Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) For Recovery-Focused Treatment

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) For Recovery-Focused Treatment

Holistic Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment

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Drug withdrawal occurs when a person stops using an addictive substance like cocaine, heroin, alcohol, or another drug. The symptoms of drug withdrawal range from mild to severe but rarely result in death. Addiction rehabilitation and treatment services can provide support during this difficult step towards sobriety in the form of medically assisted detoxification, therapeutic support, and prescription medications.

What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?

Dialectical behavioral therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that increases a person’s mindfulness, giving them the necessary tools to handle stressful situations, regulate their emotions, and maintain healthy relationships.

Originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) by Dr. Marsha Linehan[1], DBT effectively treats individuals suffering from various addictions and mental health disorders. It is particularly beneficial for those with trouble with emotional regulation or prone to self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and other destructive behaviors.

There are four stages to DBT for addiction and mental health treatment:

Stage 1

The first step in DBT is addressing the most serious and potentially harmful behaviors, such as suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

Stage 2

The subsequent step in DBT treatment is working on the patient’s interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation skills, and distress tolerance – things that affect a person’s ability to live a productive and enjoyable life.

Stage 3

Following this, DBT begins to focus on building the patient’s self-esteem, confidence, and relationships with other people.

Stage 4

The last step of DBT treatment emphasizes practical skills that help patients cultivate happiness, pursue goals, and continue developing their relationships with the people around them.

DBT for Addiction


Dialectical behavioral therapy is an increasingly popular choice for substance abuse treatment. A comprehensive review of recent literature found that the data available supports the usefulness of DBT for patients with substance use disorders (SUD).[2]

DBT for Depression


Studies have shown that dialectical behavioral therapy is an effective approach to helping ease the symptoms of depression.[3] This has resulted in DBT becoming a sought-after therapy for those who have treatment-resistant depression. Through this treatment, those who have been struggling with depression symptoms are able to live happier and have a fuller life.

DBT for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


Those that struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can benefit greatly from dialectical behavioral therapy. The techniques DBT offers can help someone with PTSD regulate their emotions and process traumatic events and experiences. This therapeutic approach is common among veterans and natural disaster victims who have experienced severe trauma.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Techniques

Dialectical behavioral therapy can be delivered through group therapy, individual therapy, or via virtual therapy. Therapists may also conduct DBT skills training or give their patients assignments like journaling, worksheets, or grounding techniques.

The timeline for DBT treatment for mental health or addiction may be only a few weeks, several months, or a long-term intervention that lasts years. How long one may need this talk therapy will be unique to their customized treatment plan.

DBT Process

Your treatment plan will be tailored to suit your individual needs. A knowledgeable admissions counselor will discuss this with you during pre-enrollment.

detoxifying your body before beginning therapy


detoxifying your body before beginning therapy

If you’re struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, the first step in your care will be detoxifying your body before beginning therapy. Here, we will carefully manage withdrawal symptoms to ensure your safety and make the experience as comfortable as possible.

DBT with medical interventions to address addictions and mental illnesses

Medically Managed Care

DBT with medical interventions to address addictions and mental illnesses

Inpatient medically managed care allows us to address physical medical concerns alongside addiction and mental health treatment. This approach offers a greater level of holistic healing. Here, we incorporate therapies such as DBT with medical interventions to address not only addictions and mental illnesses but also underlying physical conditions such as diabetes, malnourishment, and fibromyalgia.


Inpatient Care


In our inpatient residential treatment program, patients will receive treatments like DBT to set out on the right path in a peaceful environment. With 24/7 support, you can fully focus on recovery.

How (and Why) DBT Works

In DBT, you will learn to deal with your present reality in a healthy way. Whether administered in a group or individual setting, the DBT approach to healing includes the following modules:

Core Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you to increase self-awareness and live in the moment, taking notice of your environment and negative emotions that may arise and knowing what to do with them.

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance is your ability to handle stressful or triggering situations that may be outside your control. By using DBT methods, your therapist can help you learn to cope in crisis situations through a variety of techniques such as distraction and self-soothing.

Interpersonal Skills

Through DBT, you can improve your interpersonal skills by learning how to communicate properly, set healthy boundaries, and deal with confrontation, allowing you to maintain healthy relationships.

Emotional Regulation

To effectively manage strong feelings and resulting behaviors, you must be able to affect change in your emotional state. In DBT treatment, you learn how to recognize and evaluate your emotions rather than suppress them.

What’s the Best Way to Find DBT?

To find a treatment center that offers DBT for addiction or mental health concerns, request a referral from medical providers, use the SAMHSA directory, or call a drug addiction helpline. Staff at Alpas Wellness are always available to answer your questions.

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Cost of DBT

The cost of DBT for addiction is dependent on your specific needs and insurance coverage. Payment options and insurance verification will be discussed with your admissions specialist during your initial consultation.

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Frequently Asked Questions about DBT


What is the difference between CBT and DBT?


DBT is a subcategory of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The primary difference is the fact that DBT involves the acceptance and validation of negative emotions, whereas CBT focuses on identifying and replacing unhelpful thought patterns.


Does DBT deal with trauma?


Yes, DBT is a very effective treatment option for those struggling with mental health concerns related to past trauma by improving coping skills and distress tolerance.


How do I know if I need DBT?


A good marker to tell if DBT would be helpful to you is whether or not your emotions regularly interfere with your everyday life, including relationships, work, school, sleep, or personal goals.


May, J.M., et al. (2016). Dialectical behavior therapy as treatment for borderline personality disorder. Retrieved from Dialectical behavior therapy as treatment for borderline personality disorder | Mental Health Clinician (allenpress.com) on 27 June 2023


Khani, H., Belir, S., Zamani, S., & Zamani, N. (2015, August 10). Efficacy of dialectical behavior therapy on Depression. Journal of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences. Retrieved from https://jmums.mazums.ac.ir/article-1-5942-en.html  on 15 August 2023

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