According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are often mental health disorders involved with alcohol use and substance use disorders; this is also known as a co-occuring disorder. To address the issue of dual diagnosis, researchers developed an offshoot of cognitive behavioral therapy designed specifically to address the co-occurring disorders issue.

Dialectical behavior therapy has five parts, according to SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices:

  • Skills training
  • Behavioral training
  • General (includes homework, access to a therapist outside of scheduled meeting times, and family counseling)
  • Environment structuring
  • Therapist enhancement (consultations and sharing of information between the client’s therapists)

Each of these parts of DBT is designed to help the individual overcome the challenges they face in order to increase problem-solving skills and cognitive reasoning and to help the client control and balance his or her emotions.

Does DBT Really Work for Addiction Treatment?

The US National Library of Medicine published a study that looked into whether dialectical behavioral therapy was adaptable to situations other than suicide ideation. The study looked specifically at borderline personality disorder with a co-morbid condition of substance abuse. This means that the individuals in the study suffered from addiction and another mental disorder at the same time. The study found that this type of treatment had an effect on binge eating – a condition that sometimes accompanies borderline personality disorder according to another study published by PubMed – as well as addiction issues. Specifically, the researches believed that the skills training element was of the most benefit, but further studies were needed. In conclusion, the researchers felt that DBT was a move in the right direction for the treatment of co-occurring disorders in general.

Other Benefits of Dialectical Behavioral Treatment

The National Institute of Mental Health has studied DBT and found that it is significantly effective in reducing the suicide rates of individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder. In fact, it reduced the suicide rate by half. The National Institute of Mental Health has supported the research and development of this type of behavioral treatment for more than 20 years, according to the report, because it has shown such promise for the treatment of a variety of conditions. In this case, the study compared DBT with a second group of women who were treated by experts in the community with methods more standard to the time. Interestingly, even though DBT offers more access to a therapist than the “once per week” typical meetings offered to the second group, both groups ultimately received roughly the same number of treatment hours. This was explained because the non-DBT group tended to seek additional treatment outside of the focus group and tended to change therapists within the group, therefore receiving additional assessments. The DBT group received care more consistently and more effectively in the long run because of the true partnership that developed between the clients and the therapists. At Futures of Palm Beach, we understand the need for this trust and partnership for a successful recovery experience. We staff only the highest quality therapists trained in specialties ranging from DBT to hypnotherapy and more. The evidence-based therapies that we employ here are for the best benefit of our clients, so we can help you and your family recover from the problems you currently face. Addiction can be overwhelming. Co-occurring conditions that often accompany addiction can be just as difficult to understand, but with the help of a facility that truly understands and has the expertise to guide you through, recovery is possible. Call today for your consultation and find out how we can help.

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