It is no secret that addiction is a serious problem. It not only takes a toll on the addict but also on those around them. Families are torn apart, friends are lost, and jobs are put in jeopardy.
While there are many different types of addiction, one of the most difficult to overcome is alcoholism. This is because alcohol is so readily available and socially acceptable. It can be easy to fall into a pattern of drinking too much without realizing it.
That’s where dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) comes in. DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps people learn new skills to cope with difficult situations. It can be an effective treatment for alcoholism, as well as other types of addiction.
DBT teaches people to be more mindful of their thoughts and actions. It also helps them to develop healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and other triggers.
One of the most important aspects of DBT is learning how to regulate emotions. This is because many people turn to alcohol in order to self-medicate when they’re feeling down or stressed out.
The DBT Process
DBT is typically conducted in a group setting, though individual therapy may also be used.
The first step is to learn about the stages of change. This helps people to understand where they’re at in their journey and what they need to do to move forward.
Next, people are taught skills in four areas: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance.
- Mindfulness skills help people to be more aware of their thoughts and feelings in the present moment. This can help them to better control their reactions to triggers.
- Interpersonal effectiveness skills help people to communicate more effectively and set boundaries with others. This is important for maintaining relationships while sober.
- Emotional regulation skills help people to manage their emotions in a healthy way. This can prevent them from turning to alcohol as a way to cope with difficult emotions.
- Distress tolerance skills help people to deal with difficult situations in a healthy way. This can prevent them from turning to alcohol as a way to escape from problems.
After learning these skills, people are given homework assignments to practice what they’ve learned. They may also be asked to participate in role-playing exercises in order to better understand how to apply the skills in real-life situations.
By learning how to better deal with emotions, DBT can help people to reduce their reliance on alcohol. This, in turn, can help to prevent relapse and make sobriety more sustainable in the long term.
DBT is usually conducted over the course of several months, though the length of treatment may vary depending on the individual’s needs.
Is DBT Right for You?
If you’re struggling with alcoholism, you may be wondering if DBT is right for you. The best way to find out is to talk to a qualified mental health professional.
They can assess your situation and determine whether DBT would be an appropriate treatment for you. They can also provide you with more information about how DBT works and what you can expect from treatment.
What about Detox?
If you’re struggling with alcoholism, you may need to go through detox before starting DBT. Detox is a process of ridding your body of the alcohol in your system.
This can be done on your own at home, but it’s often best to detox under the supervision of a doctor or other qualified professional. This is because detox can be dangerous and even life-threatening if not done properly.
After you’ve detoxed, you can then begin working on the skills taught in DBT. This will help you to better cope with triggers and reduce your reliance on alcohol.
Outpatient vs. Intensive Outpatient Treatment
DBT is typically conducted in an outpatient setting, which means you can attend treatment while continuing to live at home and work or go to school.
Outpatient treatment usually consists of weekly group therapy sessions and weekly individual therapy sessions. You may also be given homework assignments to practice the skills you’re learning in treatment.
Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) is similar to outpatient treatment, but it’s more intense. IOP usually consists of 3-5 group therapy sessions per week and 3-5 individual therapy sessions per week.
Like outpatient treatment, you’ll also be given homework assignments to practice the skills you’re learning in treatment.
IOP is often recommended for people who are struggling with more severe alcoholism. It’s also recommended for people who have been through detox and are looking for a more intensive treatment option.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. DBT may be able to provide the tools you need to overcome addiction and build a healthier, happier life.