What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy: 10 Major Benefits for Addiction Recovery Treatment

Updated on December 6, 2022

If you’ve ever been to a therapist, you may have heard of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). 

It’s a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps people understand how their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors interact to create problems in life. 

DBT has been proven effective in treating substance abuse disorders and other mental health conditions such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), depression, and anxiety disorders.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that helps people with borderline personality disorder and other mental health issues. 

It’s based on the idea that thoughts and feelings are interconnected, so your emotions affect how you act and how you think. DBT teaches you how to identify specific emotions, manage them and change behaviors that aren’t helpful in those situations.

If you’d like to try DBT to improve your health and well-being go to Achieve Wellness Recovery today and schedule an appointment.

Check out the following 10 benefits of getting DBT:

Enhances Mindfulness

With a focus on emotions, DBT teaches mindfulness. You’re taught how to be present in your environment and how to examine your thoughts and feelings and accept them.

DBT teaches you to differentiate between ‘what’ and ‘how’ skills. Learn what you’re focusing on and how to be more mindful.


Dialectical behavior therapy is all about learning how to regulate your emotions and behaviors. One of the main principles of DBT is that you need to practice self-care. 

This means making sure that you are taking care of yourself by focusing on your own needs and feelings, not other people’s.

Self-care is an important part of recovery because it helps with:

  • Improving your physical health
  • Strengthening relationships with others
  • Building self-confidence

Where do your negative thoughts come from?

DBT seeks to help you understand why your negative thoughts come about. Understanding where these negative thoughts come from can help you develop strategies to cope with them better, so they don’t become self-destructive.

Through therapy, you’ll learn what starts that negative thought process and how to turn it around. 

Find the Root of Your Substance Abuse

DBT is found to be effective for a range of mental health conditions including substance abuse.

DBT focuses on helping patients identify the underlying causes of their problems and then finding ways in which they can address these issues effectively. 

This approach encourages patients to examine what led them into addiction treatment in the first place so that they can break their cycle of self-destruction once and for all.

Learn Your Triggers

In DBT, a trigger is any event or situation that can cause an emotional reaction in you. Triggers are most often negative thoughts or feelings, but they can also be external events and situations.

Once you’ve identified your triggers, it’s easier to develop the proper healthy coping mechanisms.

Supports Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Dialectical behavior therapy can help you learn new coping skills. These skills will give you the tools to handle stressful situations, which will make it easier to avoid substance abuse. Some examples of healthy coping mechanisms include:

  • Mindfulness practices such as yoga or meditation
  • Healthy lifestyle habits such as eating well, sleeping enough, and exercising regularly
  • Mind-body techniques such as deep breathing or self-massage
  • Cognitive behavioral strategies like positive self-talk and reframing negative thoughts into more positive ones

Improves Self-Acceptance and Self-Reflection

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is designed to help you understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors. It also helps you learn how to accept yourself for who you are, regardless of past mistakes or current challenges.

Increases Emotional Regulation Abilities

DBT helps you learn how to identify and understand your emotions, manage them healthily, improve relationships, and reduce stress.

Emotion regulation skills can teach you to:

  • Solve your problems in healthy, helpful ways
  • Feel less vulnerable
  • Overcome emotional barriers in a more positive way
  • Judging yourself less for your emotions
  • Respond to emotions rather than react to urges

Establishes Functioning Patterns of Behavior

There are a few ways that DBT helps to establish healthy patterns of behavior. First, it helps you to understand the reasons for your behavior and what triggers it. It teaches you to combine the above into a new way to go about your life.

For example, if you’re suffering from depression and anxiety, DBT may find that these emotions are triggered by certain situations or people. Once you understand what sets off these feelings, you can learn how to avoid them—or at least cope with them in more functional ways.

Secondly, to have a healthy pattern of behavior, we need healthy coping mechanisms—and DBT teaches us plenty of those! We can learn how best to respond when they arise (for instance: screaming “I hate this!” at our boss versus taking deep breaths and counting backward from ten). 

Finally, then comes developing new habits in response. Maybe instead of yelling “I hate this” when things get tough at work one day per week during lunch break (which we do), maybe now it’s time for us to try meditating instead?

 Improved Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are the ability to effectively communicate with other people. Intense emotions and unregulated ones can make it hard to relate well with others.

By combining listening skills, assertiveness, and social skills, you can learn how to change interpersonal situations instead of simply trying to survive them. 

In recovery from addiction or substance misuse, there are several benefits of improving your interpersonal skills:

  • Learning how to ask for what you want and how to get it
  • Learning how to work through conflict and challenges
  • Learning self-respect and how to hold on to your values


Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand what DBT is and how it can help your recovery. 

You can learn more about the program by contacting an addiction treatment center. Addiction is an emotional disease, so why not treat it by understand

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