Is CBT or DBT Better For Addiction

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy are two effective and common treatment approaches for individuals who are struggling with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. 

While each has a slightly different approach, both are evidence-based therapies that are known for reducing the risk of relapse and decreasing the impact of triggers for drug or alcohol use.

In this article, you’ll learn the differences between the two and the benefits of each. 

What is CBT?

The purpose of CBT is to change negative thought patterns or cognitive distortions that result in destructive behaviors. In one-on-one therapy sessions with a licensed psychologist or mental health professional, clients learn specific strategies for overcoming their thought patterns, understand and explore past trauma, and shift their personal narratives to ones that better serve them.

CBT is often most effective when combined with additional therapies and treatments. 

What Can CBT Address?

CBT can help to manage and treat:

  • Drug and alcohol addictions
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Personality or mood disorders
  • Phobias
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Eating disorders
  • OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

And many others

What is DBT?

The main purpose of DBT is to create healthy ways to control intense emotions, deal with stress, and reduce conflict. While this form of psychotherapy was originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder, it’s now used for addressing a variety of mental health conditions and drug and alcohol addictions. 

A common element of DBT is skills training, where clients are taught techniques they can incorporate into their daily lives to help them regulate emotions. 

DBT is also most effective when combined with additional therapies and treatments.

Similarities Between CBT and DBT

Long term benzodiazepine use can lead to:

  • Physical dependence and addiction
  • Increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Cognitive decline
  • Increased risk of anxiety
  • Increased risk of alcohol-related brain damage

Difference Between CBT and DBT

The primary difference between CBT and DBT is that CBT places an emphasis on talk therapy, processing emotions, and having an awareness of thought patterns. DBT places an emphasis on skills training and teaching clients specific techniques to regulate emotions to change their behaviors. 

Increased Risk of Anxiety Disorders

Benzodiazepine users who continue to take benzos for an extended period of time are at risk of their brain no longer producing GABA. The result is individuals who feel extremely anxious, have panic attacks, develop panic disorders, experience paranoia, have mood swings, an elevated heart rate, difficulty sleeping, and even hallucinations.

Do I Have To Choose Between CBT and DBT?

Since both CBT and DBT are highly effective at treating substance use disorders and mental health conditions, it’s possible to try both during your addiction recovery or in life – this might look like starting with one and then switching to the other at some point down the road.

Your addiction specialist at Malibu Detox will help determine which therapy is best for you based on your mental health history, addiction, and other factors. Whether you participate in CBT or DBT is primarily based on which one works the best for you and which method you enjoy the most. 

Additional Addiction Therapy and Treatment Options

In addition to CBT and DBT, there are several other therapies and treatments that we utilize at Malibu Detox to further enhance the effectiveness of these treatments. They include:

Each of the above substance abuse therapies is customized based on each client’s individual needs. 

Start Addiction Treatment Today at Malibu Detox

At Malibu Detox, our substance abuse treatments serve as a catalyst to help you overcome your addiction and reach the long-term sobriety you need. We accept most major and private insurance plans and work with you to minimize out-of-pocket expenses. 

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