Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

How DBT Helps Overcome Addiction

It’s hard enough to ask for help, but it may be even harder to figure out which rehab program is best. If you or someone you love has a substance use disorder, there’s a good chance it started with an attempt to self-medicate old trauma or emotional problems. New Jersey detox and rehab centers offer a variety of options, and most include dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), a practice designed to help individuals heal painful feelings and deal with interpersonal conflict.

What Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

What is dialectical behavioral therapy, and does it work? DBT is a kind of cognitive-behavioral therapy designed to treat borderline personality disorder. It has four functions:

  • To teach mindfulness, or living in the moment
  • To learn healthy ways to deal with stress or tolerate negative emotions
  • To regulate emotions that cause problems in daily life
  • To improve relationships by learning better skills for conflict resolution

DBT also works for other conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, and substance use disorders. It has also been used to treat bipolar disorder and depression.

How Does Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Work?

DBT usually occurs in a series of individual and group sessions. In private sessions, a therapist addresses issues unique to the patient, offers encouragement, and suggests ways to apply the skills to daily life. In groups led by a therapist, participants practice DBT skills, share their stories, and offer support to others. Then, group members complete homework assignments, applying what they’ve learned.

Group sessions typically last around two hours and meet once a week for six weeks, but the length varies to fit the needs of the members. Sometimes, individuals take part only in one-on-one sessions or only in group sessions. The goal of DBT is to help participants avoid black and white thinking and see things in a more balanced way. DBT teaches everything is connected, that change is certain, and that opposites can be balanced to better understand reality.

Dialectical behavioral therapists have special training to learn the skills necessary to help others. They also practice and apply the skills to their own jobs and lives.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Addiction

A review of clinical trialsfound DBT lowered substance use in individuals with borderline personality disorder. It may also be an effective treatment for addicts who have serious disorders that occur with substance abuse disorder, especially when other evidence-based therapies haven’t worked.

The philosophy behind DBT is to encourage addicts to stop using drugs or alcohol immediately and permanently. It also recognizes that relapse occurs and accepts that sobriety is still possible. DBT attempts to solve problems without passing judgment.

New Jersey detox and rehab centers are available throughout the state. A novel approach offers medical supervision and counseling but integrates healthy living and holistic practices like music therapy and chiropractic care. At Enlightened Solutions, our team of experienced medical and alternative health care providers is ready to help with DBT during detox and rehab. Contact us today for more information.

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