Author: Kari Kagan, Psy.D.
The first step in making a change in your drinking or other substance use habits is to better understand the function of the substance in your life. In other words, understanding how you end up drinking or using when you did not intend, and what you might be getting from it, could help you to make different choices around your drinking or other drug use in the future. Below is an outline of a tool called a functional analysis. Working through this tool will help you take a detailed inventory of typical triggers and both positive and negative consequences of your substance use. The ultimate purpose of completing this inventory is to increase awareness of the patterns that lead to using and subsequently make changes that help you to achieve your substance use goals.
Functional Analysis Tool
Identify your external triggers:
Identify your internal triggers:
Use or Drinking Behavior:
Short-term positive consequences:
Long-term negative consequences:
After working through this tool, we hope you have a better understanding of both the triggers and consequences of your substance use. This information can be very useful in helping you to avoid common triggers in order to prevent drinking. In addition, having a better understanding of the positive effects of your substance use can help you to identify alternative ways you can achieve similar positive experiences. For example, if you find drinking helps you to relax, you might try taking an exercise class at the time you would usually drink. Further, reminding yourself of the negative consequences you experience as a result of your substance use could help to motivate you to make choices that align with your goals. At SF Bay CBT, our goal is to teach you a variety of tools that you can use to help you manage your substance use and related mental health issues. Feel free to reach out to us for a free phone consultation to learn more about the tools we use in our work.
Diana Gordon, Psy.D., Kari Kagan Psy.D., and Katie Leoni, Psy.D.
Drs. Gordon, Kagan, and Leoni practice psychotherapy in downtown San Francisco and Oakland. Their areas of expertise include anxiety, sleep, stress, depression, and addiction. They blog about these topics to provide research-based information about common problems and strategies to help manage them.