5 Common Cognitive Distortions of Addicts that Prevent Addiction Recovery

We are social animals with the capacity to learn from each other; our friends and therapists may be better able to see where our record is skipping than we can. We get addicted to thinking, spending many sleepless nights mentally gnawing on problems we simply can’t solve. John A. Smith is a Senior Psychotherapist at The Dawn and an internationally accredited Addiction Treatment Professional (ISSUP), Certified Life and NLP Coach. He is highly experienced in working with young adults and utilises a range of evidence-based therapies, including SMART Recovery, to help his clients achieve their goals. To learn more about addiction recovery at The Dawn, contact us today.

20 common thinking errors of addicts

Here’s an example- when a non-addicted person sees a kitten, their brain fires all these wonderful signals and you get butterflies and feel all warm and fuzzy and think, “omg, that kitten is soooo cute”! And I look at the kitten thinking yeah, whatever, it’s a kitten, their cute. When we need to solve a big problem, we often have the urge to go into the forest alone and think things through without distractions. Lacking any new information, the mind becomes a broken record, skipping in the same spot over and over.

Substance Abuse

This cognitive distortion, similar to discounting the positive, occurs when a person filters out information, negative or positive. For example, a person may look at his or her feedback on an assignment in school or at work and exclude positive notes to focus on one critical comment. For instance, a person with all-or-nothing thinking sees negativity as the only possible outcome in any situation.

For example, a girlfriend who tries to get her boyfriend to improve his appearance and manners. She believes her boyfriend is perfect if he changes this and will make them happier. I do it with one-on-one clients and group activities, but you can also do it with family members and friends who can provide positive solutions and support. Identify never, always, cannot and all absolute statements – listen to your thoughts and identify when you are using the all-or-nothing words.