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This situation is defined as cognitive dissonance and may present itself as part of your struggle as you work through the process of recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. At Casa Nuevo Vida we know how important it is to strengthen your mental health. Not everyone practices what they preach—and that could trigger poor mental health. Cognitive dissonance is the psychological conflict a person experiences when they hold simultaneous conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. If left unchecked, it could lead to anxiety and mental tension, and you might even try to rationalize harmful actions.

  • Do our taste buds magically transform after a certain number of consumptions and make what was originally pungent into a treat?
  • Therefore, it is still to be determined if there exists a common CDS across these paradigms.
  • Attending specialized therapy sessions such as psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals who struggle with cognitive dissonance work through emotional difficulties and disruptive or negative thoughts.
  • Cognitive dissonance creates a world for the addict where they can rationalize their need for the substance.
  • The predictive dissonance account is highly compatible with the action-motivation model since, in practice, prediction error can arise from unsuccessful behavior.

Values surrounding racism, sexism and religion can commonly cause tension when you discover new information that opposes how you feel, says Dr. Scott. To reduce their dissonance, the group members either dropped their original belief or adopted a new belief that their faith saved the earth. It occurs in all of us frequently, not just when planning to diet and justifying a doughnut with a delayed diet start.

Studies Overview

For example, you might avoid learning about all the adverse ways drinking and drug use can affect your physical, mental and emotional health because doing so makes you feel anxious. Or, someone close to you might gently point out that they think you should seek help, and you respond by angrily denying you have a problem or claiming you can quit on your own whenever you like. One way to deal with this internal conflict is to minimize all the potential problems that drinking and using drugs can cause.

Resolving dissonance may help prevent us from making bad choices or motivate us to make good ones. This desire to be at peace with our decisions might be just the thing to inspire us to go for that run after all. Thanks to advances in imaging methods, especially functional MRI, researchers have recently identified key brain regions linked to cognitive dissonance. The area implicated most consistently is the posterior part of the medial frontal cortex (pMFC), known to play an important role in avoiding aversive outcomes, a powerful built-in survival instinct. In fMRI studies, when subjects lie to a peer despite knowing that lying is wrong—a task that puts their actions and beliefs in conflict—the pMFC lights up. Cognitive dissonance is that uncomfortable feeling you get when you try to maintain two or more inconsistent beliefs at the same time or when you believe one thing but act in a contradictory way.

All About Mental Toughness: Definition, Health Effects, and How to Get Better at It

In this paradigm, a plausible explanation is offered to participants to justify their discomfort. For instance, in their seminal paper, Zanna and Cooper’s participants had to ingest a placebo pill that allegedly induced a negative mood. If the CDS is a negative state, it is difficult to understand how individuals can misattribute it to a positive source.

However, if I decide to forego the meal, or simply order a cup of coffee, my ordering behavior is again related to my hunger, but this time it is inconsistent. There is no doubt that cognitive dissonance can have a powerful influence on our behaviors and actions. However, there are fortunate individuals who see how their substance abuse is causing not only destruction cognitive dissonance treatment in their lives but also with those who love them. They hold onto the belief that they will see better days and that recovery is needed to change their life. As established, dissonance is a lack of agreement between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, our team aims to help our clients with addiction and mental illness recover.