Lifeskills Mental Health Blog

Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Work for Anxiety?

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Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Work for Anxiety?

Treatments for anxiety are constantly being studied and developed. New clinical approaches focus on long-term ways of helping individuals with anxiety decrease their unproductive thoughts and behaviors as well as control their overwhelming emotions. One of these approaches — dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) — has elicited positive results and responses, but what is DBT? And how does it effectively combat anxiety? Read on as we dissect the many benefits of DBT.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is characterized by angst, nervousness, fear, worry, and distress and a small amount can be a normal response to stress and is beneficial in certain circumstances. But these feelings become extreme and difficult to control, they can negatively affect your day-to-day life.

If you have an anxiety disorder, you’ll likely experience feelings of panic, fear, and worry daily. It may lead you to avoid social settings or situations that trigger these fears, and symptoms can sometimes extend from childhood into adulthood. Some common anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Phobia-Related Disorders
  • Panic Disorder

What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) helps teach individuals skills and different ways to cope with and manage emotions and impulses associated with various mental health disorders, including anxiety. While based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), it was originally developed to help treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) but has become a treatment option for substance use disorder, anxiety, and depression. In addition, DBT can help treat:

Created in the 1970s by Dr. Marsha Linehan, DBT helps individuals regulate their emotions, have more successful interpersonal relationships, increase their distress tolerance, and be more mindful of their thoughts, feelings, and environment. DBT also allows patients to take steps to change their lives and avoid unproductive behaviors. To learn more about how DBT can help relieve your anxiety symptoms, contact the compassionate Lifeskills South Florida admissions team today.

The Different DBT Modules

Because DBT incorporates many of the most common evidence-based coping skills into one treatment plan, clients experiencing a wide range of anxiety symptoms can be effectively treated. It’s also cognitive-based, support-oriented, and collaborative, meaning that DBT helps individuals address the major sources of stress that cause anxiety. DBT also focuses on the following four modules that teach clients how to incorporate DBT skills into their everyday lives.


By improving mindfulness skills, DBT allows clients to become more self-aware and reasonable in situations that impact the environment around them, helping clients understand the nuances of their reality to filter through negative thoughts and stimuli.

Emotional Regulation

DBT also helps pare down extreme emotional responses by allowing patients to understand their emotional triggers and identify better stress management methods.

Distress Tolerance

Some situations are unavoidable and, in these cases, DBT helps clients practice coping methods that prevent emotional flare-ups and negative thoughts that cause anxiety.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

In this module, participants are taught how to deal with other human beings in everyday social interactions. If you can’t say no or feel uncomfortable dealing with social obligations, this module helps you to recognize the importance of healthy and respectful responses and how to implement them.

Find Clinically Excellent, Compassionate Treatment for Anxiety Disorders at Lifeskills South Florida

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), anxiety disorders affect about 40 million adults each year. If you’re struggling with anxiety, Lifeskills South Florida is here for you. Our anxiety treatment programs, which incorporate DBT, are designed based on each client’s needs, ensuring they get the care needed for long-term support and healing. Contact Lifeskills South Florida today if you or someone you know is struggling to overcome anxiety.


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If you’re ready to start your recovery, we’re here to help.

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