Why DBT Can Help With Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

 In Articles, Treatment

What is Dialectic Behavior Therapy?

Dialectic behavior therapy was actually created to help those suffering from borderline personality disorder and suicidal thoughts. The original focus was actually on women, but the use of DBT has spread far and wide since then. Its very foundational purposes are to improve communication skills and coping skills while building up self-esteem.

It is a multi-faceted approach designed to lead people into making better choices. Alone, it can be very effective, however, it is often more effective when it is used in combination with other therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. A personalized treatment plan with the correct combinations of therapies will be determined according to the patient’s needs.

The 4 Moving Parts of DBT

DBT is not a one-step process that will turn a patient’s life around. Mental health and addiction are complex subjects that must be addressed as such. Consider this: if you rip a muscle apart and go to the doctor, he should prescribe you medication for the pain along with some form of physical therapy. Having the medication alone will be great to help with the most serious pain, but it will do nothing to strengthen your muscle or rebuild it.

Even physical therapy, whether conducted by the patient himself or a professional will involve more than one step. This is because the patient will need to work back up to their necessary strength. The same is true for mental health and addiction. It is a process, and when using DBT, the following steps are used in the process:

1. Skills Training

2. Individual Therapy

3. Consultation Team

4. Phone Coaching

The Skills of Focus with DBT

Again, there is more than one step to a process. In skills training, professionals focus on four different main areas that provide a better overall way of dealing with life for the patient. The following are these skills:

1. Mindfulness

Quite often, a personal self-medicates because they want to escape from their current reality. Everyone has been there. When a friend or loved one passes away, it is painful, and we do not want to feel that pain. Many of us search for a way to numb the pain, even if just for a moment.

The difference in those that need addiction treatment and those that do not is generally the ability to step away from or avoid the numbing agent, and the ability to face their feelings- even if they do not want to. With DBT, patients learn to choose to stay in the moment and deal with the problem instead of self-medicating.

2. Emotional Regulation

For some people, it is extremely difficult to recognize negative emotions for what they are and work through them in a positive manner. DBT focuses on helping patients do this, though, so that they can spot these negative emotions before they take a big toll. This gives them the chance to work through the emotions before they make the wrong choices.

3. Distress Tolerance

Everyone has different levels when it comes to the ability to cope with stressful situations. Part of DBT is increasing the patient’s ability to cope. The better he or she is able to cope, the less likely he or she will choose the wrong ways to do so.

4. Interpersonal Effectiveness

It is also very important that patients learn how to effectively and calmly communicate with others.

How DBT Can Help With Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

DBT, along with other therapies, has the ability to make a big impact on dual-diagnosis treatment programs. The following are some of these ways:

1. Through therapy and skills training, patients are able to build the confidence they need to cope with stress in a positive manner.

2. Through confidence, they gain and the emotional regulation skills, they are more likely to seek help when it is needed instead of being blindsided.

3. They will also begin to recognize emotional triggers, i.e. specific things that make them act in an undesirable way as well as unhealthy relationships that affect them.

4. The patient is also more likely to reach out to new people and make new relationships thank their new interpersonal skills.


If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction or other mental health concerns, give Launch Centers of Los Angeles, CA a call today. Our professionals are standing by to get you and your family the personalized treatment you deserve. Working together, we can help you live a life of freedom.

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