How Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Aids in Substance Abuse Treatment in Indiana
Recovering from substance abuse can be a challenge, but it gets easier if you receive appropriate professional help. At First City Recovery Center in Indiana, we work closely with our clients through the treatment and recovery process. We work to ensure our clients receive the best care under planned treatment and implement Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for quick and effective recovery.
What Is Dialectical Behavior Theory?
It is a modification of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and its main focus is to teach people how to develop healthy ways to cope with stress. Also, people learn to live in the moment, regulate emotions, and improve their relationships with others.
At first, the purpose of this therapy was to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). Later, it was discovered that it could also effectively assist in the treatment of other mental health conditions. It is effective for individuals with difficulty regulating their emotions as well as those demonstrating self-destructive behaviors like substance abuse or eating disorders. It has also shown positive results in treating post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy uses these six points to achieve its purpose:
• Medical treatment that may treat other mental health problems
• Teaching clients to accept situations
• Change-oriented strategies
• Emotional regulation
• Distress tolerance
• Improving interpersonal effectiveness
Why Do People Become Addicts?
Before we explore the necessity of DBT in treating substance abuse disorders, it is essential to understand why people become addicts.
Addiction could result from peer pressure, anxiety, emotional distress, depression, a person’s genes, or environmental stress.
There are several different stages of addiction:
• Experimental use: In many cases, people begin the habit of experimental use where peers do it for recreation before it escalates into a problem.
• Regular use: As the habit escalates, the user becomes attached to the use of the substance. Failure to use results in the individual becoming entirely dysfunctional. When this happens, they may change their friends and cling to users who show increased tolerance.
• Risky use: During this stage, the user lacks any life-based motivations and undergoes behavioral changes. They begin thinking more about drug use and come to prioritize it over everything. Some users will sell possessions or deal in drugs to support their addictions. They may also begin using more problematic drugs leading them to get involved in legal issues.
• Addiction: This is the final stage where an individual has become utterly dependent on their habits. They cannot function without the drug and will deny they have a substance abuse problem. Also, they may struggle in relationships with friends, spouses, or family members. As a result of social detachment, some users may develop suicidal thoughts or attempt to commit suicide.
At this point, you understand that addiction is a developed habit that causes destructive behavior. Medical professionals consider it a brain disorder that causes functional changes to the circuits of the brain. These involve changes in stress, self-control, and reward.
Even if an individual has stopped substance abuse, they are likely to struggle with the long-term effects of such changes. Brain imaging studies show that people with substance use disorders undergo physical changes in some areas of their brains. These are areas that relate to decision-making, learning, memorizing, and controlling their behavior. Such changes shed light on the compulsive nature of addiction.
Why Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Necessary in Treating Substance Abuse?
In the early 1980s, it was discovered that cognitive-behavioral therapy CBT alone was ineffective in treating BPD. As a result, more techniques were added to the approach to meet the unique needs of affected individuals. When this happened, Dialectical Behavior Therapy emerged as a reliable alternative for treating numerous conditions like:
• Suicidal behavior
• Substance abuse disorder
• Anxiety disorder
• Bipolar disorder
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder
• Eating disorders
When using DBT, the therapist and client will work together to resolve the contradiction between self-acceptance and change. Validation will be offered in an effort to help clients become cooperative. It will also assist in reducing the chances of distress as the client begins to undergo positive changes.
The therapist will remain positive when analyzing the causes of an individual’s actions and create a compromise where necessary. This doesn’t mean that the therapist will support destructive choices. They will only agree to actions or choices that are the best alternative in problem-solving.
Under DBT, every therapeutic setting has its structure as well as goals. Its characteristics are available in individual psychotherapy, phone coaching, or group skills training. In counseling, you will gain the following:
• Acceptance and change: You will learn different strategies that promote acceptance and tolerance. You will learn to accept yourself, your emotions, and your current life circumstances. Also, you will get to develop positive skills that will assist you in making positive changes. These changes will focus on behavior and interactions with people.
• Behavioral change: You will learn to analyze destructive behavior patterns or problems and replace them with practical and healthy life patterns.
• Cognitive: This is the most critical stage, where you learn to focus on changing your thoughts and beliefs. Most drug abusers are trapped in the belief that they cannot function without using a substance. Working to change that belief allows individuals to regain control over their thoughts, which eventually influences them to change their destructive habits.
• Collaboration: Without collaboration, it is difficult for a client to get help. In this case, you will learn to express your thoughts or opinions as you work with others. You may be working with a therapist or with others in group therapy.
• New skill sets: Learning new skills is essential, as it enables you to enhance your capabilities and increase your self-reliance and independence.
• Support: Support comes from being encouraged to identify your positive strengths
Common Dialectical Behavior Therapy Techniques
DBT can be offered in any of these forms:
• Individual therapy: Clients will be assigned a trained professional who teaches them behavioral skills adapted to solving personal life challenges.
• Group therapy: Clients will learn behavioral skills in a group setting.
• Phone coaching: The client can call the therapist for guidance on how they will cope with challenging situations.
How Effective Is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy?
DBT focuses on identifying negative thinking patterns that keep an individual from leading a productive life. Its primary purpose is to allow a person to work toward change. Also, it can help people to improve in handling situations and interactions with people in their daily lives. As a result, it enables them to develop efficient ways in which they can manage and express strong emotions. Behavioral research also identifies that DBT is effective for all ages, genders, ethnicities, and sexual orientations.
Areas in Which DBT Is Beneficial
Borderline Personality Disorder
Studies claim DBT effectively treats BPD and reduces the chances of a client committing suicide. One study found that after one year of treatment, over 75% of persons affected by Borderline Personality Disorder no longer showed any symptoms. This data attests to the effectiveness of DBT in treating behavioral disorders.
Suicide is a problem for people of all ages and genders, and many suicides are caused by depression and/or substance abuse. When people learn new skills during treatment, it reduces their potential for suicide. The new skills reinforce positive habits that enable the affected to value their existence.
DBT focuses on its effects on people under challenging conditions like stress and depression. These are people that are more likely to commit suicide or engage in other types of self-harm. Researchers believe that DBT could be effective in treating other mental health problems. For example, DBT could assist people suffering from PTSD and anxiety. It is also possible that DBT could be effective in treating children that develop disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.
DBT works because it acknowledges that people with mental health or substance abuse problems are limited in some coping skills. For example, an affected person may lack the skills to regulate emotions or limit excessive negative thinking. Some people turn to substance abuse as a way of coping with such challenges. DBT will seek out such limitations and offer means of empowering the individual.
What You Need To Consider Regarding Dialectical Behavior Therapy
When it comes to DBT, do not expect to get instant results. You will need to put in the time and effort to get the most out of the approach. It takes time for you to see the results, but it is worth the effort. You will need to participate in regular therapy sessions and do some homework to improve specific skills.
It could be a challenge for individuals that find difficulty in keeping up with given assignments. Regardless, positive motivation will encourage such individuals to learn to keep up with schedules. It is a way of introducing discipline that will go beyond treatment and improve their lives.
The treatment process will not be easy, as there will be challenges in some stages. Sometimes people undergo traumatic experiences or emotional pain that is upsetting. Despite these challenges, many will manage to remain focused on their recovery and finish successfully.
If you are ready to begin your recovery process or would like to refer a loved one, contact us today at First City Recovery Center. Our professional staff will be happy to assist you.