DBT for addiction has long been one of the most popular therapies used in treatment programs across the country. First developed by Marsha Linehan, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) was used to help reduce suicidal tendencies in people with borderline personality disorders. Today, it is widely used to treat a number of mental health conditions and diseases, including addiction.
What is DBT?
Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that is designed to help promote acceptance and change. The goal of DBT is to help alter negative thinking patterns and behaviors to produce more favorable outcomes. In order to accomplish this goal, DBT is broken down into four different areas of focus:
- Mindfulness – Mindfulness is a practice in which an individual works to focus on the present moment only. They learn to look at the now without any personal interpretation or judgment. DBT focuses on helping clients develop mindfulness skills to aid in reducing emotional pain or distress.
- Emotional regulation – Many people who struggle with substance use disorders find that they struggle to properly regulate their emotions. Emotional regulation practices in DBT allow clients to learn how to label their emotions. Once they can label them they can then express them in a healthy way.
- Interpersonal effectiveness – Interpersonal effectiveness is the core of DBT. It works to help clients learn how to communicate their wants and needs in an acceptable manner. Learning effective communication helps their relationships flourish rather than fail.
- Distress tolerance – Skills are taught that help clients learn how to better manage distressing situations. These tools replace negative coping skills that could otherwise compromise their sobriety and overall well being.
These four skills form the foundation for healthy and effective coping mechanisms. Once the individual begins to put these tools into practice, they help reduce negative behaviors that contribute to addiction.
What is the Process of DBT for Addiction?
DBT for addiction treatment can be a detailed process. This process is effective because it works through underlying behaviors and replaces them with healthy ones. This takes time to learn. While some clients will work in a one-on-one setting with a therapist, others will may participate in group therapy. For those participating in groups, they will participate in a skills training group, which focuses on teaching new, effective behavioral skills. Clients will also work in individual therapy with a therapist where they will take the skills they have already learned and apply them to specific areas of their lives.
Phone coaching services are also a common component of DBT for addiction treatment. Connecting with a therapist over the phone in crisis situations can help provide some resolve and guidance — especially while learning to use new skills. To help round out the entire process of DBT, a consultation team works with providers to help support them as they work through their clients’ pressing issues.
Who Can Benefit From DBT?
While DBT was originally developed to help treat individuals experiencing borderline personality disorder, it has proven to be effective for more than just that. Individuals who are experiencing the following conditions can benefit from DBT:
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal behavior
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
DBT for addiction treatment has also proven to be extremely beneficial for those who are looking to put an end to their active addiction once and for all.
How Can DBT Help With Addiction?
DBT for addiction treatment has remained an absolutely vital component of care for millions of people. Not only can this form of therapy help to regulate emotions, encourage mindfulness, and reduce pain associated with stressful events, DBT for addiction treatment can also provide the following benefits:
- Prevents relapse – Overall, DBT for addiction treatment helps clients learn different ways to cope with life so that relapse does not occur. DBT works to reduce the stressors that would otherwise put strain on a person and potentially lead to relapses, such as negative relationships or improper behaviors.
- Focuses thoughts – DBT shows individuals how to use their brain power to better control their own thoughts, in turn helping to control their behaviors. The thoughts that continue to serve as a trigger for substance abuse can be challenged and improved.
- Improves relationships – A huge part of DBT for addiction treatment is focused on improving one’s relationships with others. This is so beneficial, as individuals in recovery require a strong support system of loved ones. Not being able to maintain healthy relationships with these people can leave room for continued negative behaviors and actions.
DBT is an excellent tool to use in addiction treatment, especially for those who are also experiencing certain mental health conditions like depression or borderline personality disorder. When applied effectively, DBT can help put the individuals in recovery back in the driver’s seat of their own lives.
Addiction Rehab in Orange County, CA
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