Dialectical Behavior Therapy For Substance Abusers

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed in the 1980s by Marsha M. Linehan. Initially, it was designed as psychotherapy to treat patients who experienced suicidal thoughts or borderline personality disorder. However, Drug addiction centers like Findlay Recovery Center have introduced Dialectical Behavior Therapy For Substance Abusers. Here’s how it works.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy For Substance Abusers

With its introduction, many drug addiction residential treatment centers have found success using the DB model to help patients experiencing addiction caused by substance abuse. The process does not follow traditional methods where the patient must dig deep into the past to identify the root of their addiction. Instead, DBT considers a more positive approach that will benefit the patient physically, mentally, and socially. This allows them to overcome their addiction, adjust their thinking, and even re-integrate into society with more success.  

DBT Strategies 

DBT involves several key strategies that have proven successful in treating patients throughout the years. These strategies include: 

Environments and Peer Groups 

Therapists encourage the patients to look for environments and peer groups that are beneficial to them. Rather than spend time with the same people who may encourage substance abuse, this strategy helps patients focus on positive atmospheres and environments. These could be spaces where they are better respected or recognized for their talents. It could also be environments that allow them to focus and keep busy, which eliminates the issue of boredom that can be a trigger for substance use. 

Trigger Removal 

Triggers can occur at any time, and there is a wide range of triggers for everyone who experiences substance abuse. The process asks patients to recognize these triggers from their lives to make it easier to remove the addiction. Triggers can include the aforementioned boredom, but also paraphernalia or unhealthy relationships that push them towards drug use. 

Improving Self-Esteem 

Low self-esteem is a common factor in causing drug use. Therapists operating under the DBT model work with the patient to improve their self-esteem, especially during stressful periods that could act as a trigger. By feeling good about themselves, they will not require an escape from reality and will not need to depend on substances to get away. 

What Does DBT Involve?

There are four core training sections involved in DBT therapy. These are all designed to ensure the patient receives the proper care, and therapists can help them reach their potential by following the strategies mentioned above. 

Skills Training 

The Skills Training section involves group leaders teaching how patients can communicate and cope better with their addiction. Some mechanisms to achieve this include mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation. By learning how to deal with their addiction and learn healthy replacements, patients will become more adept at avoiding the temptation to consume drugs. 

They can apply these skills to their everyday routine as well as any interactions they have with others. While negative interactions may have pushed them towards substance abuse before, these new techniques help overcome conflict healthily. 

One-on-One Therapy 

One-on-one therapy allows patients to apply the lessons learned in the Skills Training to their daily life. This personalized approach gives them the specific opportunity to work on different techniques that they may not be able to achieve during group sessions. 

It is used weekly during the program and as everyone has different needs to aid in recovery it will prepare them for life once they complete the therapy sessions and overall program. 

Phone Coach 

Phone coaching allows patients to contact their therapist outside of regularly scheduled sessions. This operates as further support which allows the patient to qualify any issues should they encounter a scenario that they are unfamiliar with or are unsure about the best way to proceed in avoiding a relapse. 

The coaching is generally related to stress management, and the therapist guides them through the techniques they have learned in the regular sessions. It will include strategies for emotional regulation and distress tolerance. 

Team Consults 

The final section does not involve the patient personally. Instead, it is for healthcare providers to maintain motivation to give tier patients the best treatment possible. Consultations are ideal for treating patients who struggle with the sessions or show resistance to the techniques learned or the overall therapy program. 

Get In Touch 

Whether you or someone you love is searching for drug or alcohol addiction residential treatment, Findlay Recovery Center has a wide range of treatment options suitable for substance use issues and experiences. If you want to learn more about the programs we offer, you can contact our team today.


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