When you find yourself relying on drugs or alcohol to get through your day despite negative consequences such as issues with work, school, relationships, and even trouble with the law, it is time to seek help. Because many people who abuse drugs or alcohol do so to gain some control over their emotions, enhance their moods, and cope with stressors, DBT can be extremely effective. DBT aims to help you deal with the underlying issues leading to substance abuse within a non-judgmental framework.
What is Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse can be defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes. The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise, while over-the-counter medications are purchased with the specific purpose of use other than that which is indicated, or in a manner or in quantities other than directed. Sadly, the broad range of substance abuse today is complicated as we not only deal with the abuse of prescription medications and over the counter drugs, but also other substances such as anabolic steroids, inhalants, and solvents. This is separate and apart from those drugs bought illegally. Substance abuse causes physical and mental harm and most frighteningly can lead to death.
Signs of Alcohol or Chemical Dependency:
- Increased tolerance for drugs or alcohol
- Failure to fulfill major life obligations, dropping out of school, losing your job
- Difficulties with relationships and increased conflict
- An inability to control or reduce the amount of drugs or alcohol you are using
- Sacrificing activities you enjoy to spend time using
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, sweating, depression, insomnia, tremors, and increased heart rate
- Blood shot eyes, constricted or dilated pupils
- Anger and irritability
- Impulsivity, making reckless decisions such as stealing, driving under the influence
How can DBT help?
The skills learned through DBT can help someone struggling with substance abuse to learn healthy and effective emotion regulation skills so that they no longer feel the need to turn to dangerous substances to cope.
- Become more aware of your urges to drink or use and learn to tolerate or reduce them
- Increase motivation to stop abusing alcohol or drugs
- Manage aversive emotions such as depression, anxiety, and anger without alcohol or drugs