Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Substance Abusers (DBT-S) is a comprehensive psychosocial treatment for those clients who struggle to manage emotions, may be chronically suicidal and abuse substances.  DBT -S is also recommended when the individual has not responded to traditional substance abuse treatment.

For substance-dependent individuals, substance abuse is the highest order DBT target within the category of behaviors that interfere with quality of life.

 DBT’s substance-abuse–specific behavioral targets include:

Decreasing abuse of substances, including illicit drugs and legally prescribed drugs taken in a manner not prescribed.

Alleviating physical discomfort associated with abstinence and/or withdrawal.

Diminishing urges, cravings, and temptations to abuse drugs to increase rates of success.

Avoiding opportunities and cues to abuse, for example by burning bridges to persons, places, and things associated with drug abuse and by destroying the telephone numbers of drug contacts.

Getting a new telephone number, and throwing away drug paraphernalia.

Reducing behaviors conducive to drug abuse, such as momentarily giving up the goal to get off drugs and instead functioning as if the use of drugs cannot be avoided.

Increasing community reinforcement of healthy behaviors, such as fostering the development of new friends, rekindling old friendships, pursuing social/vocational activities, and seeking environments that support abstinence and punish behaviors related to drug abuse.