EMDR, also known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a powerful treatment modality often used with people who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related distress. Research indicates that trauma and addiction often go hand in hand, making EMDR a natural addition to a thorough treatment program.
Here at SLO Recovery, we believe in offering our clients the best range of evidence-based, research-backed treatment modalities to help them find lasting recovery from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Read on for why EMDR has become a vital component in treatment settings:
What is EMDR?
Extensive scientific and clinical research has determined that EMDR is an effective method to help people heal from their past traumatic experiences. It’s believed that past traumatic experiences continue to cause problems in our lives when the memory of that experience is not processed properly.
Unprocessed memories often contain all the negative emotions, thoughts, and even the physical sensations that were present at the time of the event. When these memories are triggered, so too are the negative sensations of the initial event, causing symptoms such as panic, anxiety, and a fight-or-flight response.
EMDR uses bi-lateral stimulation, which usually relies upon sounds or eye movement to stimulate the right and left sides of the brain. The intention is to change how the memory is stored in the brain and body, reducing or removing the fight-or-flight symptoms. Anyone who has suffered from past trauma can benefit from EMDR.
Is EMDR Effective?
Studies and clinical research have demonstrated that EMDR is a safe and effective method to help people heal from past trauma and PTSD. Adverse life experiences have a significant impact on our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Past traumatic events, when not fully addressed, often create issues in our lives and relationships long after the event has passed. Unprocessed experiences can invoke the range of negative emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations that were present at the time of the event. When these memories are triggered, so are the negative responses to the initial event, causing symptoms of PTSD or other mental and behavioral health issues, including addiction. EMDR seeks to address the way the body and mind store memories, in an effort to heal and move forward.
How Does EMDR Work?
Complete EMDR treatment addresses memories, current triggers, and future challenges. While a patient focuses on a memory, the practitioner incorporates bilateral (right-left) stimulation, such as eye movement and sounds. This affects how the memory is stored in the brain, and the effect is a reduction in the pain and distress of the past traumatic event.
When should you try EMDR?
EMDR is a versatile modality and is useful in treating a range of symptoms. It is especially helpful when addressing conditions like anxiety, panic, substance abuse, trauma, and eating disorders.
As with every treatment modality, it’s useful to understand a client’s treatment goals and personal struggles and then apply the treatment modalities best suited to those aims. For those suffering from high amounts of anxiety that are interfering with their personal, social, or work life, targeting those symptoms with EMDR can bring relief and forward progress.
For many who have found that traditional talk therapy has been insufficient to resolve some of their symptoms—such as ongoing panic attacks—EMDR can be a natural next step and bring new results.
Innovative addiction treatment
By providing patient-centered care and focusing on the individual needs for treatment, services, and therapeutic interventions we can best serve every individual. At SLO Recovery Center we recognize that drug addiction and alcoholism is a complex disease that requires a comprehensive and unique approach for every person. We offer an integrated care approach focusing on substance use disorders, mental health conditions, and/or co-occurring behavioral health conditions.
Licensed, experienced mental health professionals
Our Mental Health Intensive Outpatient (IOP) program is led by a team of licensed mental health professionals dedicated to the success and growth of our patients. Following an initial mental health assessment, patients will work in tandem with their treatment team, which can include psychiatrists, registered nurses, therapists, and counselors. They will regularly meet with members of their team to clarify, further evaluate, and assess their recovery goals. Our seasoned treatment team combines CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing, CPT, Exposure Therapy, and a range of other tested modalities to promote lasting healing. Upon completion of the program, the team helps patients connect with mental health support services available within their community.
If you are curious and would like more information about EMDR or any other treatment modality we offer, get in touch.