Nearly 20% of all U.S. adults struggle with some form of mental health disorder.

As your options for rehab treatment open in front of you, you start seeing certain terms over and over again. Some of these terms include types of behavioral therapies. One of the most commonly practiced behavioral therapies for addiction recovery is DBT. DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, provides help and healing for people starting a new life after substance abuse.

What Are Coping Mechanisms?

Coping mechanisms are skills and techniques that a person uses to deal with distressing situations. These techniques help them become more mindful and find other strategies for dealing with stress that don’t rely on addictive substances.


Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT works to help you identify your negative thinking patterns that lead to negative behaviors. Then, it enables you to change those to positive ways of thinking and behaving.

DBT takes things a step further beyond its CBT roots. It treats your self-destructive behaviors like addiction, helping you better cope in your life. DBT also helps you change your unhealthy ways, so you stop these bad behaviors.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy takes its name from the fusion of two opposites in therapy. These two opposites are acceptance and change. You learn to accept your behaviors and ways, but still making the right choices to bring real, healthy change.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy also focuses on your therapist accepting your behaviors while helping you find healthy change. The therapist guides you through DBT’s four parts. In addiction rehab, for example, you gain access to some or all of these parts, including:

  • Individual DBT counseling sessions
  • Group skills training or education
  • Phone coaching between sessions
  • Consultation between your counselors to discuss your needs, also to meet those

You often receive homework from your therapist so you can practice new skills. Following through on these tasks help you reach your treatment goals. So ensure you focus as you should, for the best possible results from your Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Program. One such assignment includes filling out a daily diary that tracks your emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and skills.


According to the American Psychiatric Association, DBT is effective in treating some disorders like addiction. You also can expect certain improvements in your life, if you dedicate yourself to your treatment. These improvements include fewer struggles with suicidal thoughts or behaviors, less anger, greater likelihood of completing treatment and improved social skills.

Research currently focuses on measuring DBT’s value for treatment of mood disorders, binge eating, ADHD and PTSD.

Your Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Program helps you tolerate times of distress. You also learn to feel anger or discomfort without lashing out at others or reacting impulsively. At the same time, you stop injuring yourself or abusing substances to “deal” with life.

In addition to these benefits, you also get to know your emotions, being more mindful in how you use them. Finally, you learn how to be more aware of others and yourself in the moment, also making your way through conflict while being assertive in interactions.

In the first stage of four DBT stages, you gain help for your most risky behaviors, such as self-injury or substance abuse. In stage two, you start living for a better quality of life through healthier behaviors and emotions. The third stage focuses on building your self-esteem and improving relationships with others. The last stage promotes happiness and greater connections with others in your life.

Men are less likely than women to pursue help for a mental health disorder.

Most Common Mental Health Disorders

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Core Modules of DBT

1 Mindfulness Skills

2 Coping Mechanisms and Distress Tolerance

3 Emotion Regulation

4 Interpersonal Skills


At Gateway Foundation Smyrna in Smyrna, Delaware, DBT is one of the evidence-based behavioral therapies you receive to improve your daily life. Programs and treatments of Gateway Foundation Smyrna include:

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is one tool in a full arsenal of therapies and other methods for treating your addiction at Gateway Foundation Smyrna. To learn more about available programs, call Gateway Foundation Smyrna now at 302.278.6805.

You don’t have to fight against addiction and mental health disorders alone. Find help and support from the professionals at Gateway Foundation Smyrna.