Treating Addiction With Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

Treating Addiction With Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Recovery isn’t just about detoxing from a particular substance and moving on without an active change in ideas and attitudes. Meaningful recovery stems from working through the root issues that accompany physical, mental, and spiritual anguish. That’s where eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy comes in.

This unique form of treatment helps those struggling with past traumatic experiences re-envision their past experiences with positive emotions. Learn more about EMDR therapy, how it works, and why you may want to consider it for yourself or a loved one.

What Is EMDR Therapy?

With bilateral stimulation, such as eye movement, EMDR therapy allows patients to access past experiences that may have negatively affected their present mental health. EMDR therapy was first created to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to its ability to reframe trauma’s adverse effects into more positive ones.

The bilateral stimulation of eye movement attempts to mimic the eye movement of REM sleep. During this time, while you’re asleep, subconscious manifestations are made, such as symbolic dreams. EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation and aims to reduce the vividness of trauma or negative memories while eradicating any unwanted feelings that coincide with them.

Due to this result, EMDR therapy remains a beneficial treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. However, this treatment is also valuable for other mental and physical disorders, such as addiction, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, chronic back pain, and more.

This treatment is perfect for those who struggle to detail their trauma or past, as many would want to avoid describing memories that harm their mental health. EMDR asks the client to envision this memory and replace the negative statements and feelings surrounding it with a more positive mindset.

Effectively Solving the Root Issue

It’s widely understood that substance abuse rehabilitation is more effective when paired with treatment instead of detoxification alone. When you target the root issue of addiction, you can better understand how to treat it. Our past experiences heavily affect our present and future. EMDR therapy lets patients heal from the past to recover in the present and future.

According to the EMDR Institute, “After only three 90-minute sessions, 84% to 90% of single-trauma patients no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder.” Additionally, the EMDR Institute and the HMO Kaiser Permanente discovered that after only six 50-minute sessions, 100% of single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims were no longer diagnosed with PTSD.

The American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense have all acknowledged EMDR therapy as an effective type of treatment for trauma and other unsettling situations as a result of extensive research. The speed at which EMDR therapy can be successfully completed depends on the number of experiences or memories needed to be targeted, which your therapist will determine in the beginning phases of this treatment.

The Early Phases of EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy consists of eight phases throughout a number of sessions depending on the client’s needs. While EMDR treatment centers primarily on past trauma or negative experiences, present issues or events can be included as well. In phase one, the therapist works with the patient to understand their history and which memories may be affecting their addiction, which can consist of childhood trauma, distressing memories, or present crises.

Meanwhile, phase two focuses on providing a variety of techniques to deal with emotional pain. The therapist may teach the client various visualization and stress reduction methods to utilize daily outside therapy. The objective of EMDR treatment is to generate quick and effective change while keeping the patient stable emotionally.

For phases three to six, the therapist incorporates bilateral stimulation, such as directed eye movement, sounds, or taps. First, the patient is guided to re-envision their target memory or trauma and imagine the correlating negative emotional and physical feelings. Then the bilateral stimulation will begin while the therapist guides the patient to identify a positive statement to reframe the memory. This process is repeated until positive ones replace unwanted feelings.

Concluding EMDR Therapy

In the final two phases of EMDR, the therapy focuses on bringing closure to the patient. In phase seven, the therapist will request that the patient writes in a journal throughout the week to log any conflicts or feelings that need to be discussed. This phase will also reinforce the necessary coping skills and calming techniques that were taught earlier in the treatment.

The final phase, phase eight, will be a review of what has been accomplished by the patient. The therapist will discuss all the treated experiences and if they are healed or need more attention. Then, the patient will practice the skills they’ve learned in EMDR treatment to ensure they can positively confront any conflicts and triggers in the future.

Addiction requires both detox and therapeutic treatments to ensure lifelong sobriety. At Avalon Malibu, we offer EMDR therapy for those searching for healing from the past and beginning their journey to recovery. Our first-class staff includes mental health professionals and trained therapists who’ll help you overcome your addiction. We offer a picturesque facility in Malibu, which is perfect for those needing tranquility. Whether you choose our residential treatment or intensive outpatient program, we’ll be with you every step of the way. In addition to EMDR therapy, we offer multiple therapeutic modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, art therapy, and more. Call our compassionate staff at (844) 857-5992 to learn more about addiction treatment and EMDR therapy.

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