DBT: Helping Veterans Reclaim a Life Worth Living

Wars have been fought for centuries but understanding the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a relatively new development. For many veterans, adjusting to civilian life can be a challenge. For veterans returning home with symptoms of PTSD, the battle is not over and adjusting to civilian life can be even more difficult.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can bring new hope to veterans who struggle with symptoms of PTSD. While DBT was initially created to treat severe and persistent symptoms of emotion dysregulation, it has since been proven effective in treating a variety of other mental health conditions including PTSD.

Many veterans struggle with intense emotions such as anger and guilt in response to their experiences in the military. Some veterans blame themselves for the trauma they endured or the actions they had to take. DBT provides a non-judgmental and validating environment, allowing veterans to come to terms with their emotions and their experiences.

DBT teaches four sets of skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. Many of the skills focus on acceptance and change, thus helping veterans learn ways to accept and tolerate difficult emotions. The practice of mindfulness teaches ways to stay present and how to cultivate a sense of self-compassion.

Research on the effectiveness of DBT as a treatment for trauma has shown:

  • A reduction in intrusive symptoms such as recurrent memories, flashbacks and other physiological symptoms
  • A reduction of avoidance behaviors
  • A decrease in negative mood and thinking
  • A decrease in arousal behaviors and problems with sleep

DBT can help Veterans reclaim “a life worth living” and alleviate the burden of their traumatic experiences. If you or someone you know struggles with symptoms of PTSD, consider DBT.

To learn more about DBT and how it works, visit our Dialectical Behavior Therapy page or call 866.852.4001.

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