways to be more relaxed around things that make you very afraid. This may help you do better at work because you feel better about yourself. A treatment called exposure may help you get used to things that cause your phobias. Your caregiver will help you slowly face your fears.
How CBT may help you cope with bad things that have happened:
Your caregiver may have told you that you have post-traumatic disorder (also called PTSD). If you have PTSD, your caregiver may ask you to talk about your memories. Your caregiver will comfort you and help you relax when remembering unpleasant events. CBT may help you feel less fear about your past and your future. CBT may help you feel better about yourself and your life. You may also learn how to manage your fears in a healthier way.
How CBT may help your obsessions or compulsions:
CBT may help you if your caregiver has said that you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If you have OCD, you may do certain behaviors over and over again. You might also not be able to stop thinking about certain things. With CBT, your caregiver will help you face thoughts, people, and places that scare you. He may help you accept your thoughts and actions and figure out which ones need to be changed. With CBT, you may slowly feel less fearful about things. You may also stop doing things over and over again.
How CBT may help you cope with schizophrenia:
If you have schizophrenia, you may see things and hear things that are not real. You may also believe things that are not true. Your caregiver will teach you about schizophrenia and how it can get in the way of living your life. Your caregiver may teach you how to take better care of yourself. You may also become less fearful of other people. You and your caregiver will decide which of your thoughts are real or not. You may learn that believing something that is not true may make your life seem harder.
How CBT may help you stop hurting yourself:
You and your caregiver will set goals for your therapy. You may begin to see your caregiver as someone you can trust. Your caregiver will teach you ways to be less emotional. You may learn tools like mindfulness. Mindfulness is a way of thinking that helps you be less judgmental about yourself or others. With CBT, you may learn to handle things that bother you and solve your problems in healthier ways.
How CBT may help you with other problems:
CBT may help you change the way you think about a disease or other health problems.
- Pain: Your caregiver will work with you to change the way you think about pain. You will also learn about things like sleeping, moods, and pain types. Your caregiver may ask you to keep track of your pain in a notebook or a journal. This will help you remember what happened and how you felt when you had pain. With CBT, you may learn to function better when you have pain or are worried about getting pain.
- Falling asleep or feeling tired: CBT may help you sleep better when you have insomnia. Insomnia is a problem where you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep. Even if you sleep during the night, you may feel like you do not get any rest. CBT will help you change how you feel about insomnia. Your caregiver may teach you new ways to relax. You may also learn to do certain things to help you get more sleep during the night.
- Addiction: CBT may help you if you are addicted to alcohol or drugs such as cocaine or heroine. Alcohol is found in adult drinks such as wine, beer, and whiskey. CBT teaches you skills that help you react in a healthy way to things that bother you. CBT may also help you talk and act in a healthier and more confident way around other people. Your may learn about and change the behaviors that cause problems in your life. CBT may also lower your risk of using drugs or alcohol again.
Risks of CBT:
If you have a mental health condition, CBT may make your signs and symptoms worse. You might not be able to face the thoughts or things that scare you.
Your caregiver may decide that you need medicine to help you feel better. Medicine may help you feel more relaxed during CBT. Medicine may also help your symptoms get better.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to decrease anxiety and help you feel calm and relaxed.
- Antidepressants: Antidepressant medicine may help you feel less sad. With this medicine, you may feel more positive about yourself and other people.
- Antipsychotics: Antipsychotic medicine may help you stop hearing and seeing things that are not really there. Antipsychotics may also help you stop thinking that people want to hurt you. You may also feel more relaxed around people and do a better job of taking care of yourself.
- Mood stabilizers: Mood stabilizers may help you from having extreme changes in your mood. You may feel more calm and steady with mood stabilizers. Mood stabilizers may also help you stop hearing and seeing things that are not really there.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You become sadder or more fearful.
- You have questions about your mental health problem, symptoms, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Your feel like hurting yourself.
- You have done something on purpose to hurt yourself.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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