Why DBT Is An Effective Way To Treat Addiction

Why DBT Is an Effective Way to Treat Addiction

February 3rd, 2016 | By tpointa24 | Posted in Blog

Drug addiction is a terrifying problem that impacts an ever growing number of people who suffer from borderline personality disorder. Statistics show that over 17 percent of people with borderline personality disorder suffer from a serious addiction. However, dialectical behavioral therapy or DBT is here to help people like you recover from both their borderline personality disorder and their addiction.

How DBT Works

DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that is designed to help treat the behavioral problems that occur in people with borderline personality disorder. People with this disorder are marked by unpredictable behaviors, wild mood swings, and a difficulty maintaining relationships. Often, they turn to drugs impulsively or to help cure the instability caused by their disorder.

Treatment with DBT is simple: it is designed to help correct problematic behaviors that lead to addiction. A typical DBT treatment program will move you through multiple stages, including:

  • Restoring behavioral control to eliminate life-threatening and harmful behaviors
  • Learning replacement behaviors and coping methods that help begin emotional normalcy
  • Opening up your emotions in order to experience them more fully and properly
  • Settling into dealing with everyday life, including coping with relapses, cravings, and going to work and interacting with people in a healthy manner.
  • Restoring a sense of completeness and connection to a person’s life

The latter step is the most important when it comes to regaining a sober lifestyle. People with addictions often turn to drugs to feel the hole in their life that comes with a lack of connection with the world. Obtaining that state will help bring you out of the haze of addiction and back into the light of sobriety.

How DBT Is Used to Treat Addiction

When applied to addiction, DBT is designed to help restore balance to a person’s emotional instability and help eliminate their dependency on drugs. Beyond its effectiveness in treating borderline personality disorder lies the myriad of benefits it offers people who suffer from addiction. A typical DBT program:

  • Carefully decreases drug abuse
  • Lowers withdrawal symptoms
  • Eliminates cravings and relapse urges
  • Teaches coping behaviors that help
  • Helps increase emotional connections and communication skills
  • Restores emotional balance
  • Gets people to engage in new sober vocational activities

The Effectiveness Of DBT

So how effective is DBT in treating addiction? Very effective. A study entitled “Dialectical Behavior Therapy For Patients With Borderline Personality Disorder And Drug Dependence,” published in a 1999 edition of the “American Journal On Addiction,” showed incredibly promising results from using this treatment method above typical treatment methods.

The study tested 28 women with both borderline personality disorder and drug addiction and split them into even groups: one that received traditional therapy and another that received DBT. They found that the drop-out rate in the second group was 36 percent, which was 37 percent lowered than the drop-out rate of the first group (73 percent).

Beyond this startling discovery, they also found that patients who received DBT significantly lowered their drug use and had an easier time adjusting to emotional difficulties and interacting with people socially. They suggested that DBT was an “effective treatment for severely dysfunctional drug-dependent patients.”

The Reasons It Is So Effective

The effectiveness of DBT may be hard to believe, but it has proven a high level of effectiveness when dealing with borderline personality disorder. Even more surprising is how effective it has been with drug addiction and other problems, such as domestic violence, anxiety, and even eating disorders like bulimia.

Although multiple studies have confirmed it, it has left many people wondering why it is so effective. What is it about this therapy that makes it work so well for such a large number of people? The reason seems to lie in the way that it helps deal with emotional dysfunction. Simply put, problematic and harmful personal behaviors (like addiction) often stem from a deeply rooted emotional problem that can be hard for many people to identify.

DBT not only identifies these disorders, but helps find active and diverse methods for healing that dysfunction. The key word there is “active.” People in DBT treatment programs aren’t just meditating and hoping that their problems go away: they are implementing coping methods that will positively change not only their addictive behaviors, but behavioral problems that have plagued them for their whole life.

Typical DBT Treatment Program

Although the exact structure of DBT treatment varies, it usually follows three different modes: individual therapy, skills groups, and aftercare. Individual therapy requires working in-depth with a counselor to identify problematic personal behaviors and the influences behind these behaviors. Daily sessions are often necessary, as this helps you and your counselor assess your behaviors on a regular basis.

Skills groups are often where the brunt of your therapy will take place. Here, you will learn new coping methods and techniques that are designed to help correct the behaviors that contribute to your addiction. It also helps teach you skills such as mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance. Essentially, you will learn how to better control your emotions and behaviors to achieve a stable and drug-free lifestyle.

A typical DBT treatment program will move you through five different stages, including:

  • Restoring behavioral control to eliminate life-threatening and harmful behaviors
  • Learning replacement behaviors and coping methods that help begin emotional normalcy
  • Opening up your emotions in order to experience them more fully and properly
  • Settling into dealing with everyday life, including coping with relapses, cravings, and going to work and interacting with people in a healthy manner.
  • Restoring a sense of completeness and connection to a person’s life

The latter step is the most important when it comes to regaining a sober lifestyle. People with addiction often turn to drugs to fill the hole in their life that comes with a lack of connection with the world. Obtaining that state will help bring you out of the haze of addiction and back into the light of sobriety.

We Specialize In DBT

At Turning Point Recovery, DBT is one of our specialties. We hire only the most skilled and caring behavioral therapists in order to help you regain control of your emotions and beat any addiction that is impacting your life. Please contact us at TurningPointRecovery.org to get the help you need in regaining a sober life.

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