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What is EMDR Therapy and How Can It Help?

March 14, 2017 - - 0 Comments

 EMDR Therapy Drug and alcohol treatment centers offer different kinds of therapeutic techniques to help individuals suffering from substance abuse disorder. One of the most recent treatment methods that is steadily gaining credibility in helping drug addicts regain sobriety is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, or what is more popularly known as EMDR therapy.

EMDR therapy was first introduced in the 1980s by Dr. Francine Shapiro, an American psychologist, initially as a form of treatment for trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, after some time, drug and alcohol treatment specialists found EMDR to be effective in addressing drug and alcohol addiction as well.

People do not always abuse drugs just for their own sake but rather they often use drugs and other substances to cover and deal with their negative emotions and psychological distress. Unfortunately, the emotional pain coupled with drug use alter how the brain works.  Treatment professionals from drug and alcohol treatment centers discover that EMDR helps the brain process negative emotions in a more helpful way.

How Does EMDR Work?

When a person is upset or feeling intense negative emotions, his brain cannot process information as it ordinarily does. During this interruption of brain process, the negative feelings become much more serious especially when one is reliving traumatic memories. Since the brain is having difficulty processing what is happening, the trauma appears to be real and occurring at the moment rather than merely reliving what transpired in the past.

Based on available studies, EMDR appears to have a direct effect on the way the brain of an individual processes information. When the eye is moved in certain ways when unpleasant memories are revived, the brain responds by dealing with the intense emotions. Further research shows that what happens in EMDR process is similar to what goes on during rapid eye movement or REM sleep. EMDR essentially helps in reprocessing the information, which is why after an EMDR session the traumatic memory no longer affects the person in a distressing way.

What are the Benefits of EMDR in the Addiction Recovery Process?

While EMDR therapy is still young compared with other traditional therapeutic techniques, many addiction specialists found the same to provide the following advantages:

  • EMDR provides immediate relief from emotional pains and distressing memories – several studies show that more than 85% of patients suffering from trauma achieved full recovery after 3 to 6 EMDR sessions only. This kind of result takes years for other types of psychotherapy.
  • Since EMDR therapy is completed after a couple of sessions because the goals are readily achieved, it is much more cost-effective compared with other addiction treatments.
  • EMDR therapy is effective in addressing painful memories while directly facing various triggering factors – facing one’s fears is much more helpful in achieving long-term relief rather than continuously using avoidance as a defense mechanism.
  • EMDR therapy helps in restoring positive outlook among patients – recovering addicts who can see things in a more positive light will no longer depend on drugs or other substances to mask what they are feeling since they will be in a position to finally use a more constructive coping mechanism.
  • EMDT therapy has been found to help recovering addicts gain a better self-awareness and insight on their addiction.

While EMDR therapy has been proven to be an effective and fast treatment among individuals suffering from substance abuse disorder, it is still important to note that its effects are still dependent on the nature of addictions, symptoms, and other critical factors. This means that a recovering addict should first discuss this treatment with his rehab specialist before insisting that the same be included in his treatment plan.

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