Most people are easily able to identify their bad habits.
They know that they are engaged in self-destructive behaviors, yet struggle to make the conscious choices necessary to change them.
The challenge of changing an ingrained habit is typically due to the benefits a person obtains from the self-harming behavior; all maladaptive habits emerge from an inability to cope with unpleasant feelings or situations.
Patients with a substance abuse disorder often regulate their emotions with substances for lack of better behavioral skills.
Dialectical behavioral therapy, an evidence-based approach to developing behavioral skills and coping mechanisms, represents the most effective treatment for patients with substance and personality disorders.
At Restorations Health Group in Anaheim, California, we use dialectical behavioral therapy to enable long-term recovery for our Southern California patients.
What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)?
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a cognitive-behavioral approach to healing dysfunctional patterns of behavior and emotional dysregulation by providing psychotherapy, group skills training, therapy sessions, and phone coaching.
DBT emerged from Linehan’s efforts to account for the weaknesses of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a therapeutic approach that prioritizes talk therapy.
Since then, therapists have found that DBT can help treat patients with generalized anxiety disorder, substance use disorder, eating disorders, and many other illnesses characterized by self-destructive behavior.
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How It Works
DBT helps patients develop the coping skills they need to regulate their emotions and develop mindful awareness and acceptance.
DBT treatment consists of four modules:
- Distress tolerance
- Emotional regulation
- Interpersonal effectiveness
Together, these modules empower our Anaheim patients to assume control over their emotions and develop the self-respect they need to improve their quality of life.
Benefits of DBT
All habits have good intentions.
Patients develop maladaptive mechanisms to self-soothe and regulate their emotions. When these coping mechanisms are no longer helpful, a DBT therapist helps patients promote acceptance and change in the interest of developing new behavioral skills.
A study found that DBT skills promote immediate and long-term relief for addiction patients.
DBT enhances the quality of life for those who respond to little else.
Patients Learn to Reconcile Acceptance and Change
The first principle of DBT is learning to reconcile self-acceptance and change.
In individual therapy, patients work with their therapists to assess their self-respect, acceptance, and responsiveness to change.
Ultimately, patients learn to practice self-improvement from a place of nonjudgment and acceptance.
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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Promotes Mindfulness
The first module of DBT is mindfulness.
Patients learn to cultivate mindful awareness to track changes in mood and behavior. This empowers them to make different decisions without resorting to automatic habits.
Additionally, mindfulness allows our Anaheim patients to accept and enjoy their circumstances—no matter what.
Patients Learn to Manage Impulsivity
By cultivating mindfulness, patients are better able to manage impulsivity and less likely to experience urges to act self-destructively.
DBT Helps Patients Manage Distressing Situations
The distress tolerance module arms patients with the new skills they need to accept and adapt to stressful emotions and environmental triggers.
This module offers healthy behaviors as replacements for unhealthy coping mechanisms, steadily empowering patients with new and improved habits.
Patients Learn to Identify and Cope with Emotions
Emotions are often the catalyst for substance use.
In the emotional regulation module, patients learn to identify and name their emotions and reduce their vulnerability to overreaction.
Additionally, this module empowers students to increase the proportion of positive events in their lives, improving the overall quality of life.
Patients Learn to Identify and Change Harmful Behaviors
Patients can limit their resorting to harmful behaviors using mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation.
DBT disrupts the behavior at the root: the emotional reaction that provokes the self-harming action.
DBT Improves Relationships
With DBT skills at their disposal, patients can begin to reengage in healthy relationships and help others.
They learn to balance others’ needs while prioritizing their safety and comfort.
In this way, DBT contributes to improving communities as a whole.
Patients are Less Likely to Relapse or Engage in Self-Harming Behaviors
Studies show that DBT reduces the likelihood of relapse and decreases self-harm by increasing distress tolerance and giving patients a wider pool of coping skills to pull from.
Even if patients relapse, they can better identify the relapse and cope with it in a healthy manner—and without judgment.
DBT Improves Quality of Life
With the skills provided by dialectical behavioral therapy, patients can begin to experience a better quality of life overall.
Practicing emotional constancy, self-respect, acceptance, and interpersonal skills heightens and multiplies positive experiences.
What DBT Can Treat
Although Linehan originally intended DBT for patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD), the medically reviewed practice is proven to improve outcomes for patients with substance use disorders, eating disorders, binge eating disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression with suicidal behaviors.
While some patients may experience these disorders individually, many are comorbid, meaning they coexist in the same patient.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Patients with BPD struggle to reconcile opposing ideas and beliefs.
They often think in “black and white” and, as a result, experience emotional fluctuations. To cope with their feelings, they frequently engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as self-harm, suicidal behavior, substance use, binge eating, or other mind- or mood-altering behaviors.
BPD is a disease of instability, and behavioral therapy introduces new skills that enable patients to cultivate stability and presence of mind.
Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Disorders
Patients with depression and anxiety also struggle to regulate emotions and evaluate situations without judgment. They may experience shame due to chronic suicidal ideation.
DBT can help such patients recognize the validity of their emotions while challenging the damaging thoughts and behaviors that frequently accompany them.
Substance Use Disorders & Other Addictions
Addiction is a disease, and though the above disorders may, at first glance, appear to be distinct from one another, patients share the same internal inability to cope with life and regulate their emotions.
DBT works for many because it addresses the patient’s cognitive reality rather than the symptoms of their suffering.
As a result, DBT works for substance users and those with process addictions (such as eating disorders or gambling addictions).
For our Anaheim patients, DBT can represent the path to a better future.
Effectiveness of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical behavioral therapy has built a reputation for improving outcomes for most patients. Research shows that 77 percent of patients with borderline personality disorder experience successful results from undergoing DBT.
The success rate is equally high within populations of patients with substance use disorders.
But why is DBT so practical?
Each feature of DBT contributes to building special skills to promote long-term change.
Each patient works with a consultation team of mental health professionals. This ensures that multiple expert opinions weigh in on progress and treatment options.
Furthermore, patients can access several DBT technicians, therapists, and psychiatrists for support.
Each patient works with an individual therapist to balance the contradiction between change and acceptance.
“Dialectical” means “acting through opposing forces.” Patients must accept and respect themselves before they can change.
Individual therapy helps them do so.
In groups, patients learn among their peers to develop the behavioral skills they need to regulate their emotions and manage stress responses.
Working in a group promotes collaboration, empathy, and skill mastery.
Within their groups, Anaheim patients work across all four modules within DBT to cultivate different ways to cope with stress and regulate their emotions.
Mindfulness is a core element of BPD.
Patients must develop self-awareness to initiate change.
Practicing mindfulness enables patients to live in the present moment, minimize fear and stress, experience emotions, and engage their senses.
Patients also learn to proceed with change from a place of nonjudgment.
Many substance users also have stress disorders, self-harm habits, suicidal behaviors, and other damaging responses to being emotional overwhelmed.
The distress tolerance module teaches patients to cultivate acceptance and maintain composure during highly stressful or traumatic events.
Once patients learn to tolerate distress, they can develop the ability to regulate intense negative emotions and are less likely to react impulsively to them.
Students learn to:
- Identify and name emotions
- Identify and overcome obstacles to changing emotional states
- Reduce their vulnerability to a reaction
- Increase positive events
- Develop mindfulness
- Apply distress tolerance techniques
In this module, students learn to cultivate self-respect, treat others with care and kindness, and practice assertiveness and boundary maintenance.
Why Do We Use DBT in Addiction Treatment?
Studies suggest that BPD and SUD often manifest in the same person and that the two disorders share many crucial characteristics. As a result, effective treatment for one is often effective for the other.
Addiction is a manifestation of emotional dysregulation and acceptance. People with SUD use substances because they often believe the substance is the only thing keeping them safe from the pain that torments them.
DBT Promotes Positive Outcomes for Substance Users
The most effective treatments for SUD treat the person rather than the behavior. The behavior is merely a symptom of internal suffering.
DBT works for substance users because it is a person-centered approach to treatment. Rather than emphasizing the consequences of behaviors, as with cognitive behavioral yherapy, it prioritizes emotional constancy and mindfulness.
When patients experience relief from internal pain, they are far less likely to engage in the behaviors they used to quell that pain.
Therefore, DBT treats the problem at the source, contributing to profound relief and long-term recovery. DBT is also exceptionally effective in treatment settings for the following reasons.
DBT Works Best When Patients Are Sober
Studies show that DBT works best on patients not currently using substances.
In our Anaheim facility, patients can safely detox and begin the treatment when it is most likely to be effective.
DBT Requires Environmental Safety
There is no safer place than a treatment facility.
DBT works best for patients whose basic needs are met. Substance users are often in unsafe situations due to their addictions. When they come to our Southern California facility, they receive access to the basic comforts and necessities they need to focus on treatment.
Patients Learn the Most from One Another
The skills group is an integral component of DBT—but many outpatient groups can be unpredictable, and patients may have difficulty holding themselves accountable to attend.
We bring our patients together in a safe and accountable environment where they are motivated to attend their groups and participate fully.
Our groups are led by certified DBT technicians and therapists who expertly facilitate participation and learning.
As a result, students learn a great deal from one another.
We Care About California
Substance abuse is a threat to our community.
As of 2022, 9 percent of Californians suffer from SUD, and the death rate from fentanyl-related overdoses has climbed 30 percent from 2011 to 2019.
In bringing DBT to Southern California, we aim to help our clients recover and improve our more significantly impacted communities.
A healthy community is one in which its members are happy, healthy, and respectful of one another.
Entering treatment can be overwhelming.
Whether you are suffering from an addiction or suspect someone you love is grappling with SUD, you can find relief at our beautiful Anaheim facility.
We offer a variety of programs to enable recovery, including:
- Addiction detox
- Residential treatment
- Addiction aftercare
Additionally, we offer extensive treatments other than DBT, including:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Young adult treatment
- 12-step groups
- Aftercare planning
To contact us today for a consultation, you can send us a message on our website, call us at (877) 578-0708, or visit us at our facility at 1247-A North Lakeview Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92807.
Recovery is a journey that requires bravery to take the very first step. We encourage you to reach out with any questions regarding dialectical behavioral therapy and other treatment options, and we hope to hear from you soon.
Schedule an appointment today.
More Addiction Therapy Services
Addiction Therapy Services
The caring specialists at Restorations Health Care Group want to help you overcome a drug or alcohol problem. Contact us for help today
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Few evidence-based therapies are more well known than a cognitive behavioral therapy program. It’s a popular choice for people who need to overcome addiction.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Psychiatrists use this counseling method for numerous mental illnesses. Borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and PTSD are a few examples.
This addiction therapy gives you the privacy and trust you need to discuss issues leading to your substance abuse and addiction.
This type of therapy involves three or more members who discuss addiction and learn about their disease. Learn more by clicking below.
This is a form of group therapy, usually for families with one or more members who suffer physical, emotional or mental health problems.
Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental health through ways other than taking medications. Learn more by clicking the button below.
One of the best ways to learn about yourself and to stay clean is through the method of an experiential therapy program.