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Addiction treatment utilizes a number of therapy and clinical-based modalities to help clients change negative thinking patterns. These therapies also help clients get to the root cause(s) of their addiction, which often is a collective of biological factors, trauma, developmental influences, and other potential causes. One of the most common therapies used during treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which many are familiar with. However, another effective modality is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Discovering the benefits of DBT may help you better understand how it can help you in your recovery journey. 

Therapies, modalities, and practices should be individualized to your treatment based on your specific needs. Sometimes, we use multiple therapies to help clients with their treatment goals. DBT is one of many therapies we implement here at West Coast Recovery Centers. Visit our website to learn more about our clinical approaches, luxurious facility, and how we can help you today. 

What Is DBT?

At its core, DBT is a mindfulness-based practice. Based in CBT, DBT is a talk therapy that focuses on helping people regulate their emotions and change destructive behaviors. To change negative behaviors, we must first accept them. So, to heal from addiction, we must accept the reality of it in our lives. DBT can help you do that. Instead of living with pain or suffering, you can begin to change and grow, especially by using DBT in combination with other mindfulness-based practices. 

As described by Psychiatry (Edgemont), DBT is a “comprehensive, evidence-based treatment” for several conditions, including borderline personality disorder (BPD), eating disorders, and substance use disorder (SUD). At West Coast Recovery Centers, we also utilize DBT skills groups. These groups will focus on enhancing your capabilities through behavioral skills training. DBT skills help people make more effective choices and achieve their goals. 

DBT and CBT: How Are They Different?

As mentioned, DBT is an expansion of CBT. Both are forms of talk therapy that can be incredibly effective in treating addiction. However, despite their similarities and connections, they also have unique differences.

CBT concepts illustrate that thoughts and behaviors influence the way we feel; by changing how we think, we can change how we feel. In other words, teaching individuals to control their thoughts and behaviors to change how they feel is the main focus of CBT. This is often done by recognizing and analyzing negative or otherwise intrusive thought patterns. 

DBT, on the other hand, focuses more on acceptance of thoughts and emotions through mindfulness. Together, DBT and CBT can help you accept the reality of your addiction. You can start working toward changing addictive habits and negative thought patterns by learning DBT skills to maintain long-term recovery. 

With all this in mind, it should be noted that DBT is not only effective in treating SUD. As such, it may also help you with any co-occurring disorder(s) you may be experiencing.

What Are the Benefits of DBT for Mental Health Treatment?

Like anything, some will criticize the implementation of DBT – or any behavioral therapy – in treating mental health conditions. The reality is that not every therapy will be effective for each person. Many argue that DBT, in particular, will: 

  • Take a significant amount of time to prove effective 
  • Involve too much additional work outside of therapy sessions 
  • Have too many strict rules or boundaries to follow 
  • Utilize too many Eastern religious philosophies that form the basis for mindfulness 

However, even with these critiques in mind, we can not completely negate the potential benefits of DBT for mental health treatment. Those benefits include the following: 

  • Helping individuals regulate negative emotions and reduce stress 
  • Focusing on a structured method for changing destructive behaviors 
  • Increasing feelings of self-worth and self-esteem among clients 
  • Easing symptoms of anxiety, depression, trauma, and other mental health concerns 
  • Teaching new skills that can help with recovery and generally throughout life 
  • Accepting your situation, your struggles, and where you are in life and fostering a healthy desire to implement positive, long-term change 

Experiencing the Benefits of DBT in Addiction Treatment

The benefit of DBT in treating mental health conditions can carry over well in your addiction treatment journey. You can experience many of the benefits listed above. However, addiction treatment is most effective when it utilizes various treatment methods simultaneously. So, DBT may not be as effective when implemented alone. With that said, it can be an extremely effective tool in treating individuals with SUD and co-occurring mental health conditions. 

The only way to know if DBT is the right therapy for you is to speak with a professional and try it for yourself. Progress may be slow and occasionally uncomfortable, but treatment may be the perfect time to try. 

Consider the benefits of DBT for your addiction recovery, and think of West Coast Recovery to help with your treatment needs today! 

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of talk therapy that can help you accept the reality of your substance use disorder (SUD), regulate your emotions, and develop healthy skills to change destructive behaviors. An expansion of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and derived from many Eastern philosophies and mindfulness-based practices,  DBT is effective in treating SUD and many co-occurring mental health conditions, including borderline personality disorder (BPD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders, to name a few. Like anything, DBT is most effective when used in combination with other treatments. Nevertheless, it can be a component tool in your addiction recovery regime. Call West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509 to learn more about the benefits of DBT today.