Dialectical Behavior Therapy For Drug Addiction Treatment

When it comes to treating drug addiction, it can be a very difficult process, one that requires careful progress. Whether it’s on the part of a loved one, or the addict in question – finding the right course of action is highly important if any progress toward treatment is going to be made.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, otherwise known as DBT is a type of therapy that’s based on CBT. However, unlike CBT, it’s been adapted for those who are experiencing their emotions more passionately or intensely than what you would typically feel.

CBT isn’t always the right form of psychotherapy or talk therapy, and DBT is used when the patient is experiencing severe mental health problems. Patients with severe depression, anxiety, and Borderline Personality disorder are typically treated with DBT, but that can also at times extend to those looking to be treated for their drug addiction.

What does DBT do?

The idea of using DBT is to talk to the patient and help them to reach a healthier state of mind. It’s not a cure-all and won’t solve all of the problems that are being experienced, but it’s about achieving the mindset with the skills learned through the therapy. The tools that are necessary to overcome mental hurdles, and practice different strategies to combat unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. 

Throughout the therapy, the patient will learn a number of different techniques to help them achieve a healthier mental state. It’s important to note that DBT may only be successful if the individual is committed to working on themselves, and is actively trying to apply these lessons to their daily struggles.

Distress tolerance

When we face distressing situations, it can be hard to know what to do. Often, there is a panic that will follow, and that can lead you to make the overall situation worse for you. This happens especially when you’re unable to think clearly or take a step back from a scenario. During DBT, you will learn how to take better control over distressing situations, and prevent yourself from taking actions to make things worse.

These may be distraction techniques or finding ways to accept the situation for what it is, rather than trying to fight it.


Without distractions, the mind can wander into various places, and often it goes into bad habits. When you often find yourself in negative situations, your mind will commonly ponder on negative thoughts – which will drag you down even further. This applies when trying to give up bad habits and addictions, as that’s what will usually be on your mind. It’s easy for an addiction to take over when it feels like a need, but learning mindfulness can help you to fight it.

You’ll learn to better understand and observe what’s going on within your mind, rather than take part in the negative thoughts. Letting the negativity take you away can be tempting, but once you learn to take a step back without taking any actions, it can help you to fend off the strongest temptations.

Interpersonal effectiveness

Drug addiction and intense mental disorders can often create challenges for an individual’s relationships, and part of DBT is learning how to work on and repair said relationships. When experiencing intense emotions, it can be very difficult to maintain healthy relationships with friends and loved ones, and DBT will help you to understand how to take a healthier approach to others.

Emotional regulation

In any setting, it’s important to be able to take control of your emotions. There are always going to be difficult scenarios to face, and that’s not something that can be avoided. When you’re experiencing intense emotions, it can be hard to see what’s rational and what isn’t. DBT will help you recognize when your emotions are becoming irrational, and how to replace these thoughts with more productive ones.

How to receive DBT

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, you should know that there are a few ways that you could receive dialectical behavior therapy for drug addiction treatment. Reaching care shouldn’t be too difficult, and you can get started with one of the following:

Intensive Outpatient

Handling drug addiction can be very challenging, and that’s why intensive outpatient may be necessary for treatment. You can receive DBT on a regular schedule, while still living within your home. This method works for those who are willing to work on their addiction.


Telemed is there for those who are looking to receive service over the phone, rather than meeting in person. It’s proved to be an effective medium for treatment, and is typically used when meeting with a therapist is not an option.


You don’t need another person to refer you to get help, you can apply for your own admission and find a treatment plan that works for you. Everyone has their own ability, so it’s important to find a treatment that goes at your pace.

Download this article

Latest Posts

Request a confidential callback

What We Treat

What We Treat

Impact Outpatient Program offers treatment for a variety of addictions and co-ocurring disorders at our Louisville area outpatient drug rehab center.
Addiction Treatment Services In Kentucky



Addiction Treatment Services In Kentucky







BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY (502) 912-1038

Let Impact Outpatient Program help you find your path to lasting recovery from substance abuse right now. Same-Day Admissions Available.