DIAGNOSIS: Substance-Use Disorders

TREATMENT: Group Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Opioids Use Disorders


  • Basic premise: Cognitive-behavioral strategies are based on the theory that in the development of maladaptive behavioral patterns like substance abuse, learning processes play a critical role. Individuals in CBT learn to identify and correct problematic behaviors by applying a range of different skills that can be used to stop drug abuse and to address a range of other problems that often co-occur with it. CBT has shown particular benefit for relapse prevention. CBT focuses on reducing or avoiding drug craving. Patients are taught to recognize the situations or states associated with prior drug use that provoke drug craving and to avoid these situations whenever possible. Patients are also taught a variety of coping skills to use when opioids craving occurs, such as distraction, recall of negative consequences, and positive thought substitution. The continuing positive effects of CBT during the follow-up phase was attributed to the continued application of coping skills taught to the patients during the active phase of treatment. There is evidence that adding CBT group therapy to pharmacotherapy can improve outcomes.



Cognitive therapy of substance abuse (Beck, et al., 1993)

Group cognitive therapy for addictions (Wenzel, et al., 2012)


Working with heroin sniffers: Clinical issues in preventing drug injection (Casriel, et al., 1990)

Manual-guided cognitive-behavioral therapy training: a promising method for disseminating empirically supported substance abuse treatments to the practice community (Morgenstern, et al., 2001)

We don't train in vain: a dissemination trial of three strategies of training clinicians in cognitive-behavioral therapy (Sholomskas, 2005)


Group treatments for addiction (CEU Matrix, 2010; Daley and Douaihy, 2011)

Group therapy in substance use treatmnet (SAMHSA)

Substance abuse treatment: Group therapy (SAMHSA, 2005/2015)

Interactive CTAG Forms (Wenzel, et al., 2012; Beck, 2011)

Opiod use disorder (Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, 2023)

Intensive treatment and rehabilitation program for residential treatment and rehabilitation centers for drug dependents (interpret) (Department of Health: Republic of the Philippines, 2020)

A cognitive-behavioral approach: Treating cocaine addiction (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1998)

A-CBT training services (Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies)

CBT training from Beck Institute (Beck Institute, 2023)

Helping health and mental health professionals provide better care to their clients (Beck Institute, 2023)

CBT4CBT (CBT4CBT, 2008-2019)

Group cognitive behavioral therapy for addictive behaviors (Lies, 2017)

CBT worksheet packet: 2020 edition (Beck, 2020)


Des Jarlais, D.C., Casriel, C., Friedman, S.R., & Rosenblum, A. (1992). AIDS and the transition to illicit drug injection–results of a randomized trial prevention program. British Journal of Addiction, 87(3), 493–8.

Gregory, V. L., Jr, & Ellis, R. J. B. (2020). Cognitive-behavioral therapy and buprenorphine for opioid use disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse, 46(5), 520–530.

Rawson, R.A., McCann, M.J., Shoptaw, S.J., Miotto, K.A., Frosch, D.L., Obert, J.L., et al. (2001). Naltrexone for opioid dependence: evaluation of a manualized psychosocial protocol to enhance treatment response. Drug and Alcohol Review, 20(1), 67–78.

Scherbaum, N., Kluwig, J., Specka, M., Krause, D., Merget, B., Finkbeiner, T., & Gastpar, M. (2005). Group psychotherapy for opiate addicts in methadone maintenance treatment–a controlled trial. European Addiction Research, 11(4), 163–171.