Reviewing DBT

Before you decide where to attend rehab you should research the types of therapy used to treat addiction. After learning about the different therapeutic approaches used to treat addiction you will have a better understanding of what causes addiction and how therapy aims to resolve it. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is one approach commonly used to treat addiction. The goal of DBT is to help patients change behavior patterns that are harmful to themselves or others. Most rehab programs use a combination of treatment methods so you are likely to encounter some elements of DBT wherever you attend treatment.

What is DBT?

Reviewing DBT

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an approach to addiction treatment that teaches the user to identify triggers and change behaviors

Dialectical Behavior Therapy was developed by Marsha Linehan in the late 1970s to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. The idea behind DBT is that each person has his own set of triggers, or circumstances in which he is more likely to react in an intense or emotional manner. Triggers are found in all parts of life: at work, in your relationships and even in small incidents like the air conditioner that keeps going out. DBT sessions teach you what a trigger is, how to identify triggers in your life and what to do when faced with one. Problems with substance abuse are often exacerbated by not having the proper coping skills in place to deal with triggers. Once you know your triggers and how they influence addiction it will be easier to make the right choices under pressure. If someone offers you a drink right now you may accept it before even taking a moment to consider the other possible choices. DBT teaches you to press pause when faced with a trigger so you can achieve the best outcome.

How is DBT Used?

Sessions can take place in a variety of sessions but DBT always involves one-on-one sessions with a therapist and group sessions led by an instructor. DBT aims to create a supportive environment where the therapist is seen as an ally in treatment instead of an authority figure or adversary. Therapists accept patients as they are but ask the patient to acknowledge that some behaviors, such as chronic substance abuse, must change. The therapist uses information given to him by the user in order to illustrate how substance abuse has a detrimental effect on life and begins teaching him new behaviors that are healthier alternatives. You will not learn a new behavior to replace substance abuse during DBT but you will discover things you can do if you feel tempted to relapse that make the thoughts go away.

DBT has four modules that comprise treatment:

  • Mindfulness – Mindfulness means being fully aware and present in the moment, a core principle that drives DBT. Without a complete understanding of mindfulness DBT-based treatment is ineffective. Mindfulness helps you be aware of triggers or possible threats and helps you accept difficult situations or emotions. If you approach your life with mindfulness you will see things more objectively and make better decisions.
  • Distress tolerance – Many approaches to addiction treatment will teach you ways to avoid or insulate yourself from difficult situations or stress but DBT takes the opposite approach. You cannot shield yourself from distress permanently, so why not learn to process it healthily? DBT teaches you to accept distress instead of trying to change it.
  • Emotion regulation – The decision to use LSD is often motivated by emotion; you may be upset or, conversely, you may want to celebrate a special event. Some people have a harder time making the right choice when they are in a highly emotional state. If you cannot think clearly when you are emotional, finding a way to control your emotional intensity can lead to better outcomes. Therapists teach you to identify and label emotions, identify what makes changing emotions difficult, and apply mindfulness and distress tolerance to emotion.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness – Problems in interpersonal relationships can make an addiction worse or be made worse by an addiction. Changing your approach to relationships can improve the way you get along with the people around you and make your life easier. Goals mainly focus on situations where you need to ask for something, say no or confront someone else. Learning to navigate these tricky waters maximizes the chances that you will be successful in any potentially triggering situation.

Choosing an Approach to Addiction Treatment

Picking the right type of therapy is an important component of selecting a rehab program but there are more criteria to consider. Call our toll-free helpline to speak with a trained addiction specialist about what types of addiction treatment are available and how you can start as soon as possible. Your health insurance may help cover the cost of rehab and most programs offer financing and other assistance. Give us a call now to find out how addiction treatment can change your life and we will help you find an effective program so you can start your recovery.