The process of treatment can be directed through a number of therapeutic avenues. From cognitive restructuring to rapid eye movement therapy, clinical approaches available today are various in nature and able to address a growing list of mental health issues.
What makes one intervention better than another? And even more important, which one would best address the issues you are experiencing in a safe and effective manner?
While these questions can be difficult to answer, the nature of your addiction and your co-occurring mental health issue(s) can aid in identifying the most effective approach.
Symptomatology associated with excessive anxiety and depression has been shown to respond extremely well to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, due to its ability to address an individual’s excessive emotionality by establishing specific therapeutic skill sets within participants.
Understanding this approach, and the benefits it has on co-occurring disorders, can provide tremendous insight into its effectiveness regarding your addiction.
What is DBT?
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a specific type of talk therapy that utilizes a cognitive behavioral approach during treatment sessions. It works by providing participants with a new set of skills aimed at improving their ability to manage painful emotions while also addressing their maladaptive impulses.
While it was originally developed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder, it has proven to be extremely successful at treating substance use disorders and the co-occurring mental health issues typically associated with the disease of addiction, such as anxiety and depression.
What makes DBT unique is its emphasis on:
- Mindfulness within those participating in treatment sessions
- Treating the identified co-occurring symptoms
- Stressing the importance of embracing personal experience throughout the recovery process
DBT for Anxiety and Depression
While emotions serve important roles in all of our lives, excessive emotionality can become debilitating if left unchecked. For those dealing with both a substance addiction and diagnosed mental health issue, this combination can result in a state of perpetual self-destruction. That is why DBT can be such an effective clinical approach for co-occurring disorders.
It encourages participants to work through the process of acquiring emotional and cognitive skills to address their excessive anxiety and depressive symptomatology while training them to subsequently apply those skills to their lives.
DBT actively confronts emotions like anxiety and depression by teaching you how to manage the experiences and control your immediate reactions.
DBT Techniques for Anxiety and Depression
So, why is DBT such an effective treatment approach for comorbidity involving addiction? It is primarily due to the therapeutic approach implemented by DBT and its ability to incorporate some of the most clinically proven coping skills into one cohesive treatment. This is achieved by three specific components:
1. It is cognitive based, helping participants to identify thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that make life harder, while also teaching them alternative ways of approaching and solving those maladaptive cognitive patterns.
2. It is support oriented, aiding the participants in identifying their personal strengths and building on them to improve individual self-perspective.
3. It is collaborative, requiring both the participants and clinicians to facilitate constant communication which enables the patient to learn effective methods of problem solving and skill building.
DBT also implements four particular modules, focusing on specific areas of cognitive restructuring and behavioral training in order to maximize the participants time in therapy. These areas of focus enable the clinician to highlight the participants impulsive decision patterns and excessive emotionality through improved introspection and increased personal restraint.
1. Mindfulness. This module is the foundation upon which the others are built by working to increase the participants self-awareness. By understanding your environment better, you can develop an improved ability to understand what is going on around you at any given moment, helping to filter out past traumas and focus solely on the here-and-now.
2. Emotion Regulation. By learning to properly identify and label emotions, the goal of this module is to aid in decreasing excessive emotional responses while simultaneously increasing logical thought processes and reactions. By minimizing excessive emotional responses, you can work to identify more effective methods of stress management while also making efforts to avoid anxiety-provoking scenarios.
3. Distress Tolerance. What happens if you encounter a situation in which you cannot change but must simply endure? This module focuses on teaching methods of coping that are easily accessible and repeatable. By working to not only function through distressful scenarios but to also flourish, this module enables the participant to grow in an effective emotional manner while experiencing personal distress.
4. Interpersonal Effectiveness. This module focuses on how you deal with people in everyday scenarios. Do you find it hard to tell someone no? Does this result in being taken advantage of or feeling overwhelmed with excessive social obligations? This scenario trains you to avoid these situations by improving your ability to identify healthy personal responses to daily situations and then implement them on a consistent basis.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy at Ranch Creek Recovery
As a non-12-step rehab and holistic treatment center, a large component of our treatment program is rooted in dialectical behavioral therapy for certain addicts.
Designed specifically for individuals with self-harm behaviors, such as self-cutting, suicide thoughts,
urges to suicide and suicide attempts, DBT has helped countless individuals live “Lives worth Living.”
At Ranch Creek Recovery, our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with you to create a
custom treatment plan that will include customized, life-changing DBT sessions.
Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how DBT can help enhance
your recovery process.