Bad experiences such as child abuse or military service can leave a traumatic mark on a person’s life. These events can leave the person unable to function normally. One hopeful therapeutic solution is EMDR. However, what is Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing exactly?
Memories of traumatic experiences cause psychological and physiological responses. Extreme cases can lead to self-destructive behaviors like addiction. This is their effort to repress traumatic memories and forget anything ever happened.
EMDR and Trauma
Natural defenses in the brain are not enough the handle the intensity of traumatic experiences. This disruption manifests as anxiety or depression. The person affected typically begins developing a negative self-image.
They look for ways to cope with symptoms and memories of the disturbing ordeal. Most often, they turn to drugs and/or alcohol. Progressing in this manner without treatment may lead to addiction.
Untreated trauma can cause symptoms of both mental illness and addiction to persist. Going to rehab for a drug addiction without treating the underlying trauma increases the likelihood of relapse. Likewise, an addiction may cause a traumatic event such as getting arrested.
Eye movement desensitization reprocessing is an interactive therapy technique that helps to relieve stress. Using this as part of rehab can help. Briefly reliving traumatic events while diverting the person’s attention during a therapy session is less emotionally stressful.
Link Between Trauma and Addiction
Addiction is never a choice, although no one specific reason explains why a person abuses drugs or alcohol. It is an illness that can result from a range of factors. A history of trauma is one of the most common links to a person suffering from the need for alcohol or drugs.
Trauma can manifest in many ways. This is especially true for the person with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some common reasons for EMDR include:
- Military combat
- Abuse, whether emotional, physical or sexual
- Living through a natural disaster
- Witnessing or being the victim of a violent crime
- Sexual abuse or domestic violence
A traumatic event might have early in life. Wanting to escape from the prison of flashbacks becomes a natural response. Drug or alcohol use, and subsequent addiction, develops because of what the person experienced. While the person thinks they escaped, the situation gets worse.
What to Expect During EMDR Therapy
Addiction-specific protocols of this form of therapy can enhance a person’s stabilization and reduce chances of relapse. Furthermore, there are eight phases of therapy sessions. The first phase involves gathering details about the person’s history. It is designed to identify specific memories and develop a treatment plan.
During phase two, the person learns several ways to cope with their stress. Deep breathing and mindfulness techniques are used. Phase three serves to identify and target specific memories.
Phases four through seven uses techniques for this form of therapy. The person may sit in a chair or lie on a flat surface. The therapist asks the person to focus on their negative memory, image or thought. The person simultaneously does different eye movements.
The therapist may ask the person to notice any thoughts or feelings they have during the exercise. Continuing this process over time may change negative feelings into positive ones. At a minimum, the person should have fewer negative emotions and outbursts.
Beacon House and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing
Beacon House, a not-for-profit provider of EMDR, commits to helping every person who comes to our facility. Moreover, we provide a comprehensive trauma therapy program to help you fully recover and achieve lasting sobriety.
For example, our facility offers:
In fact, it’s never too late to get help. Our EMDR Trauma Therapy Program is a less stressful way to confront negative experiences. Call us at 831.372.4366 and begin freeing yourself from a limited existence. Specifically, your chance for a calmer life begins today with Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing.