Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Panic and Anxiety
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of talk therapy that assists individuals in understanding and managing their feelings. It has been used to treat various mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and anxiety.
Evidence-based treatment for anxiety that has been demonstrated to be successful at helping those suffering from panic disorder, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, this program helps individuals regulate emotions and build skills to cope more effectively with stress and anxiety.
Established by Marsha Linehan in the 1970s, DBT was originally developed to aid adults suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD). She found that previous treatments for BPD focused solely on altering one’s thoughts and behaviors; yet patients often felt judged or misunderstood for seeking help. Through her research, Linehan discovered that patients often felt judged and misunderstood.
Thus, she created dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Instead of simply acknowledging someone’s pain and helping them alter their thoughts, DBT focused on teaching skills that could alter how they responded to anxiety.
DBT’s primary purpose is to teach clients how to manage their negative thoughts and behaviors by acknowledging that these beliefs are based on false assumptions about the world. These can be the result of trauma or other life experiences, or an aspect of their underlying personality structure contributing to anxiety issues.
DBT consists of several elements, with the primary objective being to improve emotional regulation and mindfulness. These objectives can be reached through various techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or exposure therapy.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for panic attacks combines cognitive therapy and exposure therapy, targeting the distorted thinking patterns that cause anxiety as well as desensitizing people to their fears associated with their phobias or panic disorder. It works by identifying and changing these distorted thought patterns while exposing people to feared situations in order to reduce or eliminate those fears associated with those phobias or panic disorder.
CBT has been proven to be an effective anxiety treatment, but DBT provides more specific skills for dealing with emotional distress and is more successful at improving emotion regulation and mindfulness than other types of therapy.
DBT is a structured form of psychotherapy that typically takes place in individual or group sessions. It often includes homework, such as journal cards that document one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors in certain circumstances.
Studies have also demonstrated DBT to be more effective at treating PTSD than other therapies. According to one 2020 study, women suffering from childhood abuse-related PTSD experienced improvement in their symptoms after 15 months of treatment with both DBT and cognitive processing therapy (CPT).
Dialectical behavior therapy for panic and anxiety disorders seeks to teach clients how to regulate their emotions, increase distress tolerance, be more aware of their feelings and thoughts, and avoid maladaptive or counterproductive behaviors. These skills are crucial in the long-term recovery from anxiety.