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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy is also known as DBT; it is a unique type of therapy that helps people understand their struggles. Due to different types of treatments and therapies, people are usually unaware of DBT. In this treatment, a patient and a therapist work together in order for the patient to develop healthy and sustainable skills. Dialectical behavior therapy for substance abusers has a very high success rate with addictions and is considered to be very reliable. It involves the use of four elements and provides a holistic approach to those who need help. This way, people are able to understand their issues in a better way.

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The Four Elements Involved In DBT

DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) uses four elements; this makes it unique as other therapies only use one element. The four elements that are used in dialectical behavior therapy are:

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness means that a person lives in the moment instead of dwelling on the past. Dwelling on the past is common in addicts and people with trauma. DBT teaches them how to get better at mindfulness and to stop worrying about the past or the future and instead focus on the present.

2. Emotional Regulation

This involves managing emotions and feelings; these can include both good and bad emotions. This is essential for those people who are extremely sensitive. DBT allows people to focus on regulating emotions instead of being overburdened by feelings.

3. Interpersonal Effectiveness

This element helps people to communicate better, which allows them to strengthen bonds and relationships.

4. Distress Tolerance

This element of DBT allows people to build tolerance against negative influences and people. This helps people as they work towards becoming resilient towards the words and negativity of others.

Uses of DBT

Dialectical behavior therapy was initially used to treat people with bipolar personality disorders. Due to its success, it is now also used to treat various mental disorders; this includes substance use disorders, eating disorders, depression, and PTSD. Many patients also use DBT to cope up with suicidal tendencies and childhood traumas. DBT teaches the person how to overcome bad thoughts and toxic behaviors. The four elements of DBT are used simultaneously to achieve this. During the dialectical behavior therapy, a person goes to a therapist, who is trained to offer these services. The therapist and the patient then run drills about various scenarios to see how the person reacts. This can also be an enjoyable practice. A person also meditates and practices mindfulness. These help the patient to reflect on his negative behavior and how to fix it. The process varies from person to person; some people take a longer time to achieve their goals while others do not require the same time. Sessions usually take place weekly and can last for a few months.

Difference between CBT and DBT

CBT and DBT are two different treatments. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on the psychological aspects of a person’s problems. It is mostly focused on negative emotions and thoughts that hold a person back from living his best life.

Dialectical behavioral therapy includes similar things as CBT but also helps a person build distress tolerance and better communication skills; this makes it a holistic approach. These two added elements make it different from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Other than negative thoughts and behavior, a person also learns how to control himself in stressful situations.

Both these therapies are useful and should not be compared with each other as they are used for different purposes, depending on the patient’s needs.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Addiction

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is commonly used in many drug and behavioral rehab centers. It is considered to be very effective for the treatment of addiction. An addict works with a therapist to prevent a drug relapse or overdose. These sessions can take place in groups or can happen individually, as well. The patient and the therapist go over many activities that help in identifying behavioral patterns as well as triggers. Figuring out triggers can help addicts deal with them in a better way; they can work towards overcoming them. Addicts can also use this by removing people or objects that trigger them from their life. Our center offers different types of addiction treatment therapies. If you are unsure about what treatment you should opt for, visit our center, and we will connect you with a professional who will make sure to help you out. We offer dialectical behavioral therapy and have some of the best experts who can help you achieve sobriety. The four elements used in dialectical behavioral therapy can help you to achieve sobriety and stay away from addictions in the future. Incorporating these four elements in your life can help you get better at dealing with stress, make you a better communicator and teach you how to manage your emotions without worrying about the future.

Therapeutic Services

There is a lot more that goes into staying sober than taking medications and passing the time. Withdrawals can be physically and psychologically painful. Drug detox centers in Massachusetts provide therapeutic services to help patients cope with their symptoms and get peer and professional support.

Additional services that may be offered during detox include:

  • Holistic therapies (yoga, meditation, mindfulness, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic)
  • Group counseling sessions
  • Individual counseling sessions
  • Mental health therapy and evaluations
  • Treatment referral services
  • 12-Step facilitation
  • HIV/AIDS testing

Treatmment Planning

Detox isn’t going to be enough to keep individuals sober as it is only the beginning of the treatment journey. Drug addiction is a complex and progressive disease that takes time, patients, and comprehensive healing. That’s why it is important to attend a full-service addiction treatment program after finishing detox.

Before patients are released from a drug detox facility, they will meet with a drug and alcohol counselor. This counselor will teach patients about their treatment options and help them determine what type of rehab and which level of care is right for them. Treatment after detox may consist of any or all of the following:

  • Inpatient rehab
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Intensive outpatient programming
  • Outpatient programming
  • Aftercare
  • Sober living
  • Alumni groups
  • 12-step groups

Drug detox centers only address the physical symptoms of withdrawal and prepare patients to begin treatment. Rehab centers, on the other hand, address the underlying causes of addiction and help patients learn how to overcome their substance abuse habits.

Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

Patients’ withdrawal symptoms can range from mild, moderate, to severe depending on how long they have abused a substance for and what substance they are detoxing from. The three most commonly abused types of drugs include opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants. All have different withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Watery eyes
  • Yawning
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cravings
  • Cold sweats
  • Chills
  • Goosebumps
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • High blood pressure

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Body aches and pains
  • Abnormal sensations like skin-crawling
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Nausea
  • Hyperventilation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Grand mal seizures

Stimulant Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Increased hunger
  • Nightmares or sleep disturbances
  • Body aches
  • Muscle pain
  • Irritability
  • Delusions
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Cravings
  • Tremors

It doesn’t matter what type of drug a person is detoxing from – the safest and easiest way to complete the detox process without picking up a drug is to detox in a medical facility. Throughout the detox process, doctors, nurses, and addiction specialists can monitor patients’ symptoms and provide life-saving medical care in the event of an emergency.


Valerie Tecci, Program Director

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