Can You Treat Addiction With Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
In recent years, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) has become a widely used practice for a diverse array of psychological disorders.
Defining Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical behavioral therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It was initially developed in the late 1980s as a treatment for individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). DBT was found to be particularly effective for those exhibiting self-harm behaviors and suicidal tendencies.3
- Eating disorders
- Substance use disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
What Does “Dialectical” Mean?
Within the context of DBT, the term “dialectical” refers to the process of synthesizing opposing forces or viewpoints. The goal is to arrive at a more balanced, holistic understanding or action.
How Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Helpful?
- Emotional regulation
- Interpersonal relationships
- Overall mental well-being
What Are the Primary Components of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
- How to express one’s needs and boundaries effectively
- How to listen actively
- How to negotiate in conflicts
Therapist Consultation Teams
Therapists meet regularly with a team of colleagues to discuss cases, get support, and ensure they are providing the best care possible.
How Does Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Differ from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
Group Skills Training
How Can Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Help With Addiction Recovery?
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices instill a heightened sense of awareness, allowing individuals to recognize cravings and emotional states that may contribute to substance use. By fostering this self-awareness, individuals can make more informed decisions and reduce impulsive behaviors associated with drug and alcohol use.
- Distress tolerance: Distress tolerance skills equip individuals with strategies to cope with the discomfort and urges that might arise during moments of craving or when faced with situations that previously led to substance use.
- Emotion regulation: Moreover, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness skills in DBT further support the recovery journey by addressing underlying emotional imbalances and helping individuals establish healthier relationships.
Can Dialectic Behavioral Therapy Be Utilized Alongside Other Therapies in Addiction Treatment?
While DBT is useful for addiction treatment by itself, it is often utilized alongside other treatment options as well. This helps to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to recovery.
Some of the types of therapy that DBT is commonly utilized alongside during addiction treatment include:
DBT often includes individual therapy sessions. This is where an individual works one-on-one with a therapist to address specific challenges related to addiction, coping skills, and behavior change.
DBT typically includes group therapy sessions where individuals can learn and practice various skills alongside others who struggle with addiction. These group sessions provide a supportive environment for individuals to share their experiences and receive feedback from both peers and therapists.
Substance Use Disorder Counseling
While not a form of therapy, 12-step programs are often used in addiction treatment. DBT skills can complement the principles of these programs, providing individuals with additional tools for managing emotions, interpersonal challenges, and distress.
Who Can Benefit from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors
Substance Use Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
While dialectical behavioral therapy isn’t the primary treatment for PTSD, its skills can complement other therapeutic approaches by helping individuals manage traumatic risks and emotional extremes.
While primarily designed for personality disorders, dialectical behavioral therapy can be beneficial for individuals with conditions like depression or bipolar disorder. This is especially true when these conditions coexist with other issues like self-harm or substance use disorder.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Some individuals with ADHD, especially those who struggle with emotional dysregulation, may find dialectical behavioral therapy skills helpful. This can help them in managing impulsive behaviors and mood swings.
Chronic Irritability or Anger
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Comprehensive Mental Health or Addiction Support
While dialectical behavioral therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach, medication can sometimes be a beneficial adjunct, especially for disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety.
Family therapy or educational sessions can be integrated into a treatment plan to help family members understand DBT principles. This not only equips them with supportive strategies but also fosters a more supportive home environment.
Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders
Many individuals with addiction also have co-occurring mental health disorders. DBT can be integrated into a dual diagnosis treatment program. This is where individuals receive support for both addiction and other mental health challenges simultaneously.
Aftercare and Alumni Programs
Coordination with Other Healthcare Professionals
Why Choose Vista Taos for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
What We Offer
This ensures that each person receives the personalized guidance and support they require on their path to recovery.
Start Your Journey Today
If you’re ready to start your journey, contact our Vista Taos team today to learn more about how DBT can pave the way for a brighter, balanced future.