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Dialectical Behavior Therapy
for Addiction Treatment

Learn How DBT Works in Rehab


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At one time or the other, bitter emotions and tensions can threaten to ruin feelings and overall well-being. Dialectical Behavior Therapy has proven to help restore the quality of life for many people who were previously struggling to get a hold of their life.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of psychotherapy that teaches skills and strategies to live a better quality of life. A form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, it aims to teach people how to develop decent ways of dealing with stress, manage stress, and enhance relationships with other people.
Having difficulty with emotional regulation or self-destructive tendencies can benefit from DBT therapy. Dialectic behavior therapy aims to identify and change negative thinking patterns and drive positive behavioral changes. One unique aspect of DBT therapy is that it concentrates on acceptance of the experience as a way for therapists to help you understand the work that is required to change behaviors.

Marsha Linehan and the Creation of DBT

Dialectic behavior therapy (DBT)was developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Masha Linehan and her team. They discovered that deploying only cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) did not work well with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) patients. As a result, Dr. Linehan and her team changed their techniques and treatment to meet their unique needs in treatment.

The Principals of DBT

DBT encompasses a philosophical process known as Dialectics. Dialectics is the idea that everything is made up of opposites and that change happens when there is a balance between two opposing forces. For DBT skills to be considered adequate, it must meet five critical functions. They include:

  • Enhancing capabilities
  • Improving motivation
  • Generalizing skills to the environment
  • Structuring the environment
  • Enhancing capabilities and motivation

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Components of DBT

The four components of DBT are essential for the successful execution of DBT therapy.


Rather than focusing on the future, this component of DBT helps you focus on the present and accept current realities. This skill teaches how to meditate, focus on breath, and scan the body for signs of stress.

Emotion Regulation

Emotional regulation helps you manage and change the deep emotions that are causing problems in life. This skill set includes understanding emotion, lessening emotional vulnerability, and reducing emotional suffering.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

This skill is about deepening relationships with other people. It involves asking other people what they need and being able to say no to them if necessary, without affecting our relationship with them or diminishing our self-respect.

Distress Tolerance

This skill is about the ability to withstand a crisis and accepting the situation of things. It is more like facing your fears and understanding that negative emotions will pass. Distress tolerance helps you keep your cool and expand the capacity to withstand negative emotions.

Addiction Treatment with DBT Principal and Methods

DBT therapy can help with building or regaining self-confidence to manage stressful situations effectively.

DBT for Drug Rehab

Dialectical behavior therapy is known to reduce drug abuse. Some dialectical behavior therapy strategies for drug rehab include:

  • Helping you to find environments that don’t promote drug abuse
  • Helping you address triggers that could bring about drug abuse

DBT for Alcohol Rehab

DBT skills can help in controlling addictive behavior and restore healthy coping skills. Dialectic behavior therapy techniques on alcoholism help to encourage positive reinforcement and diminish self-destructiveness.

Addiction Treatment with DBT Principal and Methods

Dialectical therapy behavior skills help manage and control painful emotions. Many people living with substance use disorder have used substances as a means of escaping reality. However, continuous alcohol and drug abuse can worsen their state emotional state and leave them in worse condition. DBT techniques teach how to manage these negative emotions and move forward with life positively.

DBT For Dual Diagnosis

Many individuals living with a substance use disorder also have an underlying mental health condition. Such a situation is known as dual diagnosis. Dialectic behavior therapy can help treat addiction and simultaneously address the underlying condition that led to the addiction. Dialectic behavior therapy helps to provide the skills needed to strengthen long term recovery.

DBT to Build Sober Living Skills

One of the main aspects of dialectical behavior therapy is to encourage sober living. A core component of dialectic behavior therapy is changing behavior by staying away from drugs and alcohol.

Furthermore, the dialectical behavior therapy program emphasizes the need to change surroundings and maintain a sobriety lifestyle. Similarly, DBT skills teach how to identify triggers that may cause a relapse.

So you can be aware of the signs that may suggest a possible drift from sobriety and act to counter them.


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