Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Using EMDR Therapy by John Giordano, CAP, MAC, CCJS and Trina Geiss, MPH


March 17, 2004 -- Treatments that delve into the root causes of addictive behavior are crucial for the successful recovery of the individual. Holistic treatment does not merely treat the symptom or the affliction, but rather recognizes the delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit and that there may be underlying psychosocial and other factors acting in large part or responsible for the substance-seeking behavior. One such integrative therapy is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is an approach to psychotherapy that uses eye movements to stimulate the information processing in the brain. This therapy provides much faster results than traditional therapy. It is often used for treating trauma such as: sexual abuse, domestic violence, war, crime, depression, addiction, phobias, and self-esteem issues. A recent study performed by Kaiser-Permanente found that EMDR was twice as effective and in about half the amount of care than typical therapy. Overall, EMDR allows the brain to heal its own wounds at the same rate that the rest of the body is able to heal its physical ailments, making a long and tedious recovery a thing of the past.

EMDR aids in decreasing the numbers of those who leave treatment against medical advice (AMA). This is due in part to EMDR's ability to relieve the stress and anxiety of being in substance abuse treatment. Primarily, EMDR alleviates the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)1,2. EMDR also aids in building confidence and strengthening the bond between clinician and client in substance abuse treatment. EMDR releases disturbing memories or beliefs and places them in a new perspective, so that they are no longer as painful2. The main advantage of EMDR is seen in its ability to achieve results in as little as three to five hours or less of treatment; this quality enables both clinical and economic benefits2,3. Achieving astounding results in just one session, the clinician may witness the incorporation of a more positive belief structure along with the desensitization of the previously traumatic images. EMDR is a structured, client-centered model that weaves pointed elements of intrapsychic, behavioral, cognitive, body-oriented, and interactional approaches together.

EMDR allows the client to restructure their thinking for more positive and healthy functioning. EMDR may amend the effects of earlier memories that contribute to addiction, possible relapse triggers, and cravings, as well as integrating new coping skills and aiding in learning more adaptive behaviors. EMDR is also useful for addressing problems of treatment noncompliance and ambivalence4. The importance of receiving this care from a licensed, qualified professional specifically trained in this area cannot be stressed enough in order to receive maximum results and benefits.

EMDR Therapy
    Relieves Stress & Anxiety
    Redirects Painful Memories
    Fast Results
    Increase Positive Thinking
    Increase Coping Skills

For more information go to http://www.drugrehabcenter.com, http://www.drug-alcohol-rehab.net and http://www.helpaddicts.com.

Works Cited:

1.    Heber R, Kellner M, Yehuda R. (2002). Salivary cortisol levels and the cortisol response to dexamethasone before and after EMDR: a case report. J Clin Psychol., vol. 58(12): 1521-30.

2.    Lee GK, Beaton RD, Ensign J. (2003). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. A brief and effective treatment for stress. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv., vol. 41(6): 22-31.

3.    MacCulloch MJ, Feldman P. (1996). Eye movement desensitization treatment utilizes the positive visceral element of the investigatory reflex to inhibit the memories of post-traumatic stress disorder: a theoretical analysis. Br J Psychiatry, vol. 169(5): 571-9.

4.    Shapiro F, Vogelmann-Sine S, Sine LF. (1994). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: treating trauma and substance abuse. J Psychoactive Drugs, vol. 26(4): 379-91.