Treatment for addiction recovery can involve different approaches and therapies. One option that has great benefits for many people is dialectical behavior therapy, but how can you decide if it’s right for you?

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based practice that focuses on the concept of acceptance. The goal of this therapy is to help you learn to observe your current situation or past mistakes and accept who you are.

By accepting yourself fully, with all your strengths and weaknesses, you can get a clear picture of who you are and what you can change about your life to accomplish your goals in recovery and build a life that enables you to thrive. If you don’t have this clarity about yourself or your life yet, DBT can help you get it.

How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Work?

DBT uses behavior analysis to help you understand and manage the aspects of your life that may be influencing your addiction. After all, though addiction is a disease, its cycle is perpetuated by your actions, so it can be considered an outcome of behavior. Therefore, by working to understand and alter your behavior, you can diminish the addiction itself as well as the negative behaviors that come along with it.

While this process may sound simple, it takes time to complete. Different people will need different amounts of time for this, but it can work for nearly anyone if they commit to it.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Addiction

DBT is often used to treat individuals with severe psychological disorders and recently has been implemented more into the process of addiction recovery. The concept of this therapy greatly relates to the 12-Step program and Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous serenity prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

This step in the 12-Step program encourages one’s ability to accept the aspects of their condition that are out of their control. For example, during addiction, the withdrawal symptoms you experience are due to alterations in your brain’s chemistry, which cause a desire to continue using the substance.

Overcoming addiction is more than simply using your willpower. Using DBT can help you acknowledge this and accept what cannot be changed so that you can focus on the aspects that are within your control.

Benefits for Recovery

The benefits of DBT can be extremely useful in addiction recovery. The way this therapy relates to the 12-Step method shows how the goals of recovery align well with DBT. Letting go of the factors that you are unable to control can help you focus your mind on the changes you can make to greatly impact your life going forward.

DBT’s treatment plan is based on the idea that the individual had previously tried their best to recover on their own. This is extremely beneficial for individuals who feel that they have tried to get better and have not been able to on their own. After all, coming into a recovery program feeling ashamed that you have not previously been successful with your efforts to recover can be very discouraging. Knowing that your treatment team understands your prior efforts can help you regain motivation and establish an effective recovery plan as a team.

Benefits for Mental Health

Many people who struggle with substance abuse tend to also have other mental health disorders. Fortunately, DBT can help with those too.

To help individuals who experience suicidal ideations, DBT provides insight into the potential actions that may alter their emotional state. Though whether you have depression or another psychological disorder is out of your control, you can focus on the aspects of your life that you can change to help you view your life with a fresh mindset and ensure you seek help when needed. Getting prescribed medication to help your condition, going to therapy, and adopting healthy habits are ways you can actively improve your emotional state and alleviate the symptoms of the mental disorder you are dealing with. This focus on the changeable aspects can help you regain control of the situation.

Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy Right for Me?

One of the simplest ways to figure out if DBT can benefit your recovery is to determine your level of self-acceptance. If you struggle to admit you have a problem with substance abuse or tend to dwell on your lack of control over the situations you are going through, DBT may be a great resource for you.

This therapy can greatly benefit your emotional regulation and allow you to regain your focus on recovery and your personal needs. It can help you recognize the compulsive aspects of your substance abuse and enable you to accept the mistakes you may have made in the past by using the substance or relapsing. Acceptance is an extremely important aspect of recovery. Allowing yourself to move forward from your mistakes is one of the greatest benefits DBT can bring to addiction recovery.

If you find these aspects align with your recovery goals, we are happy to help you set up a recovery plan for success.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of therapy that bases its practices upon the idea of acceptance. Working to accept the things that are out of your control to change can help you move forward by focusing on the aspects of recovery that you can change. Accepting the aspects of addiction that are out of your control and learning to come to terms with these aspects can help you overcome them. DBT can be especially beneficial if you struggle with acceptance or lack of control. It is similar to the structure of one of the 12 Steps that is commonly used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). If you feel that realigning your focus on what you are able to control would be beneficial for your recovery, consider including DBT in your treatment plan. To learn more about DBT, reach out to Dream Recovery at (949) 732-1960.

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