Cognitive Dissonance and Addiction Behaviors Elevate Addiction Services

A skilled counselor can help people recognize and change self-destructive thoughts and beliefs and change behaviors. For example, a type of cognitive- behavioral therapy called dissonance- based therapy has been evaluated by researchers to be effective, even long term, for young cognitive dissonance and addiction women with eating disorders (Stice, Rhodes, Shaw, & Gau, 2011). In addiction, cognitive dissonance is often present as individuals struggle to reconcile their desire to continue abusing substances with the harmful effects and negative consequences of their addictive behaviors.

New data shows poor mental health impedes creativity

  • This is because they have found a way to justify the unjustifiable and one of the ways that they are able to do this is by cognitive dissonance.
  • A better understanding of how substances of abuse change cognitive processes is needed to develop new therapeutic agents to treat addiction and ameliorate cognitive deficits.
  • A heightened sense of self-efficacy that is important to remain abstinent.
  • The participants felt like hypocrites — but their intention to take the positive action increased.

For example, while craving, the decision to smoke just one cigarette is viewed in a more favorable light. The smoker may focus on more accommodating belief (e.g., “smoking cannot be very dangerous”). By reducing the risk of smoking, one will have less difficulty in smoking and not feel bad about it. While smokers are not craving, the shift in balance between benefit and negative consequences will motivate smokers to quit. That is, now the negatives (including guilt and shame) dominate the decision, and the lapsed smoker wonders how such a mistake was made.

How Cognitive Dissonance Feels

Addiction and recovery: A philosopher’s view Hub – The Hub at Johns Hopkins

Addiction and recovery: A philosopher’s view Hub.

Posted: Fri, 16 Sep 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Our purpose is to help people everywhere find great counselors and psychologists. I don’t like visiting them, but they’re my family, and you have to put up with stuff like that with family, right? Since this has been the normal way of thinking for them, it will continue as they progress through their recovery. One cannot reason with someone on drugs or use logic and data to persuade them out of their distorted reality. Similarly, when we lose in a contest, we come to desire the prize less because we view it as less valuable. The point is that we try to ensure that the picture we have of ourselves is coherent, which is a means for maintaining a positive self-image (seeing ourselves as rational and consistent).

What does cognitive dissonance feel like?

To deal with the feelings of discomfort then, they might find some way of rationalizing the conflicting cognition. For instance, they may justify their sedentary behavior by saying that their other healthy behaviors—like eating sensibly and occasionally exercising—make up for their largely sedentary lifestyle. Cognitive dissonance theory, which was founded by American social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1957, states that cognitive dissonance drives people to resolve the conflict between truths and behaviors that don’t match one another. This can mean either changing behavior or ignoring the truth to avoid discomfort. In CBT for addictive behaviours cognitive strategies are supported by several behavioural strategies such as coping skills. This study helps us understand how Festinger’s classic theory of cognitive dissonance can be used in a practical way to help people struggling with difficult emotions and behaviors.

A careful functional analysis and identification of dysfunctional beliefs are important first steps in CBT. The hallmark of CBT is collaborative empiricism and describes the nature of therapeutic relationship. Because the task wasn’t validated by a sufficient monetary reward, they made up an internal motivation that justified the lie. Festinger proposed this hypothesis in his 1957 book, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. His research on what causes cognitive dissonance and how we react to it has become critical to the fields of social psychology and psychiatry. But because we want the benefits of presenting ourselves a certain way, we don’t mind the inconsistency in our behavior.

Subjects were placed in either a dissonance- based eating disorder program or a more traditional education intervention, (in which they received educational materials). Participants were encouraged to critique thin ideal body types in written, verbal, and behavioral exercises. Participants from both study groups were interviewed after the study, and again at six months, and one, two and three years after the study. They found that the young women who participated in the dissonance-based therapy group had less dissatisfaction with their bodies at the end of the treatment, and at the time of the 3-year follow-up interview (Stice, et al, 2011).

Examples of Cognitive Dissonance

cognitive dissonance and addiction

The Processes of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-Analyses

How to resolve cognitive dissonance

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