It’s common for people who have a dual diagnosis of addiction and a mental illness to struggle with resolving their cognitive dissonance in healthy ways. Therapy is a valuable tool for cognitive dissonance treatment learning how to better deal with cognitive dissonance. Spending time with someone who challenges your faulty rationalizations helps you identify problematic thoughts and behaviors.

treatment for cognitive dissonance

Addiction is a disease that already changes the chemistry of the brain and its ability to function normally. The regions that allow us to think and make decisions effectively have been damaged. You can also lessen the chances of dissonance beginning in the first place if you practice being mindful, Noulas says.

How Trauma, Stress, and Cognitive Dissonances Can Lead to Drug Use

Integrity is the path to positive self-worth, more peaceful emotions, and a successful, purposeful life. Integrity is about closing the gap between what we think and how we act. Resolving cognitive dissonance is essential to living a life of purpose, meaning, joy, and growth. To live an authentic life, you need to be able to recognize when you’re compensating for incongruence. From there, you can make positive changes that help you live according to your true values. Before they went on stage, they were told to think of a time when they didn’t exhibit that behavior.

treatment for cognitive dissonance

Besides tension, you may experience dread and anger, especially if you don’t see a clear solution to your experience of cognitive dissonance. For example, let’s say you work at a job that doesn’t align well with your belief system or your life vision. You know the job is making you miserable, yet you don’t have any other options, and you can’t leave the job because you need to pay your bills.

Talkspace mental health services

This kind of incongruence — called cognitive dissonance — can cause some serious mental discomfort. That’s because if you’re not self-aware, cognitive dissonance can leave you acting and feeling pretty out of character. At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, our team aims to help our clients with addiction and mental illness recover. This is done by learning how to change their thought patterns and remove their dissonance through various methods of therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Doing some soul searching to determine the areas of your life where contradiction exists can shed light on areas you may need to work on.

  • Neha enjoys writing about mental health, elder care, innovative health care technologies, paying for health care, and simple measures that we all can take to work toward better health.
  • Therefore, the brain is an inference machine that attempts to actively predict and explain its sensations.
  • When effort that doesn’t pay off causes cognitive dissonance, try to look for a silver lining to reduce the impact of the disappointment.

Over time, living out of integrity with our values begins to take its toll on our psychological well-being and mental health. Have you ever felt a sense of tension in your mind, but you weren’t sure why or what was causing it? This psychological phenomenon of cognitive dissonance is hard to detect, but for those with addiction, it is important to recognize. This can help be able to detect any underlying mental illness that can be a major contributor to someone’s addictive behavior. Co-occurring disorders (addiction and substance disorder coinciding) can be managed with dual diagnosis treatment. This theory of cognitive dissonance plays a major role especially for those who suffer from substance abuse.

Personal Responsibility

We generally try to eliminate this dissonance by taking a new, consonant action or by dismissing the incongruent information. Learning what cognitive dissonance is, why it’s so powerful, and how to manage it can put you back in the driver’s seat. In today’s world, people do things or have beliefs and opinions that sometimes leave us questioning humanity.

Cognitive dissonance is usually accompanied by a physical sensation. When you feel either physical or psychological discomfort, make a note of it to yourself. Just keep it in mind for when you have time to journal or discuss it.

Effects of cognitive dissonance

For example, if you grew up in a strict fundamentalist religion and were taught that sex before marriage is a sin, you may find yourself in a state of cognitive dissonance if you begin a sexual relationship before marriage. This can also occur if you were taught that something is inherently wrong with you if you are gay. (This kind of dissonance was far more common in the past than it is now, though it still exists.) Some people experience feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, or anger as an effect of cognitive dissonance. If the dissonance is great, some people may even feel they have become immoral, or they can develop a lack of self-worth until the dissonance is resolved.

  • That is, there is mental discord related to a contradiction between one thought (in this case, knowing he did something wrong) and another (thinking that he is honest).
  • If they did, that indicated they had a sense of guilt that they understood enough to need to cover it up.
  • This is all about striving for integrity, working hard to have your actions line up with the kind of person that you want to be.

Cognitive dissonance is the uneasiness you feel when you have conflicting beliefs. For example, people may feel cognitive dissonance if they enjoy drinking alcohol, despite knowing too much may be bad for their health. Sometimes, the ways that people resolve cognitive dissonance contribute to unhealthy behaviors or poor decisions.