Addiction treatment programs exist to help people with substance abuse disorders (SUD). These programs help individuals suffering from addictions to successfully manage their symptoms and live a life that is free of addiction.
There are many different types of treatment programs for SUD, such as inpatient treatment or outpatient drug addiction treatment. While these programs differ in many ways, they are similar in how they treat addiction.
The same goes for addiction therapy services. Therapy is a cornerstone of addiction treatment. Often, people use drugs to cope with negative feelings, trauma, or other problems in their lives.
If these feelings are not addressed properly, an individual will potentially turn to drugs as a coping mechanism. Addiction counseling such as DBT for substance abuse can help those suffering from addiction address the underlying causes so that they no longer feel the need to use drugs and alcohol as a crutch when triggered.
There are many types of addiction therapy. Group therapy, individual psychotherapy, and family therapy are a few of the most popular forms of therapy you’ll find in addiction treatment programs. Behavioral therapies are another type of highly successful addiction intervention that can help separate feelings from the need to cope with self-destructive behaviors.
If you’re seeking DBT for substance abuse, you’ve come to the right place. Chapters Recovery in Danvers, Massachusetts can provide you with the help you need.
What is Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)?
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), developed in the late 1970s, by Marsha M. Linehan, a psychology professor at Loyola University. The goal of DBT is to help individuals struggling with thoughts and behaviors that lead to overwhelming emotions to identify and change self-destructive behavior patterns. When it comes to drug addiction, the behavior that needs to be changed is drug abuse and misuse.
While DBT is highly effective at treating drug addiction, it also benefits individuals who are also suffering from a mental health disorder. Typically, people who struggle to manage their emotions and subsequent behavior are excellent candidates for DBT. This is present in both people with substance use disorders and people with mental health disorders. Some conditions that DBT treats include the following:
- Substance abuse disorders (SUD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Major depressive disorder (MDD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Bipolar disorder
Traditionally, DBT treats people who have serious psychosocial disorders or people who are chronically suicidal. Over time, DBT for substance abuse was developed to promote a “clear mind” and abstinence in patients with SUDs or substance abuse issues. By augmenting the concepts and modalities used in DBT for substance abuse, clinicians helped patients who were not responding well to traditional treatments.
The Difference Between CBT and DBT
If you are seeking DBT for substance abuse in Massachusetts, you may have a few questions. One of these common questions may be what is the difference between CBT and DBT? While these two psychotherapies are related and work to treat mental health issues and behavioral problems, they are also very different.
Both CBT and DBT treat addiction issues in a clinical setting. However, CBT originally treated depression and anxiety, while DBT treated borderline personality disorder (BPD). These therapies’ effectiveness in treating mental illnesses is why they are currently used during addiction treatment programs. This is because there are many similarities between mental health conditions and SUDs, with some people having both a SUD and co-occurring mental health disorder that contributes to their drug use.
The main difference between these two therapies is the philosophies they are based on. Philosophically, CBT relies on reason and rationale. Patients learn to think critically about situations that cause negative feelings and lead to drug abuse. DBT focuses more on mindfulness by promoting an awareness of one’s emotions. The idea is that once a patient can recognize their emotions, they will be better able to manage negative feelings that lead to drug abuse.
What Can I Expect During Dialectical behavior therapy?
During DBT sessions, you can expect to focus on your drug use and any other issues that are relevant to your treatment. The therapy process is commonly divided into four modules. Each module focuses on different aspects of the patient’s life. The modules include mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Mindfulness is a practice where people are asked to be present in situations. Patients practice existing in the present moment rather than in their thoughts. Instead of reacting to situations with negative behaviors and thoughts, patients are prompted to practice acceptance. By accepting the current situation and not focusing on a perceived lack of control, patients can avoid catastrophic negative feelings.
Mindful practices help patients to identify their emotions, which can lead to better reactions. Mindfulness can take place through meditation exercises, where the patient is prompted to focus on the present moment. Through mindfulness, patients learn coping skills that can be used during times of distress and urges.
This module focuses on teaching patients how to manage their emotions in stressful situations. This helps patients to accept the situation and avoid high-risk situations. DBT teaches patients how to distract themselves during high distress from difficult emotions, by focusing on positive aspects of their lives, or thinking about the bigger picture.
A SUD can result from a lack of emotional regulation. An addict may respond to overwhelming negative emotions by taking drugs to numb their pain and feelings. The emotional regulation module of DBT teaches patients how to become aware of their emotions, and create strategies for handling them. Patients learn to accept all their emotions as valid, instead of avoiding or resisting them.
This module teaches patients how to navigate social interactions successfully. The training focuses on expressing themselves effectively in relationships with others, either by being more assertive or a better listener. Patients learn skills to build healthy relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. They also learn to say no clearly when it’s necessary to establish boundaries.
The Components of DBT
Along with the modules of DBT are different components. The components of DBT aid with emotional regulation and the facilitation of positive behavioral changes. These include skills training, individual psychotherapy, group therapy sessions, and optional phone coaching.
During skills training, patients gain sets of skills to help better cope with stress, emotions, and relationships. Therapists teach patients skills that help them avoid life-threatening and quality-of-life-degrading behaviors such as drug abuse.
Individual Psychotherapy Sessions
In individual psychotherapy sessions, therapists attempt to aid the patient in understanding their behaviors and thought processes. Most importantly, therapists assist patients in changing these harmful behavioral patterns and attributing them to productive avenues.
Group Therapy Sessions
In group therapy sessions, patients learn skills that are similar to the ones they learn in individual psychotherapy settings. Patients who participate in DBT group therapy often meet weekly for group therapy sessions. During these sessions, patients receive support, empathy, and understanding to help them overcome substance abuse.
For patients who cannot make it to in-person sessions, for whatever reason, phone coaching is available. Therapists can coach patients through DBT skills over the phone, which is helpful for those who struggle with transportation or for other reasons cannot make it into sessions.
How DBT Helps Treat Addiction
If you’re considering DBT for substance abuse in Massachusetts, you may be wondering how it works. Therapists who use DBT focus on changing substance abuse-related behaviors in their patients. Further, DBT works to change the motivation behind those behaviors. With this new motivation, patients can achieve recovery without relapse.
The Goals of DBT for Substance Abuse
Successful therapy is based on measurable goals. The primary goals of DBT include the following:
- Decreasing or eliminating the abuse of substances, including alcohol, illicit drugs, and abused prescription drugs
- Alleviating the mental and physical discomfort associated with withdrawal and/or abstinence from drugs
- Diminishing the urge to use drugs, drug cravings, and temptations to abuse drugs
- Avoiding opportunities to abuse drugs, such as ending relationships with people to urge you to use, changing your phone number so drug contacts cannot reach you, and throwing away drug paraphernalia
- Reducing the behaviors that cause drug abuse, such as giving up on sobriety
- Reinforcing healthy behaviors, such as creating healthy friendships, pursuing healthy activities, and seeking sober and supportive environments
These specific goals help achieve the larger goals of DBT for substance abuse. By the end of treatment, individuals in recovery should have a sense of control restored in their life. This causes those with SUD to choose healthy behaviors rather than make damaging choices such as abusing drugs or self-harming in other ways. Further, patients learn to abandon emotional unavailability in favor of emotional engagement. Rather than using drugs to escape their feelings, patients gain the skills to acknowledge and deal with their emotions.
Additionally, DBT for substance abuse aids patients in handling everyday problems. Relationship troubles, problems at work, or challenges at school can be overwhelming. DBT helps to reframe these as normal problems with normal solutions. Finally, DBT works to restore a sense of completeness in people with SUDs that is often lost during active addiction.
Receive Effective DBT for Substance Abuse in Massachusetts
No one experiences addiction in the same way, despite the many commonalities between cases. Additionally, no two DBT programs in Massachusetts are the same. Our comprehensive addiction therapy services meet each patient’s individual needs through their design. Our DBT therapists, trained to treat the complex dynamics between emotions, thoughts, and actions, work on an individual level with each patient to promote healing and sobriety.
If you are seeking DBT for substance abuse in Danvers, Massachusetts, or the surrounding areas, we can help. Here at Chapters Recovery, we offer specialized treatment for patients living with addiction or a co-occurring mental health condition. To learn more about how DBT can help you overcome an addiction to drugs and alcohol, contact us today.