Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on high risk and tough to treat patients. Patients often have multiple diagnoses and haven’t responded to other treatments. Although DBT was initially created to treat Borderline Personality Disorder, it has since been adapted to treat a whole range of other conditions.
DBT has been proven to be effective in treating mood disorders, PTSD, eating disorders, ADHD, and some substance abuse. The skills learned in DBT, such as mindfulness and emotion regulation are useful to everyone in life, individuals with disorders such as the ones above might just have never been taught or picked up on these skills. Mindfulness, for example, can help people with or without mental disorders live in the present moment and have increased positive emotional experiences while decreasing negative ones.
BPD is a disorder that causes people to have intense emotional outbursts, mood swings, and sensitivity to rejection. Dialectical behavioral therapy helps individuals with BPD curb thinking that leads to emotional outbursts and how to cope with the emotional situations that occur in life.
DBT works to empower people that may be suffering from depression. It teaches them to add positive emotional experiences to their lives in order to have better relationships and be happy. DBT also teaches individuals with depression to tools to use when the depression hits, and give them the strength to take charge of their lives.
Anxiety has a tendency to drag people into an endless spiral of negative thoughts and worry. DBT teaches people how to live in the present moment to avoid this downfall. It gives individuals the tools to set aside worries and focus on the present moment.
People with eating disorders, especially binge eating disorder, benefit from DBT because it helps teach them skills to regulate emotion and pick up on the trigger emotions that lead to them binge eating. While binge eating is an eating disorder, it’s really about people using food and purging to manage painful feelings.
Traumatic brain injuries can completely alter a person. Depends on what area of the brain is affected, people may have emotional outbursts and are suddenly unable to regulate their emotions or impulses. DBT can help them relearn the necessary skills after a TBI.
Individuals that struggle with self-harm and suicidal tendencies can also benefit from DBT. This form of therapy not only provides positive reinforcement and boosts self-esteem by giving them skills they lack, it also helps them increase their emotional regulation by having them learn the triggers that are bringing on these harmful thoughts and actions.
Many people with mental disorders often also develop substance addictions due to them trying to self-medicate. Although DBT isn’t fully effective in treating substance abuse on its own, it does work well in treating it when it’s accompanied by other disorders. DBT doesn’t just treat substance abuse though; it can also treat other forms of addiction such as gambling, sex, and shopping.
Doctors are still researching how DBT can help PTSD, but so far the results are promising. DBT can help them focus on the present, and also aid in them dealing with emotional trauma and identifying triggers.
Mood disorders such as Bipolar and Schizophrenia can also benefit from DBT. They benefit from the distress tolerance and emotion regulation skills. People with mood disorders have stressors that can increase vulnerability to depression, mania, or psychotic breaks, and DBT can aid in managing that.
Recently psychiatrists have been looking into how DBT therapy techniques can help sexual abuse survivors. By helping survivors live in the present and regulate distress and emotions DBT can help sexual abuse survivors lead a healthy life.
Here at Delray Center for Healing, we offer various DBT therapy techniques to provide for the needs of various mental health patients. To learn more, contact us today!!
Since 2003, the Delray Center for Healing has provided exceptional psychiatric and therapeutic care for mental health, eating, and substance use disorders. To learn more about our philosophy and treatment approach, download our free e-book, “Psychiatry Redefined,” written by our founder and medical director, Raul J. Rodriguez, MD.