EMDR in Addiction Treatment

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a relatively new therapeutic treatment that benefits victims of recent or lifelong trauma.

The technique was discovered by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987. As Dr. Shapiro was walking and attempting to sort through her disturbing thoughts and feelings, she noticed that the negative thoughts diminished and she felt better when she moved her eyes back and forth to scan the landscape.

EMDR is effective for all types of trauma

Throughout the intervening years, EMDR has gradually been perfected and fine-tuned. Extensive research indicates that the treatment is effective for all types of trauma. EMDR has been approved by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the American Psychiatric Association and the U.S. Department of Defense, among others.

Research indicates a connection between trauma and addiction, which often results when people use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and avoid painful, difficult memories. It has been estimated that up to 60 percent of recovering addicts have experienced serious trauma at some point in their lives.

EMDR in Addics Treatment

Victims of trauma often attempt to repress the bad thoughts and memories, which rarely works. Unresolved trauma can be overwhelming, negatively affecting every part of a person’s life. Symptoms of trauma include depression, shame, stress, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, a sense of detachment, poor concentration and difficulty sleeping.

Trauma can result from events such as military combat, manmade or natural disasters, political violence and terrorism, sexual abuse, childhood abuse, life-threatening illness, serious automobile accidents or physical or sexual assaults such as rape, mugging or robbery.

Traumatic reactions can also occur after unexpectedly seeing a dead body or after witnessing events such as a violent assault, disaster, war, accident. Even hearing about traumatic events from a friend or loved one can trigger painful memories and symptoms.

Although EMDR may seem like a simple concept, it is actually a complicated therapeutic process that helps clients to detach from the painful memories. As a result, unresolved memories become learning experiences in which patients can examine traumatic memories in a less painful, more empowering way. Sessions tend to be emotionally exhausting as sadness, grief, anxiety and fear are released.

EMDR is a powerful tool that can break the cycle of addiction, promote recovery and prevent relapse. However, it is not a replacement for other forms of therapy. Rather, it is used in conjunction with counseling and other treatment modalities. Most patients experience results fairly quickly.

Contact us if traumatic memories and addiction are interfering with your ability to life a full, happy life, or if you would like to know more about the benefits of EMDR. We are here to help you address your issues in a caring, highly professional manner.

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