Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy

Yaygın Anksiyete Bozukluğu ve Diyalektik Davranışçı Terapi

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by a constant, excessive, and uncontrollable anxiety. It is associated with discomforting physical symptoms, such as muscle strain and exhaustion, concentration and sleep disorders (APA, 2013). When an untreated GAD becomes chronic, it could lead to serious inhibitions, such as the decline in the job efficiency and productivity.

For GAD, cognitive behavioral therapy is the primary treatment that is supported empirically. The objective of CBT is to provide a psychoeducation, through which the person could realize the beliefs about their concerns that lead to GAD, while managing the anxiety by using cognitive behavioral strategies. Even though CBT, in general, has shown a noteworthy effectiveness for GAD, there are significant evidences that further intervention is required for a group of individuals. It is required to take into consideration other potential treatments that could lead to recovery in the symptoms and functionality for individuals with GAD who are not responding to CBT.

Dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT) could be a potential treatment for GAD. DBT is a therapy that is effective and commonly used for complex psychiatric disorders that are difficult to treat, including mood disorders, cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions.

DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s. Even though Linehan used the first-wave behavioral therapy on this population at the beginning, she saw that the patients gave a better response to a therapeutic approach, which balanced and synthesized the strategies based on change and acceptance. Linehan made use of the dialectic philosophy in order to effectively merge these approaches, and by doing so, she aimed to cure the patient by using strategies for acceptance, regulation of emotions, and change.

What’s more, DBT is based on biosocial therapy, and it puts more emphasize on the role of emotions on unintentional behaviors, compared to other cognitive behavioral therapies. Aimed at providing strategies that are based on acceptance and change, the dialectic approach could be advantageous particularly for GAD cases with an apparent emotional dysregulation.

Malivoire, B. L. (2020). Exploring DBT skills training as a treatment avenue for generalized anxiety disorder. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. doi:10.1111/cpsp.12339