Treating Mental Health Disorders Alongside Addiction

Many people who are struggling with addiction also have simultaneous underlying mental health conditions that are contributing to their habits of substance abuse. This is why therapy is often an integral part of the addiction treatment process and helps people achieve lasting recovery.

When it comes to the types of therapy used for treating addiction, the most commonly used are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

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Keep reading to find out more about DBT vs CBT and their differences, and how each can play a vital role in helping overcome struggles with both mental health and addiction!

Understanding the Differences Between CBT and DBT

Differences Between CBT and DBT

While Cognitive and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy may sound very similar to one another, they are in fact two very different methods of behavioral healthcare.

In order to decide which of these options will best fit your needs, you will first need to learn how each of these works to help resolve mental health issues as well as substance abuse.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy, consisting of back-and-forth conversations between you and your therapist. This can be a quick way of addressing very specific issues by getting to the root of them and finding ways to move past them.

For example, many people will use CBT to manage depression or anxiety. They will work with their therapist to identify their negative thoughts and behaviors and find ways to reshape these into more positive and productive thought processes.

CBT teaches you how to develop healthier coping mechanisms and learning how to process and reform negative thoughts and feelings that are caused by your mental health condition, which can lead to self-destructive behaviors.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy’s main focus is to help people balance their emotions and improve their behavior patterns. Similarly to CBT treatment methods, this form of therapy promotes the identification of problematic patterns of thinking and emotions that can be distressing.

It is also a form of talk therapy and one that came into being as a treatment for borderline personality disorder clients by Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington.

Once this has been accomplished, these individuals will then be guided through finding healthier coping skills and ways to view and accept these thoughts and increase their distress tolerance.

In this sense, DBT treatment techniques and skills differ from those practiced in CBT in the sense that they are not meant to change these negative thought patterns, but how you feel about these thoughts and self-beliefs.

During a DBT therapy session, you and your therapist will address your mental illness by practicing behavioral skills and mindsets, either in one-on-one or in group sessions. This can help build better personal and interpersonal relationships, as well.

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The Similarities Between DBT and CBT

Dialectical behavioral therapy can have many similarities to cognitive behavioral therapy, as it was originally developed as a branch of CBT. In many ways, DBT skills and teaching can be viewed as a more mindful and flexible form of CBT.

Both forms of therapy can be helpful in treating borderline personality disorder, OCD, and other forms of compulsive behaviors such as substance misuse.

Participating in both of these types of therapy will include conversing with your therapist about your thoughts and feelings, and what circumstances and life experiences may have led to the negative or self-destructive world and self-views.

Both of these therapy forms believe that people’s thoughts, behaviors, and feelings are all closely linked. That means that no matter which of these therapies you choose to seek out, both will allow you to explore your inner emotions and habits.

The Differences Between DBT and CBT

Despite the fact that DBT and CBT have many similarities, they are not the same. What works for one person may not work for another, meaning some people may respond better to DBT, while others will have a better looking following the CBT model.

Speaking with your healthcare provider or a mental health professional can help you determine which of these options will work best for you.

The Goals of DBT vs CBT

Goals of DBT

When it comes to mental health challenges, it can be extremely helpful to set recovery goals. For this, CBT follows a more goal-oriented model, as it aims to help people identify their negative thoughts and behaviors and provides them with tools to help change them.

While DBT has goals, they are not necessarily set in stone or mandatory. Rather, their main purpose is to help people find self-acceptance, emotional management, and self-regulation.

Overall, in terms of goals, DBT focuses more on finding acceptance for the emotional and social aspects of the self, while CBT focuses on improving its clients’ thoughts and behaviors.

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The Philosophies of DBT vs CBT

When it comes to the philosophies of DBT and CBT, these two forms of therapy have many differences. For starters, how they approach their clients are far from the same.

DBT, for starters, mostly focuses on how people interact, both with others and themselves. It prioritizes mindfulness and self-acceptance, as well as how to better understand and deal with one’s surroundings.

CBT, on the other hand, focuses more on logic and encourages its clients to focus on critical thinking and healthier, more self-aware ways of behaving.

Types of Sessions for DBT vs CBT

DBT and CBT also have different session types, with CBT usually lasting over a shorter period of time than a DBT session. Furthermore, CBT therapy may only last over the span of a few weeks, while DBT can take months to get through.

Another major difference between the two is that, while CBT prioritizes one-on-one sessions, DBT will often involve a prominent group therapy component.

Group therapy

While CBT can occasionally be done in a group session format, it is not considered an integral part of this process.

DBT, however, practices the philosophy that DBT skills groups and exchanges can be a valuable tool for practicing interpersonal effectiveness and communication, as well as for expressing oneself in a safe and supportive environment.

The Uses of DBT vs CBT

As discussed, CBT focuses mostly on the importance of changing problematic or harmful thinking patterns, while DBT prioritizes emotional regulation and acceptance of these intense thoughts and feelings.

Common Applications of CBT

Because of their different styles, each of these therapy types also has different uses for a mental health professional. For starters, cognitive therapy has been found to be most effective when used for treating depression and anxiety disorders, amongst several other mental health disorders, including:

Typical Uses for DBT Therapy

Meanwhile, while DBT can be used for treating anxiety and depression, it has been found to be the most effective treatment for helping people manage other mental illnesses and personality disorders such as:

DBT vs CBT for Addiction Treatment

dual diagnosis

Having co-occurring disorders, or a dual diagnosis can make it difficult for many people to overcome their addiction, as the underlying causes and contributors to their substance abuse have not been addressed.

Dual diagnosis treatment is often recommended to people with addictions of all types and severity, as they can significantly benefit from receiving various evidence-based therapies. This whole-health approach to treatment may include the following:

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Use of CBT and DBT Therapy Methods in Rehab Settings

Over the years, both CBT and DBT have been used as effective forms of addiction treatment. Seeking out a DBT therapist in particular can be extremely helpful for those struggling with substance abuse, as it can help them get to the root of the intense emotions and stress factors that are contributing to these habits.

Of course, both CBT and DBT can be used to help individuals identify the reasons behind their drug use, and how these behaviors influence their mental health. Both CBT and DBT techniques work to help individuals recover from addiction in many ways, including:

  • Building better mindfulness skills
  • Developing healthier relationships
  • Finding ways to improve interpersonal relationships
  • Better insight into thinking patterns and behaviors
  • Developing important stress management skills

Client and Therapist Work Together for Change

For DBT in particular, the client-counselor relationship built during this therapeutic process can be highly important for addiction recovery due to its focus on acceptance and validation, both of oneself and others.

Client and Therapist Work Together to show the concept of DBT vs CBT

This can help recovering individuals overcome the negative stigmatization and feelings of guilt that may limit other forms of therapy, and help them more safely practice skills and healthy behaviors, as well as understand their emotional response during the recovery process.

FAQs on CBT vs DBT

How does CBT differ from DBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Health has the goal of giving recipients better skills at identifying when their thinking becomes unproductive or even self-destructive. CBT provides tactics and skills to help redirect and reframe such thinking.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT aims to assist clients in finding acceptance of self, promoting a feeling of safety and security, and also assisting in some of the same forms of thought examination and restructuring as its CBT cousin.

Which is more effective CBT or DBT?

For chronic depressive episodes, prolonged and severe anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD, and forms of trauma therapy, studies tend to indicate CBT can be more reliably effective.

For BPD or other forms of personality disorder, cutting and self-harm activities, and intrusive thoughts or suicidal ideation that is resistant to treatment, DBT often forms the first and most effective form of approach.

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Find the Right CBT and DBT Treatment Centers Now

If you or a loved one is struggling with a dual diagnosis, finding treatment options that can properly address both of these issues can be difficult and overwhelming. Fortunately, you are not alone, and help is available.

At Find Addiction Rehabs, we understand the importance of taking a whole-health approach to your recovery from substance abuse. Our hotline is available 24/7 to help you find CBT or DBT treatment options and rehab centers that can serve your personal care needs.

So don’t wait; call now, and one of our recovery representatives can help you get started on your recovery journey, where you can overcome your addiction and begin leading a happier and healthier lifestyle!

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