DBT for Substance Abuse

Substance use disorder is a difficult disease to deal with. This is why treatment for substance use disorder is so important to get right. There are many different kinds of programs available to those who are struggling with addiction. One of the most renowned forms includes dialectical behavior therapy.

At The Freedom Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland, we believe in utilizing evidence-based therapy methods such as DBT for substance abuse in conjunction with main levels of care for a well-rounded continuum of care, proven to result in successful recovery outcomes.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy developed by Marsha Linehan that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. It integrates acceptance and mindfulness strategies with more traditional cognitive-behavioral techniques, creating an effective approach to changing problematic behaviors.

The main purpose of DBT is to help individuals manage and cope with difficult situations, thoughts, and feelings. It is used to treat a wide range of disorders including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and substance abuse.

DBT for substance abuse focuses on helping an individual identify their triggers — the events or situations that lead to an increase in problematic behavior — and develop coping strategies to manage them. These coping strategies can include relaxation techniques, thought-stopping exercises, and positive reinforcement. Additionally, the therapist will help the individual identify their core beliefs and values and create a plan to move towards healthier behaviors that are more consistent with those beliefs.

Through DBT, individuals learn to become more mindful of the present moment to better manage their moods and behaviors. This type of therapy is often used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, such as medication or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), to provide more comprehensive care. However, the main focus of this type of therapy is helping an individual develop their coping skills so that they can live healthier lives.

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Work?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy that helps people learn to accept their thoughts and behaviors, while also working to change unhealthy patterns. This type of therapy emphasizes the importance of understanding the different factors that contribute to an individual’s behavior, including the interplay between environment, biology, and psychological states, to identify the thinking and behavior patterns that cause distress.

DBT for substance abuse focuses on teaching skills to help increase the individual’s ability to regulate emotions, manage stress, tolerate distress, and improve relationships. Individuals learn how to recognize when their thoughts and reactions are irrational or unhelpful and replace them with healthier alternatives.

This includes developing the capacity to identify and name emotions, reducing emotional reactivity, mindfulness skills for accepting distress, problem-solving skills for managing crises, and improving interpersonal effectiveness.

DBT also includes exploring the individual’s beliefs about themselves, their relationships with others, and the world around them to better understand how these beliefs drive behaviors. People learn to identify, challenge and modify these underlying thoughts so they can reach their goals.

Goals and Principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on teaching individuals how to manage their emotions, tolerate distress and take responsibility for their actions. It was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan in the 1980s as a way to help people struggling with a borderline personality disorder. Since then, it has been used to treat other mental health conditions and addictive behaviors.

The goal of DBT is to help individuals identify and modify maladaptive behaviors, learn new problem-solving skills, manage intense emotions, develop healthy coping strategies, build relationships with others positively, and ultimately find greater peace within themselves. The principles of DBT are grounded in the following four modules:

  • Mindfulness: This module focuses on teaching individuals how to become aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the present moment without judgment. It encourages self-acceptance and understanding of one’s own needs.
  • Distress Tolerance: This module helps individuals develop strategies to accept and cope with distressing situations healthily. It encourages individuals to take action that is focused on self-respect and kindness, rather than on destructive behavior.
  • Emotion Regulation: This module focuses on helping individuals understand the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so they can make changes in how they experience and regulate their emotions. It helps individuals to identify unhealthy thought patterns, develop healthier ways of thinking and practice healthy behaviors that lead to positive outcomes.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: This module focuses on helping individuals build skills in communicating assertively with others while maintaining self-respect. It encourages individuals to take an active role in setting boundaries and developing meaningful relationships. It also provides strategies for managing interpersonal conflicts and other challenging situations.
  • Mindfulness: This module focuses on helping individuals cultivate an open-minded, non-judgmental attitude and awareness of the present moment so they can respond to life’s challenges with more clarity and self-compassion. It teaches techniques such as mindful meditation, breathwork, and body scanning to develop greater self-awareness and cultivate positive internal states.

How is DBT for Substance Abuse Differ from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that was developed by Marsha Linehan to help people suffering from emotions that feel overwhelming and unmanageable. DBT combines cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with mindfulness techniques, which focus on increasing awareness and tolerance of distressing emotions.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on changing unhelpful thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs. Harmoniously, the main goal of DBT is to help people accept themselves as they are and learn how to manage intense emotions. They do this while also making changes in their behaviors that lead to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

However, unlike CBT, which focuses on changing unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, DBT for substance abuse emphasizes acceptance of one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. The therapist teaches the client to recognize their feelings and constructively manage them. DBT encourages individuals to stay in the present moment and observe their thoughts and feelings without judgment or criticism. It also teaches practical problem-solving skills for managing emotions such as distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and mindfulness.

What are the Benefits of DBT for Substance Abuse?

Benefits of  Dialectical behavior therapy for Substance Abuse Disorder include the following:

  • Improved self-esteem and self-respect, can help individuals stay motivated to remain in recovery.
  • Increased motivation for relapse prevention.
  • Enhanced problem-solving skills, with better communication and decision-making abilities.
  • Creation of a supportive network among peers within the treatment program and in the community.

dialectical behavior therapy Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that was designed to help people who struggle with intense emotions, such as those associated with substance abuse disorder. DBT is especially effective in treating individuals struggling with addiction, providing more effective outcomes than traditional cognitive behavioral therapy alone.

The main goal of DBT is to help individuals gain control over their emotions and behaviors to make more informed decisions. This helps them identify triggers, learn skills to cope with difficult situations, manage cravings and urges as well as learn how to better regulate their emotions.

How Efficient is DBT for Substance Abuse?

DBT has proven to be a highly successful treatment for substance use disorder. Research studies have demonstrated that individuals who have undergone DBT significantly reduce their substance abuse, as well as other negative behaviors associated with their addiction. Additionally, many people report improved quality of life and increased levels of satisfaction in relationships and work when they undergo DBT.

What Does DBT Treat?

Common psychiatric disorders that DBT is effective in treating include the following:

What Should I Expect During DBT Sessions?

During DBT sessions, individuals learn to identify and change unhealthy behaviors. The therapist will provide education, guidance, and support while helping the individual develop strategies for coping with distress. They may also discuss triggers that cause emotional or behavioral responses, as well as help the individual create a plan of action for when difficult situations arise.

Additionally, the therapist may teach skills such as mindfulness and emotion regulation that can help the individual become better equipped to manage their feelings. Through this process, individuals can gain insight into their behaviors and develop new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

Is DBT for Substance Abuse Covered by Insurance?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that is effective in treating certain mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. It focuses on teaching emotionally regulated skills, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness.

In the United States, insurance coverage for DBT depends on the individual health plan. Many plans cover some or all of the costs associated with therapy, while others may not. It is important to check with your insurance provider to understand what type of coverage they offer. Some providers may require a pre-authorization before approving treatment and this can take up to several weeks.

DBT for Substance Abuse at The Freedom Center Can Help You Recover Today

The Freedom Center aims to treat those who walk through our doors on an individualized basis. If you or a loved one would like to learn more, you can contact us here.

Break Free From Addiction

At our substance abuse treatment center in Maryland, we do our best to meet each individual where they’re at. Each person comes with a different mold - a different struggle. The best way we can help them is to offer them care that is unique to their own situation; there is no one-size-fits-all method to substance abuse treatment. This is why individualized care is so important to us. If you or a loved one are interested in finding out more, you can contact us here. 

Call NowVerify Insurance
Skip to content