Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a well-established psychotherapy treatment for individuals with multiple and severe psychological disorders—including individuals who are chronically suicidal. It was also first developed to help those patients with borderline personality disorder and suicidal thoughts. Developed by co-author Dr. Marsha M. Linehan, DBT’s ultimate goal is to assist patients in their efforts to build a life worth living.
Patients who suffer from certain mental illnesses are usually more prone to expressing intense emotional outbursts and may use substances as a form of self-medication. A successful outcome of DBT is when the patient learns to envision, articulate, pursue, and sustain goals, independent of their history. This includes their uncontrollable behavior, including substance abuse, and helps them better able to cope with life’s stresses.
The authors developed the program that incorporates concepts and modalities designed to promote abstinence, thus helping to reduce the length and negative impact on relapses.
DBT typically has four core components, including:
Dialectical behavior therapy is being used in many addiction treatment centers and is useful for teaching recovering addicts coping techniques, communication skills, and self-confidence essential to overcoming drug addiction. Both inpatient and outpatient drug rehab facilities have the resources needed to train and treat all types of patients. The 24-hour medical care provided by inpatient recovery centers helps emotionally-distressed individuals complete detox and manage withdrawal.
DBT is also effective when combined with other treatment modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, contingency management therapy, and community reinforcement therapy. Support groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) can also benefit patients in helping integrate new, drug-free peer groups after treatment.