Addiction Therapies: The Difference Between CBT & DBT

One of the most frequently used evidence-based tools used in the treatment of mental health disorders and substance use disorders is therapy. There are many different therapeutic approaches — each with their own distinct advantages.

There are all sorts of different forms therapy conversations can take, and each one might be better or worse for certain people in need. This article will discuss two main types of therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most commonly used forms of therapy. It is often used in the treatment of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and eating disorders. It has also been used to help people move through stressful situations, major life events, and other short-term crises — regardless of whether or not that situation is complicated by mental illness.

CBT is also widely used in the treatment of addiction — either as treatment in-and-of-itself or as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan. In CBT, individuals work through the emotional and behavioral issues that have contributed to their addiction, as well as learn coping strategies for triggers and cravings and other skills that can build a foundation for recovery.

How Does CBT Work?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that CBT is designed to eliminate negative modes of thinking. These are the types of thought patterns that erode a person’s confidence and strength. These are the thoughts that can lock poor decisions and bad behaviors in place. With CBT, those thoughts and opinions can shift, and that could help people to make better decisions in the future.

During therapy sessions, you and your therapist will work together to uncover thinking patterns, beliefs, and emotional responses that may be unhealthy and unhelpful. Once identified, the goal is to work toward gaining an understanding of how these patterns are hurting your life, and learning better and more effective coping strategies.

CBT sessions can be individual or as part of group therapy. Typically, sessions take about an hour and the process can take several weeks or months.

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

DBT is a very targeted form of therapy that was designed to focus on emotional responses. This therapy was originally developed to treat people with borderline personality disorder, but has a demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of other forms of mental health disorders. The primary goals of DBT are to help people find healthy ways to cope with stress, learn to regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

DBT has been proven remarkably effective. In one study of its efficacy, published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers found that people who received DBT found meaningful relief from mental health disorder symptoms and they were less likely to drop out of treatment. That means this form of care helps to ease symptoms, and it could make life easier for this specific type of person.

How Does DBT Work?

Practitioners who use DBT also try to shift thought patterns and help people to see the world in a new light, but the therapy also has a secondary goal. Practitioners also want to help their patients to feel supported and emotionally nourished.

According to NAMI, DBT aims to help people learn to live with discomfort and distress without reacting to it. Where people with mental health disorders and addictions might be accustomed to trying to fix or amend every negative thing that happens, after DBT, they may be able to simply see something negative and move away from it without reacting to it or using substances to cope

In a DBT session, the therapist does not take on a challenging role. Instead, the therapist works to support the decisions the person made, and the therapist attempts to help that person understand how to make better decisions.

Getting Addiction Treatment in New Jersey

When you’re struggling with addiction or co-occurring disorders it’s important that find addiction-focused healthcare that uses evidence-based treatments to help you build a strong foundation for sobriety. At our inpatient rehab in Lafayette, NJ our team of caring and compassionate professionals work with you to build a customized plan that will meet your needs and get you on the road to recovery.

To learn more about our levels of care to find the one that’s right for, contact our knowledgeable admissions navigators at 24/7. They are on hand to answer your questions about our facility, what to expect in treatment, and can even help you make travel arrangements. When you’re ready to start treatment, they can walk you through the rehab admissions process and give you more information about your rehab payment options — including using your insurance for treatment.

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