EMDR For Addiction

EMDR Therapy For Addiction

Anxieties and past traumas often cause people to use substances to cope. As a result, many people that suffer from anxiety disorders and past traumas also end up developing substance use disorders. Co-occurring anxiety disorders and trauma and substance addictions are so common. Thus, it’s important for there to be a form of therapy that specifically helps treat such dual diagnosis conditions. The one form of addiction therapy that also treats co-occurring anxiety disorders and substance addictions is eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Discover more about EMDR for anxiety and addiction here. 

What Is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy stands for Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing is the process of directing an individual’s eyes in specific patterns and movements with an object while he or she is thinking about past traumas that cause him or her anxiety. 

The purpose of making a person think about his or her past anxieties or traumas while following an object with his or her eyes is to cause the action of moving one’s eyes in a certain pattern to make the person dissociate the thought of past traumas with anxiety and instead associate it with the eye movements. This will ultimately cause the thoughts of past traumas to no longer contain such anxiety-ridden effects on individuals. 

In turn, EMDR therapy will also cause fewer people to abuse substances. This is because individuals won’t need to cope with the thoughts of their past traumas and the anxieties that they give them anymore. 

EMDR therapy essentially helps people healthily cope with the thoughts of past traumas and the anxieties that such thoughts give them. Thus, EMDR therapy is a great form of treatment for PTSD. In general, though, EMDR therapy can help treat all anxiety and stress-induced disorders. 

Phases Of EMDR Therapy For Addiction

There are various different phases of EMDR for anxiety and addiction. The descriptions of each of the phases of EMDR therapy for anxiety and addiction are given below.

Phase 1: History and Treatment Planning

The initial history and treatment planning phase of EMDR therapy is when EMDR therapists assess the conditions of their patients. It’s also during this phase of EMDR therapy that therapists will work with their new patients to target the past traumatic memories that cause the patients to experience anxiety. 

EMDR therapists will even teach their patients basic skills and behaviors that they can use to help them manage their trauma-induced anxieties during this phase of treatment. The history and treatment planning phase of EMDR therapy usually lasts around a few hours. 

Phase 2: Preparation

The second phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction is the preparation phase. During this phase of treatment, EMDR therapists will ensure that their patients have learned different stress-relieving techniques and coping mechanisms to help them during the main phases of EMDR therapy. 

EMDR therapists are also helping their patients achieve fast and effective behavioral changes. These behavioral changes will help EMDR therapy patients cope during the future phases of treatment. These changes will also help the patients cope while they’re in between the different EMDR treatment phases. 

Phase 3: Assessing and Determining Target Trauma

During this phase of EMDR therapy, therapists will ask patients to actively identify, recall, and describe their past traumatic memories. At this time, EMDR patients will also identify and recall the feelings that arise within themselves when thinking about past traumas. 

During this phase of EMDR treatment, patients must then rate the level of intensity of the negative and positive emotions that they feel while recalling past traumas. Doing this will really help the EMDR therapists choose which traumatic memories to target during treatment. 

Phase 4: Reprocessing And Desensitization

During phase 4, EMDR therapists will make the patients move their eyes in certain patterns while recalling their past traumas. That way, the patients’ past traumatic thoughts are processed and associated with sensations rather than anxiety. 

During this phase of EMDR for addiction and anxiety, patients should start to resolve their past traumas. That way past traumas will no longer have so much power over EMDR patients. 

Phase 5: Installation

The installation phase of EMDR therapy begins after patients finish processing most of their past traumatic memories and anxieties. Thus, this phase of EMDR for addiction and anxiety only further helps patients resolve their anxiety-inducing issues by engraining therapy into their psyches. It’s often during the installation phase of EMDR therapy that individuals start to feel empowered and more positive. 

Phase 6: Body Scan

During this phase of EMDR therapy, patients must, once again, think about the past traumatic memories that cause them anxiety. The purpose of the body scan phase of EMDR therapy for anxiety and addiction is to check and see if a patient’s past traumatic memories still induce negative feelings or high levels of anxiety.  

Phase 7: Closure

Once evidence shows that the past traumatic memories of EMDR patients are no longer causing them to feel anxiety or intensely negative emotions, the patients are in the closure phase of treatment. This phase of EMDR therapy basically allows patients to become less and less affected by past traumatic memories. 

Phase 8: Re-evaluation

During the re-evaluation phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction, patients and therapists will review the results of all the phases of EMDR. In doing so, EMDR patients and therapists can pinpoint what worked during the therapy process. The goal of the re-evaluation phase of EMDR for anxiety and addiction is to ensure that patients receive closure. 

Benefits of EMDR for Anxiety and Addiction 

There are many benefits to receiving EMDR for addiction and anxiety. Some of the primary benefits of EMDR for addiction and anxiety include the following:

It Helps Change Negative Beliefs into Positive Ones

People that suffer from anxiety disorders when thinking about past traumas often think and feel negative. This is partly because such people are always struggling with negative thoughts and emotions that trigger their anxieties. This is also partly because such people struggle to cope with their traumatic memories in general. 

With the help of EMDR therapy though, such individuals can overcome the effects that their traumatic memories have had on them. As a result, people that suffer from trauma and anxiety that experience EMDR therapy start to think and feel more positively. 

Because EMDR therapy helps individuals cope with their anxiety triggers, it also helps individuals be less likely to need to use substances to cope. Thus, EMDR therapy not only helps change people’s negative thoughts and emotions into positive ones, but it also helps change people’s negative behaviors, such as abusing substances, into positive ones. 

It Helps People Not Be As Affected By Past Traumas

EMDR therapy genetically helps individuals re-arrange the way their brains store and respond to traumatic memories. This helps individuals to naturally start to not associate anxiety with their traumatic memories. This also helps individuals better manage stressful and traumatic situations. 

It Helps People Overcome Anxiety

Ultimately, EMDR therapy helps individuals overcome past traumas and the anxiety that such past traumatic memories cause them. As a result, people that go through EMDR therapy are better able to let go of things rather than stressing about them. 

EMDR Therapy For Alcohol And Substance Use Disorders

As briefly mentioned earlier in this article, people that struggle with anxiety disorders often abuse substances to cope. Thus, it’s very common for individuals to end up simultaneously suffering from an alcohol or drug use disorder and an anxiety disorder. 

Luckily, EMDR therapy is not only used to help individuals overcome anxiety disorders and past traumas. It’s also often used to help treat people with co-occurring anxiety disorders and substance addictions. 

Substance use disorders are not simplistic. Thus, there are almost always underlying reasons for why people begin to abuse substances, whether those underlying reasons be mental illness, biological factors, environmental factors, or a combination of these different factors. 

EMDR therapy can help people overcome the underlying issues behind their substance use disorders. This is particularly true if those underlying issues have to do with anxiety disorders and/or past traumas. EMDR therapy can also help people that suffer from alcohol and drug use disorders cope with their addiction triggers. Thus, many rehab centers, such as Grace Land Recovery, offer EMDR therapy to their patients. 

Receive EMDR Therapy For Addiction At Grace Land Recovery

Grace Land Recovery is a dual diagnosis treatment center located near Memphis, Tennessee. As a dual diagnosis treatment center, Grace Land specializes in treating co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Thus, it should be no surprise that Grace Land offers the highest quality EMDR for anxiety and addiction. 

Here at Grace Land Recovery, we know how often mental illness and substance use co-occur. That’s why we’ve made a conscious effort to provide our patients with a wide variety of evidence-based rehab programs for individuals that suffer from dual diagnosis disorders. 

Because we know that anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental illnesses in the world, EMDR therapy for anxiety and addiction is a staple at our treatment center. PTSD happens to be an anxiety disorder. Thus, if you’re struggling with anxiety issues such as PTSD and alcohol and drug use disorders, you should receive EMDR therapy at Grace Land Recovery. 

To learn more about Grace Land Recovery and all of the dual diagnosis alcohol and drug rehab programs that we offer, contact us today! Our phone lines are open 24/7. 

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