Treating Addiction with DBT

Treating Addiction with DBT

DBT is a form of therapy that helps individuals struggling with addiction and substance abuse develop skills that help them recover and move forward.

Short for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, DBT is a modality used to treat various mental illnesses and disorders. This form of therapy has been particularly useful when treating addiction and substance abuse.

Although it was originally intended to treat personality disorders and severe suicidal thoughts, DBT has expanded and can help just about anyone under intense stress.

Treatment centers and addiction mental health professionals are increasingly using DBT more because its core tenets possess the necessary skills to recover from addiction and substance abuse.

So how does it work?

The goal of DBT is ultimately to improve an individual’s quality of life by changing maladaptive behaviors, negative thoughts and beliefs. Often times those with poor emotional regulation struggle to change these things about themselves and are confronted with conflicting feelings about changing. DBT therapists work to help clients synthesize these conflicting feelings and identify their own strengths, the things that they do have control over and accept the world around them.

DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy as it tries to change thoughts and distorted cognitions. Although these two modalities are similar, DBT has its own components and skills that set it apart. DBT professionals rely on helping clients through individual therapy, phone sessions, group therapy, skills training, and team consultation. Often times, clients will be given homework to work on in between sessions. There are five objectives that guide the therapist and client.

These include:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

There are also skills developed within each objective. For example in objective one, mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation are emphasized. These skills are especially helpful and necessary when treating someone with addiction or substance abuse.

Some examples of Treating Addiction with DBT include:
Fostering relationships with individuals and groups that do not encourage drug or substance use.
Removing triggers such as, unhealthy relationships and actual drugs and substances or paraphernalia.
Building self esteem so that clients feel confident to remain sober after treatment.

DBT can be modified to specifically treat those struggling with addiction and substance abuse. Furthermore, individuals with addiction are often times diagnosed with personality disorders in which DBT was originally intended to treat. DBT is a strong therapy modality to use in many mental health settings and can be especially useful when treating addiction and substance.