Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction can be a complex process. Even after completing detox, individuals must overcome challenges to remain sober and healthy. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an invaluable tool for those in recovery. This form of behavioral therapy for substance abuse helps individuals identify and change negative patterns to alleviate addiction symptoms.

If you or someone you care about has a substance use disorder, DBT for addiction might be the key to long-term recovery. The team at Fort Behavioral Health provides comprehensive care and support to promote addiction recovery and improved mental health. Contact us at 844.332.1807 to learn more about behavioral therapy for substance abuse and how we can support you.

What’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

DBT is a form of psychotherapy developed in the late 1980s. It can help people with extreme and distressing emotions, including depression, anxiety, anger, and guilt. DBT combines traditional cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindful awareness and acceptance strategies that enable individuals to develop healthier coping skills.

The foundational concept of dialectical behavior therapy is that an individual’s thoughts and behaviors are interconnected. DBT helps individuals better understand their thoughts and behaviors so they can make positive changes. DBT counselors validate patients and focus on finding productive ways to deal with intense emotions. For instance, therapists may teach clients coping skills for stress, preventing them from resorting to negative behaviors such as self-harm or substance use.

What’s DBT for Addiction?

Behavioral therapy for substance abuse is one of the most effective treatments for addiction symptoms. At its core, DBT teaches patients how to regulate their emotions, helping them make better decisions. For instance, if a person knows how to cope with intense anxiety or frustration, they may be less likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

Some essential concepts taught during DBT for addiction include:

  • Mindfulness – How to live with awareness in the present moment
  • Interpersonal effectiveness – How to communicate with others without compromising one’s own needs
  • Emotion regulation – How to manage emotions so that they cultivate positive feelings
  • Distress tolerance – How to tolerate stressful emotions without using drugs or alcohol

In DBT for addiction, patients break down their problems into smaller pieces to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. The goal is for individuals to learn how to accept their current reality without becoming overwhelmed or trying to deny it. Participants work with therapists to develop the skills necessary to make positive life changes, such as completing detox, sticking with their recovery plan, and avoiding relapse.

Dialectical behavior therapy also emphasizes the importance of validation. Recognizing experiences and emotions as valid may help patients in recovery develop empathy for themselves and others, making them less likely to use drugs or alcohol. This process can also make it easier for individuals to connect with those around them rather than feel isolated or misunderstood. Additionally, patients may develop healthier relationships with family members, friends, co-workers, and romantic partners due to this therapy.

DBT administered by a mental health expert can be instrumental in providing a practical framework for long-term sobriety.

Take the First Step Toward Recovery at Fort Behavioral Health

If you or a loved one could benefit from DBT for addiction, Fort Behavioral Health wants to help. We tailor each patient’s program to their unique needs, allowing us to maximize their chances of success. We’re here to support people from all walks of life who need treatment for addiction and mental health issues.

At Fort Behavioral Health, we specialize in behavioral therapy for substance abuse. Our counselors and clinicians implement a range of treatments, including dialectical behavior therapy, to help patients recover. Contact us at 844.332.1807 to discuss what treatment method suits you, or reach us through our online form.


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You don’t have to face the journey of recovery by yourself. There are people out there ready to help with what you’re going through. Reach out to someone for support today.

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