EMDR for PTSD has served as one of the most effective forms of therapeutic intervention for individuals grappling with the lasting effects of trauma. Today, approximately 70% of the United States population (223.4 million people) have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives. While not everyone who goes through trauma ends up developing PTSD, those who do are often left with the emotional repercussions of their trauma, prompting a need for effective therapeutic care. EMDR has enabled individuals with PTSD the ability to reprocess their trauma all while developing skills that can help keep symptoms of this particular disorder under control.
What is PTSD?
Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a type of anxiety disorder that develops in response to experiencing one or more traumatic events. Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD, but many do. PTSD is most notably discussed in conversations regarding war veterans, as many women and men of the armed forces return home from combat with PTSD. In fact, roughly 11-20 out of every 100 veterans develop PTSD as a result of their combat exposure. But, that does not mean that other people cannot get PTSD.
PTSD is triggered by one or more traumatic events. It is important to remember that not everyone views all experiences the same, meaning that an event that causes PTSD in one person might not cause it in another. However, there are a handful of common causes of PTSD and can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Sexual abuse, assault, and rape
- Physical abuse, including domestic and childhood violence
- Witnessing a traumatic event
- Natural disasters (i.e. tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes)
- Sudden loss of a loved one
- Serious health problems, including life-threatening ones
- Major accidents (i.e. motorcycle crash, car crash)
Lately, Americans have faced a handful of traumatic experiences that have not been as widely discussed as those above. For example, the African-American community, who have faced trauma related to racism for hundreds of years, witnessed one of the most traumatic events in Black history via George Floyd’s murder. The entire country experienced (and continues to experience) severe changes in daily lifestyle as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And political trauma now has a seat at the table, as more people than ever before are torn apart over politics and all that goes into it.
Someone who develops PTSD as a result of these or other traumatic events can experience many distressing symptoms, including the following:
- Excessive worry
- Problems sleeping
- Night terrors
- Intrusive thoughts
Thankfully, despite whatever traumatic events are occurring, PTSD is a treatable condition. These and other symptoms can be managed so that individuals can regain control of their lives. One of the most revered ways to treat this specific anxiety disorder is through EMDR therapy.
What is EMDR?
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR, is an evidence-based therapy that can help to reduce the distressing symptoms associated with PTSD. EMDR for PTSD has proven to be up to 80% effective for participants when it comes to symptom reduction.
There are eight different phases of EMDR therapy, all of which are designed to help treat individuals with PTSD. According to the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA), these eight phases include the following:
- History and treatment planning
- Body scan
During an EMDR for PTSD session, therapists will hold an object for the client to focus on. As they are following the object’s movement, the therapists will have them recall the traumatic event(s) and talk through them. Studies have yet to determine exactly how this helps heal PTSD, but it is believed to be a result of rewiring the brain with this type of movement. This allows clients to reprocess the traumatic event when they are not in survival mode or being actively traumatized.
What are the Benefits of EMDR for PTSD?
EMDR for PTSD has proven to be extremely beneficial for those with PTSD. Not only is this type of therapy non-invasive and can be conducted via traditional therapy sessions, but it is also effective at reducing symptoms. Therefore, those who obtain EMDR for PTSD can experience a reduction in symptoms such as flashbacks, night terrors, and hypervigilance. Additional benefits include the following:
- Clients can reprocess trauma in a safe space, allowing for the brain to rewire itself when it comes to memories of the traumatic event
- EMDR for PTSD can help clients unearth hidden feelings or emotional responses to their trauma, allowing for more thorough healing
- EMDR can also help treat other conditions, such as other anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, and even ADHD
EMDR for PTSD can serve as a tool to help untangle the mess that this particular anxiety disorder can cause. When applied by a trained therapist, clients can gain these benefits and more.
EMDR for PTSD Treatment in South Florida
If you are experiencing the effects of trauma, know that you do not need to go at it alone. Our team at Neuroscience Institute in South Florida will work with you to help reduce your symptoms, allowing for a better quality of life.