Dialectical Behavior Therapy vs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Addiction

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Both Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are both considered effective treatment options when treating mental health disorders and addiction problems.

When someone is being offered addiction treatment support as part of a personalized drug rehab program, it is likely that CBT and DBT will be discussed as viable therapy options.

Although DBT can be seen as a form of CBT and shares a lot of similarities, there are some clear distinctions between the two. Here is a look at the main differences between the two so that an informed choice can be made when it comes to addiction treatment.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy vs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The Basics of Cbt

The fundamental principle behind CBT is that this treatment option is a form of psychotherapy that is regularly used to treat a diverse range of substance use disorders and mental health conditions.

It works on the basis that your thoughts heavily influence your beliefs. These beliefs directly influence behaviors. It is the link between these things that CBT looks to address and impact in a more positive way.

The idea behind using CBT is to find a way to change unwanted behaviors such as addiction to substances by modifying the thought pattern.

CBT is used as a way of calming the body and mind. It enables a patient to develop healthier coping skills and confront issues with a greater degree of confidence.

The Basics of Dbt

The underlying principles of DBT are very similar to how CBT works. The clearest disparity between the two treatment options is that DBT is designed to address more extreme behavioral problems.

Someone who has strong suicidal thoughts, strong urges to harm themselves, or displays self-destructive behavior, would likely be a prime candidate for DBT.

It is intended that DBT will provide a patient with the necessary skills and tools that allow them to cope better when stress levels prompt extreme behavioral responses.

The guiding principles behind DBT are that it also relies on a CBT framework. Dialectics describe a scenario when two things that are deemed to be the polar opposite are viewed as being true at the same time. Opposing viewpoints are a key component of DBT and it also focuses on radical acceptance. This teaches a patient to accept that negative things can happen but provides the mental tools to be able to cope with these challenging thoughts.

What Are the Main Differences Between Cbt and Dbt?

CBT is often a more short-term therapy option. DBT is usually a more long-term treatment choice.

Another key difference is that CBT encourages a patient to change their negative thoughts and emotions. In contrast, DBT actively promotes acceptance of negative emotions.

The most suitable treatment option often needs to be determined by a professional treatment center after a full evaluation has taken place. There can be an overlap between CBT and DBT depending on the mental health challenges that each person is facing.

As DBT is an extension of CBT it is likely that some aspects of treatment will involve both options. Professional guidance will ensure that the right mix is used in order to deliver the most effective addiction treatment option.

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