Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a powerful tool to help a person understand the impact of her thoughts and feelings in a way that transforms self-esteem and personal motivation. An evidence-based form of psychotherapy, DBT treats many conditions including addiction to drugs like tramadol, mood disorders and personality disorders.
How DBT Works
Marsha Linehan, a psychology researcher at the University of Washington, developed DBT originally as a treatment for women with borderline personality disorder according to the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). Since its development in the 1980s, it has been adapted to treat a variety of mental health issues.
DBT goes through a prescribed series of steps. Since it was originally developed to help people avoid suicide and suicidal thoughts, it includes as-needed contact between the patient and therapist. Patients are given a way to contact therapists during crucial periods of the therapy as a way to supplement the work of each session. During a weekly therapy session, a patient will discuss a highly significant event and focus on ways to improve her reaction to similar events in the future. The skills training sessions also focus on developing four coping strategies, according to the DBT Skills Group, including the following:
- Mindfulness – Mindfulness is a practice of being aware of personal feelings, beliefs and behaviors. Awareness helps people control emotions and feelings and understand the reasons behind actions. The practice offers tools for changing behaviors.
- Emotion regulation – This teaches participants to understand the science behind emotions, reduce the impact of negative emotions and improve the quality and number of positive emotions.
- Interpersonal effectiveness – This teaches participants how to use all the skills together to improve decision-making and behavior. Participants are encouraged to practice the lessons on small problems first before using them on larger more serious issues.
- Distress tolerance – Distress tolerance teaches participants ways to cope with the inevitable stressful situations in life. It also offers a way to accept what is happening, feel peace about it, improve the situation if possible and determine the ways it is good and bad.
All of the skills taught during DBT are designed to help a person find balance in her life according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DBT teaches a person to accept himself as he is and then change undesirable behaviors to improve quality of life.
Who Benefits From DBT?
DBT was originally developed for women with borderline personality disorder although it can be adapted to treat a variety of mental health conditions, addiction to drugs like tramadol and personal problems. The goal of the therapy is to encourage a person at any stage of mental health and then build on that encouragement to gradually change negative thoughts and undesirable behaviors according to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH researchers and others have found the therapy to be very effective at changing behaviors and improving life skills.
During DBT a person gradually learns to identify self-destructive behaviors including an unhealthy reliance on substances like tramadol as a way to handle stressful problems. The therapist maintains a friendly relationship with the patient by noting that she is a valuable person but still guides the patient through strategies that will help her learn healthy behaviors and new ways of thinking about her situation in life.
Positive thinking patterns are important especially when a person leaves treatment and begins living in recovery on her own. The ability to reverse a cycle of negative thoughts is one of the ways a person learns to stay sober. Effective thinking patterns include realistic thoughts that do not idealize drug taking or the time spent during active substance use according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
It is normal to have drug cravings, notes SAMHSA. DBT teaches a person to fight temptations and focus on in-the-moment ways to handle them. For example, feeling a craving is a normal sign, but a recovering addict should use the feeling to remember the positive aspects of living without drugs.
Need Help Finding Addiction Treatment?
DBT is a proven therapy that helps someone learn how to identify problem behaviors and make important changes in her life. While addiction to drugs like tramadol is a brain disease that compels a person to crave illicit substances, behavior modification helps her replace the cravings with healthy activities.
A person struggling with addiction needs help in all areas of her life—physically, mentally and spiritually. It also is common for a person to have a Dual Diagnosis, or an addiction along with a mental health disorder. A high quality integrated treatment program offers the best outcomes for Dual Diagnosis patients.
Because DBT sets realistic goals and guides a person through achieving them, it can create lasting change in a person’s life. If you or a loved one is suffering with addiction to drugs like tramadol, call our admissions coordinators today for advice. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at our toll-free helpline to offer information about addiction treatments. Call today.