Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, affects approximately 8 percent of people in the United States at some time in their lives. It's more common in women, with about 10 percent having this condition at some time, and in those who have served in the military, with up to 20 percent experiencing this condition at some point. Various types of treatment have been tried to help those with PTSD. One of the treatments recommended by the American Psychiatric Association, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR.
During EMDR therapy treatment, there are eight different phases, starting with a history-taking period that is followed by the provision of various methods for stress handling and then using rapid back-and-forth eye movements while recalling a traumatic event to help reconsolidate the memory and make it less traumatic. A positive belief may be identified to help process the traumatic memory. The patient typically keeps a log between sessions to help measure progress, and this log is then examined at the start of the next session.
While it isn't exactly clear just how the eye movements help to make memories less traumatic and help treat PTSD, there are more than 20 studies that show the beneficial effects of EMDR therapy treatment. These studies used between three and twelve sessions and reported between 77 and 100 percent effectiveness, depending on the study, the type of trauma involved, and whether the person had suffered from one traumatic experience or multiple traumatic experiences. One study compared EMDR therapy treatment with prolonged-exposure treatment and found that EMDR helped to treat 70 percent of people versus the 17 percent of people that found prolonged-exposure treatment beneficial. Although some people have wondered if it is really the other parts of the treatment rather than the eye movements that are beneficial, a number of studies have compared the treatment process with and without the eye movements, and those who were in the eye-movement groups have experienced significantly more benefits.
Potential Reasons for Benefits
One theory on why the EMDR treatment is so beneficial is that the eye movements somehow make it so the memories are less vivid and less intensely emotional. These less vivid and emotional memories then cause less distress when remembered in the future. One study showed that people have a harder time remembering things in detail when they're moving their eyes quickly from side to side, which may be why these traumatic memories become less vivid when using EMDR therapy. Because the therapy doesn't necessary mean that the person has to talk about the experience, just think about it, EMDR therapy treatment can be particularly beneficial for those that aren't helped by traditional therapy because of their difficulty discussing the traumatic experience.
Talk to a company such as Cynthasis for more information.
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