Marsha Linehan, a psychologist from the University of Washington, originally developed dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) in the 1980’s to help treat women with borderline personality disorder (BPD); over time, however, researchers found that DBT could be applied to a wide range of conditions, such as substance use disorders (SUDs), eating disorders and more. DBT aims to help people better regulate their emotions, with coping mechanisms to help ease some of the distress that many people face on a daily basis.
A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction presented a case study of a male client who underwent DBT for both a SUD and a mental illness; some of the outcomes highlighted were:
- Reduction in substance use
- Less instances of suicidal ideation
- Significant reduction in self-harm behaviors
- Increase in coping mechanisms and skills
Since DBT is so versatile when it comes to aiding those with addiction and/or mental illness, there is much flexibility for clients to experienced more customized treatment. There are 4 main components to DBT, which include:
- Mindfulness – teaching clients how to live in the “here and now”
- Interpersonal relations – strategies for improving communication with others
- Emotion regulation – healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with anger, sadness, anxiety, etc.
- Distress tolerance – teaching clients methods for how to stay mentally grounded amidst circumstances that cannot be changed
A 2018 study published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse sought to explore how effective DBT was in helping treat those with alcohol dependence. After a 3-month assessment of 157 patients who underwent DBT skills training, researchers found that 73% of participants were abstinent by the end of the program. Many improvements were found in emotion dysregulation as well, meaning that these individuals were given several effective coping strategies for dealing with tough emotions and circumstances that arose in daily life.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474