EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a psychotherapy treatment used in the alleviation of distress linked to traumatic experiences. The aim of using EMDR treatment is to reformulate negative views and reduce physiological stimulation.
EMDR treatments involve 8 phases that focus on a patient’s present, past, and future concerning their traumatic experiences. Although it’s not a conventional kind of treatment for addiction, it is gaining popularity and has proven beneficial.
How EMDR Works?
Evidence shows that EMDR works, but no one knows precisely how it influences the brain. The eye movements used in the treatment technique somehow help patients suppress the feelings linked with emotionally charged traumatic memories. Most individuals who suffer from addiction have gone through traumatic experiences and sometimes turn to addiction to deal with the trauma. This is one of the reasons why EMDR has been very useful in treating individuals struggling with addiction.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the common causes of addiction, and that is why more treatment centers are exploring EMDR as a treatment option for co-occurring conditions. Health practitioners hope that by using EMDR, they will help people struggling with addiction recovery and help them deal with the root cause of the addiction, thus reducing the possibility of relapses.
Medicine is not involved in EMDR therapy. The treatment purely employs visual stimulation. This is a great advantage to individuals who react negatively to medication or those at risk of abusing drugs during detox. Although experts have designed specialized equipment used during EMDR therapy over time, most therapists prefer using a pen. There is no evidence suggesting that using special equipment is more beneficial, so it all boils down to preference.
While EMDR therapy seems simple, it should never be tried at home by unqualified individuals. Treatment also includes talk therapy, where a therapist talks with a patient to help them unravel their past and any lingering traumatic experiences. A trained therapist can only conduct this activity. Delving into a traumatic history can be an excruciating process, and it can trigger erratic behavior and intense feelings in a patient. When EMDR treatment is administered by individuals who are not well trained and qualified, the results could worsen addiction or relapse.
Seeking help from the right medical experts is vital if you hope to reap the benefits of EMDR. The good news is that EMDR is becoming more popular, and we now have many trained mental health professionals who can administer the treatment in various facilities.
Can EMDR Treat Addiction?
As earlier established, a good number of people suffering from addiction have gone through past trauma. The habit is a coping mechanism to block the traumatic memories to live a somewhat normal life.
EMDR treatment is built on the premise that if one can treat the trauma that led to addiction, the patient is likely to recover from addiction. The possibility of a relapse is also significantly lowered. There are 8 phases of treatment in EMDR.
- Phase one deals with identifying the emotional distress that results in addiction.
- Phase two involves the use of imagery and stress alleviating techniques.
- Phases three to six involve the patient identifying negative beliefs that they’ve held on due to the traumatic experiences. The patient is also taken through vivid visuals and linked emotions.
- In phases seven to eight, the patient is taught how to seek and make use of calming techniques to reformulate their beliefs and ultimately realize behavior change.
Because therapists use EMDR on patients who have had past traumatic encounters, you might wonder if the technique would be helpful in individuals struggling with addiction but devoid of traumatic experiences. Studies have shown that all victims of addiction have experienced trauma either before or in the cause of addiction. Perhaps this is why EMDR has proven a success in treating addiction.
Moreover, treating addiction through EMDR improves the chances of a full recovery while minimizing the possibility of a relapse. This would explain why EMDR has become a front-line therapy amongst many patients struggling with addiction today.
Treating Addiction Memory with EMDR
Addiction memory refers to a general loss of memory or control of the effects of a specific drug or substance. This is the memory that leads one to continue taking the drugs irrespective of the adverse effects that come from it.
EMDR helps in treating the addiction memory by suppressing the feelings associated with the high. People in addiction are constantly chasing a high so if EMDR takes away the emotions linked to the tall, being under the influence of drugs and other substances loses its appeal.
EMDR also helps alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression, especially during the detoxification phase in recovery.
Is EMDR Affordable?
EMDR is a relatively new kind of treatment, but it is affordable. The cost of treatment varies from one facility to the next. Government-owned facilities that offer this form of therapy usually charge less for the treatment. Talk to your doctor about the various options and cost implications to advice on the best facility to seek treatment from based on your budget.
On average, a one-hour session costs between $100 and $250, depending on the therapist, treatment center, and location. Because an entire course of treatment requires you to go through multiple sessions, at the end of the treatment, you will have spent between $800 to $2,000.
Where can I find EMDR Treatment?
If you or your loved one suffers from an addiction and are considering exploring EMDR, you can be confident that it is safe and works. We now have many treatment centers that offer EMDR. Talk to your dedicated mental health provider to determine the best course of action in treating addiction. There are communities online that can help you get a glimpse of what EMDR treatment involves based on the experiences they share. Most healthcare facilities have therapists round the clock who are ready and willing to answer all your questions about EMDR treatment.
Best of luck as you consider EMDR treatment for you or a loved one.