Understanding the Role of DBT in Addiction Treatment

The Recovery VillageDrug Rehab

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As you look at options for addiction treatment, you may come across the acronym “DBT.” This stands for dialectical behavior therapy, but what does this actually mean? DBT is used as part of a holistic and comprehensive strategy to treat addiction.

What Is DBT?

Dialectical behavior therapy uses both group and individual therapy and skills training. It helps participants achieve new skills in areas such as emotional regulation, managing stress and distress, mindfulness and interpersonal relationships. It helps decrease conflict in relationships, helps people be present at the moment and helps people to maintain strong, assertive relationships with others. People who participate in DBT gain skills that can help them manage and confront their emotions, particularly intense emotions or ones that are difficult.

According to Psychology Today, this treatment was “developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., in the 1980s to treat people with borderline personality disorder.” However, it is also applicable to others who experience and struggle with intense emotions that can cause conflict in relationships and harm to the individual who experiences them.

What Is the Purpose of DBT?

According to Behavioral Tech, the goal of DBT is for participants to “develop a life that they experience as worth living.” Clients work with their therapist to set life goals. This often involves pinpointing negative, harmful behaviors and finding ways to change these into positive behaviors.

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DBT involves homework: regular practices such as mindfulness that help you regulate your emotions.

What Does DBT Look Like?

If you are participating in DBT while in recovery, it involves several different aspects. This includes a group skills class that teaches you mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotional regulation. The goal is for you to be more present, tolerate pain, ask for what you want or say no to others, and change your emotional state. Your sessions will usually last for about two hours, and you’ll get homework such as mindfulness practices that help you implement what has been discussed in class. While groups often meet every week for about six months, it is also possible that a group will move more slowly or more quickly. Some people do not attend group therapy at all.

You will also work with an individual therapist who will help you put these skills into practice in your own life. That therapist can also work as a coach when challenging situations come up for you, helping you manage your life. In DBT, you are the manager of your life, and your therapy team is there to help you solve your problems.

Who Can Use DBT?

Who can dialectical behavior therapy help? While its tools are useful for anyone experiencing treatment for addiction and mental illness, it is especially helpful to those with a borderline personality disorder, PTSD, depression, and eating disorders. If you are experiencing a dual diagnosis of substance misuse and another mental health challenge, then DBT can help you gain the tools that you need to manage your emotions in a healthier way and managing the need to use drugs or alcohol.

At The Recovery Village Columbus, we give you the well-rounded support that you need to work on becoming and staying sober. Contact us about addiction treatment and learn about admission today.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Columbus aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.