Guardian IOP Addiction Treatment
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

The increasing need for minimally-invasive and non-medication therapies for persons suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression and insomnia has given rise to some exciting new developments. While not as widely used as medications, therapies like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are growing in popularity and have been proven in case studies to be effective.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

What Is EMDR?

EMDR might seem like something out of a science fiction movie, but it is a real, effective therapy that has helped thousands of people. It is considered an integrative psychotherapy approach and has been thoroughly researched. It is safe and non-invasive.

The process begins with a therapist gathering a thorough history of the client. Although it is important to get as much information as possible, it is not necessary for the client to go into great detail about the events that may have brought them to therapy. The first few appointments are a preparation phase designed to build trust between the therapist and client and to teach the client tools that will help him throughout the therapeutic process.

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Once the EMDR therapy session has begun, the remaining phases include: assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure and reevaluation. These processes help identify the memories, feelings and thought patterns that are causing distress, and reduces or eliminates the negative thoughts and physical responses to those feelings and memories. This takes place over a period of time. EMDR therapy is not a quick fix, but it works.

How Can EMDR Therapy Help Addiction?

Using drugs and alcohol is sometimes a means to numb, suppress and cope with painful memories, experiences and traumas. Many addicts self-medicate symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. Although using may appear to bring temporary relief in the short-term, in the long-term the drugs and alcohol exacerbate symptoms of mental illness and often lead to more trauma.

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Relapse rates after addiction treatment are high; part of this is due to unresolved pain, trauma, depression, and anxiety. Even if a person successfully completes treatment and has a strong desire to remain sober, relapse can occur when unresolved issues arise and the addict lacks the support or tools to deal with them. EMDR therapy helps by addressing the underlying causes of addiction, and the symptoms and conditions that frequently lead to relapse.

While medication is useful in dealing with these issues, addicts are likely to abuse prescription drugs, starting the cycle of addiction all over again. Holistic treatments like EMDR therapy are effective for people who are in treatment because they do not rely on prescription medication to address the causes and symptoms of addiction.

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