DBT techniques for addiction treatment

DBT, or dialectical behavior therapy, is a well-established treatment method for patients with severe psychosocial disorders and suicidal tendencies. DBT has been proven to be helpful in treating many different mental health conditions such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, PTSD, and substance use disorders. The ultimate goal of DBT is to teach patients how to build a life worth living.

At San Antonio Recovery Center, or SARC, we believe in using holistic and evidence-based techniques, such as dialectical behavior therapy, in our treatment programs. Our wide variety of inpatient and outpatient services are individualized to better cater to each patient’s unique needs. Call us at 866.957.7885 to learn more about what we can offer.

What Is DBT?

In dialectical behavior therapy, the word “dialectic” refers to the synthesis of two opposing goals for patients: change and acceptance. DBT emphasizes the acceptance of challenges and difficulties as part of the process, while simultaneously teaching new methods with which patients can better handle stress.

The two core ideas behind DBT are “Each person is doing the best that they can” and “Each person needs to learn new ways to do better and try harder.” Following these fundamental ideals, DBT utilizes these four core components:

  • Skills training – Typically once a week, patients acquire skills to better cope with stress, emotions, and relationships. These skills will help patients to improve their quality of life and to avoid self-destructive behaviors like substance abuse.
  • Individual psychotherapy – Through weekly one-on-one sessions, patients learn to apply their learned skills to real-life challenges in their daily lives. This exercise helps patients to change their harmful behavioral patterns.
  • Group therapy – Provides a supportive environment that reinforces positive behaviors. During weekly sessions, patients can receive empathy and understanding from their peers.
  • Phone coaching – When a stressful situation occurs, the patient can call their therapist for support. This also helps therapists to teach patients which skill would be appropriate to use for each situation.

What Are DBT Techniques for Addiction Treatment?

While DBT was not developed specifically for addiction treatment, many of its core principles and techniques have been beneficial when used in the treatment of substance abuse disorders, especially if there are co-occurring mental health disorders. DBT’s holistic approach toward mental health and wellness is effective for those recovering from addiction and maintaining sobriety.

DBT works by changing the motivations behind abuse-related behaviors, which results in long-term recovery and fewer chances of relapse. The four main DBT Techniques are as follows:

  • Mindfulness – A complete awareness and engagement in one’s current surroundings instead of becoming overwhelmed by thoughts of the past or present. By focusing on the present, patients can become calmer and less stressed, letting them objectively address the situation.
  • Distress Tolerance – Patients learn how to accept and endure painful emotions without the need to react to them in an unhealthy or destructive manner. Through distress tolerance, patients can go through painful emotions without resorting to substance abuse.
  • Emotional Regulation – How to manage unwanted or overwhelming emotions. By understanding one’s emotions, it's possible to  minimize emotional vulnerability and emotional suffering.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness – Patients are taught how to set healthy boundaries and how to clearly communicate their wants and needs. Improved communication can repair and nurture personal relationships.

Get Dialectical Behavior Therapy at San Antonio Recovery Center

Dialectical behavior therapy is a highly effective method in treating a variety of mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders. At SARC, DBT can be combined with many other evidence-based therapies to ensure the best outcome for our patients. Our experienced and qualified staff work with each patient to design a treatment program that meets their individual needs. Contact us at 866.957.7885 to begin your journey towards well-being.

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