Does EMDR Work for Anxiety?

For those suffering from anxiety and anxiety disorder, it can be difficult to find effective and lasting treatment. Furthermore, you may not know where to begin looking for treatment options in the first place. Fortunately, the Neuroscience Research Institute is here to help. One of our most advanced treatment programs is known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy or EMDR. But does EMDR work for anxiety?

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of worry, nervousness, and unease.  It can be triggered by many things, including stressful situations, changes in routine, and witnessing something traumatic. Anxiety is a normal part of life. Unfortunately however, anxiety can become overwhelming, even debilitating for some people. For some individuals with anxiety disorders, feelings of anxiousness or uneasiness will pass on their own. For others, however, anxiety can feel like a constant state of being: a feeling of tension that never goes away. 

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety is a very common mental health condition, affecting almost everyone at some point during their lives. It can have many different causes, from a traumatic event to the stress of everyday life. Anxiety is not just one symptom, it is a collection of symptoms. 

Common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Feeling tense, on edge, or “nervous” for no reason
  • Having a sense of impending danger or panic
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly 
  • Sweating
  • Having trouble concentrating 
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Irritability

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental health disorder that causes chronic, excessive and uncontrollable tension or worry. These are also often accompanied by physical symptoms. People with GAD tend to have a lot of stress in their lives, but they do not worry about the things that other people would consider stressful. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), they instead worry about things that are out of their control or unlikely to happen.

An individual with GAD will often experience symptoms on a daily basis. These symptoms may include:

  • Excessive worrying about everyday things
  • Fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Muscle tension headaches

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is a mental health condition that causes sudden, intense feelings of terror and fear. Individuals with panic disorder have recurring panic attacks: sudden periods of intense fear or discomfort that come on suddenly, usually lasting several minutes. 

Some people who have a panic disorder experience symptoms so severe that it affects their daily lives. On the other hand, some people experience only mild symptoms once in a while. The following are some signs and symptoms of panic disorder: 

  • Heart pounding (palpitations)
  • Sweating 
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded or faint

How Does EMDR Therapy Help Anxiety?

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people with anxiety disorders by processing the emotions and experiences that are directly related to their anxiety. It is based on the idea that traumatic memories can be processed by the brain, and can then be reintegrated into the individual’s memory. But does EMDR work for anxiety? 

The goal of EMDR therapy is to treat trauma and anxiety disorders by processing the traumatic memories through eye movements and other bilateral stimulation. This type of therapy has proven effective at treating a wide range of issues including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, panic disorder, depression, and anxiety. The treatment involves a process by which you go through a series of steps while focusing on traumatic memories and their associated emotions. The goal is to change the way you think about your memories so that they no longer cause you distress. 

What Types of Anxiety Can EMDR Therapy Help?

Now that we have answered the question, “Does EMDR work for anxiety?” we can dive deeper into exactly what types of anxiety EMDR best treats. EMDR is a psychotherapy that can help people who have had distressing events in their lives. Moreover, this therapy helps people across those events so they no longer cause distress. Furthermore, EMDR can help with both cognitive and physical symptoms of anxiety. 

EMDR has been used to treat many different types of anxiety disorders, including: 

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Panic Disorder 
  • Phobias
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What Can You Expect From EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy is a psychotherapy that has been found to be effective in treating anxiety disorders. It is based on the theory that negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors can become stuck in the brain. According to this theory, these negative memories get stuck in the brain because they are not fully processed. However, with EMDR therapy, you will use your eyes to help process these negative memories so that they can be released from your mind.

EMDR involves eight phases of treatment that help you focus on the past, the present, and the future. Each phase helps you work through emotional distress and trauma, then equip you with the skills to cope with current and future stress.

The phases are as followed: 

  • First Phase: History and Treatment Planning
  • Second Phase: Preparing the client
  • Third through Sixth Phase: Assessment, Desensitization, Installation, and Body Scan
  • Seventh Phase: Closure
  • Eighth Phase: Reevaluation

Find Treatment for Anxiety in South Florida Today

Does EMDR work for anxiety? Fortunately, it does. The Neuroscience Institute in West Palm Beach, FL can help you overcome your anxiety through evidence-based treatments including our EMDR therapy program. Through these methods, recovery from anxiety is attainable. Stop letting anxiety disorder control your life. Contact our admissions page today, and take the first steps in your journey to lasting wellness.

Call Us Now (561) 202-3458

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