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DBT for Addiction: What Is It and How Does it Help Recovery?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is used often in addiction treatment. It’s a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). These techniques address negative thought patterns and dysfunctional beliefs that can lead to substance use. DBT specifically focuses on treating certain mental health issues and is a common evidence-based treatment for depression. It’s proven particularly effective in helping elderly adults and suicidal women.

DBT also helps manage borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is often linked to substance use. It also includes symptoms like suicidal behavior, anger, impulsivity and a pattern of unstable relationships. Other conditions for which DBT is often recommended include elderly depression, eating disorders, gender-related borderline personality disorder and co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD). Several studies have concluded that DBT is among the most effective course of therapy for individuals with BPD and other psychological conditions, including SUD.

What Is DBT Treatment Like?

Typically, those who undergo dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) as part of their treatment plan attend a consultation and weekly, individual and group counseling sessions. You will learn new skills such as how to take better control of your emotions and not give in to your cravings for substances. Your mental health professional will assist you by recommending healthy strategies including solutions and skills that deal more appropriately with stress, becoming more mindful of your emotions, altering your environment to one more conducive to recovery, modifying destructive behaviors, behavior reinforcement and radical acceptance. A full course of DBT treatment takes around six months, compared to CBT which usually takes three. The four main skills that DBT address include:

  • Teaching Dialectical Thinking to assist in distress tolerance
  • Building healthy, personal relationships with others
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Improving emotional regulation

Care begins with the consultation – or assessment – and takes place for 1-2 hours – this is when you will meet with mental health professionals and receive a diagnosis and treatment plan. Weekly group meetings usually last approximately 1.5 – 2.5 hours and Individual therapy sessions are also scheduled weekly and last for around 1 hour

How Can DBT Help with Addiction?

The ability to manage stress in healthy ways is imperative to staying in recovery. Without healthy coping skills and medical supervision, someone with a substance use disorder is likely to use substances to self-medicate and alleviate negative emotions. Learning how to control emotions and tolerate distress will assist in preventing dangerous levels of such to occur. Having a strong support group is important in recovery. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) also lasts twice as long as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which can be advantageous to those who require more assistance.

At Recovery Unplugged, We Can Help

Contact Recovery Unplugged if you have any questions about Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and other treatment options. We have service providers with different backgrounds so that you are matched with the care provider that suits you best and locations nationwide. With four times the recovery rate, five times higher rates of completion and a 95 percent client approval rating, you are in safe hands. We accept most major insurance companies and have payment options so that you can afford the treatment and quality of life you deserve. At Recovery Unplugged, music is our medicine. To chat live with a representative and for more information on our history of using music as a catalyst to therapy, you may visit here.

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