EMDR In Recovery

by AdamS on July 16, 2012

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and it is now being used to help people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. In most cases, addiction to drugs or alcohol is brought on as a coping mechanism against deep seeded emotional pain. Proponents of EMDR, which utilizes a series of left-to-right, right-to-left eye movements so as to process memories stored in the brain, believe that weeks of once a week treatment can help individuals understand and recognize how certain memories they have trigger their desires to drink or use drugs. This has been known to help people with crack addiction and in benzodiazepine detox. Patients are able to clearly see what part of their brains cause them to use and, subsequently, they take those specific triggers to addiction counselors or psychologists to target those issues.

EMDR Process

EMDR is not a new, scientific phenomenon. In fact, the procedure has been used since 1987 to help individuals address traumatic or distressing memories. However, it is only recently that addiction specialists have been able to correlate the procedure with recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. A course of EMDR treatment can last for a few weeks or several years. In it, patients go through eight different phases which include identifying significant life events, which helps them to process painful memories and transform them into learning experiences. Research has already shown that EMDR treatment can have significant benefits for people who are recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Not only does EMDR treatment allow patients to target devastating memories, but it allows them to dramatically reduce the future impact these memories have over their decision making skills.

Understanding Emotions

It is understandable that many people would think that a simple series of eye movements is not the most effective way to cure an addiction to drugs or alcohol. In fact, alone, it is not. However, it has been proven, over and over, that patients who underwent EMDR sessions, in conjunction with their other addiction treatment programs, were extremely successful in mitigating the effect of traumatic memories to have control over their tendencies to drink or use drugs. Thankfully, many medical practitioners and counselors are coming forward with the news that not only does EMDR work, but it works an astonishing amount of the time. Opponents of EMDR claim that such a simple exercise cannot possibly help to cure an individuals addictive personality. In reality, EMDR sessions can be both physically and emotionally draining. Says one researcher, “The experience naturally loses its charge after a while, but the sessions are emotionally draining. Not only do they deal with how the trauma is stored in your body but also involves the release of sadness and other emotions associated with those experiences.”

Many in the recovery community are opening their eyes to the fact that EMDR can be an incredibly useful form of therapy for people who are dealing with a crack addiction. At the very least, it works much better than having no treatment for traumatic memories at all. It has shown to be very helpful for those that wish to undergo benzodiazepine detox. It is important for everyone in recovery to find a method of counseling that works for them, however, they should not discount EMDR due to its simplicity. If you know someone who is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, have them get help at a reputable addiction treatment center as soon as possible.

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