Dialectical Behavior Therapy For Substance Abuse
The pervasive problem of substance abuse affects over 20 million Americans every year. Whether genetic factors, difficult life circumstances, or choices that have led you to the path of abuse and addiction, one thing remains clear—the only way to reclaim your life once more is with rehabilitation and treatments like dialectical therapy.
Dangers of substance abuse
Drug and alcohol addiction can have dire consequences if it is allowed to take over your life. Just a few of the long reaching effects of drug abuse and alcohol abuse include:
- Significant physical consequences to all systems in the body
- Mental illness, emotional disorders can develop
- Loss of employment, consequences in relationships
- Long term and chronic health conditions
- Overdose or death
When you begin to see the dangers of and consequences related to addiction, the only right course of action is to find your way out of the devastating cycle and back into life once more.
What about dialectical behavior therapy?
Although a number of traditional methods of rehabilitation and therapy exist for those suffering from addictions, the use of dialectical behavior therapy is being implemented to help those suffering with addiction and the negative cycle of thinking that can accompany it.
Dialectical behavior therapy is a dynamic behavior therapy used in addiction treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. Intensive therapy sessions help a person to overcome negative, self destructive thoughts and behaviors and the resulting emotions that can derail any attempts at rehabilitation. Treatment providers can help participants create positive behaviors and practice different types of conscious thought generation as a means of retraining thoughts and habits that were once destructive.
The cycle of addiction and emotions
Quite often, addiction is a vicious cycle that is field by toxic thoughts and emotions. The physical, mental, and emotional instability caused by chronic abuse fuels these circular patterns even more. Addiction, use, and all the associated behaviors resulting from these patterns can cause physical damage, destruction of relationships, and it can even undermine your career. Even when faced with the knowledge that these patterns fuel each other, it can be hard for a person to change.
Behavior therapy as an agent of change
Dialectical therapy was originally developed to treat those with personality disorders and mental illness. It has since been proven to be remarkably effective in a clinical setting for those dealing with drug and alcohol addiction. Therapy may be applied in an inpatient or outpatient setting; in order for it to be effective, both therapist and client need to form a collaborative relationship based on trust. As treatment begins, it is expected that the patient practice complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol, and an intensive process of identifying toxic thoughts and emotions, working to release them, will be necessary in order to see progress.
As the treatment process develops, DBT targets a certain set of behaviors that improves a person’s chance of recovery:
- Reducing or alleviating withdrawal symptoms
- Reducing cravings or temptations for relapse
- Identifying and working to remove triggers that may cause a relapse
- Overcoming toxic thoughts and emotions that can lead to drug abuse
- Reinforcing healthy relationships, behaviors, and social connections that encourage sobriety
Life after addiction
The overall goal of any addiction and treatment program is to offer tools and suggestions for returning to life after the struggle and pain that addiction brings. DBT is an effective method of dealing with underlying emotional and mental issues that contribute to the vicious cycle of addiction; in getting to the root cause of these issues, there is hope that all patients can again return to life on the other side.