Experiencing trauma can trigger substance use. Fortunately, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, therapy can help you heal from past trauma, overcome painful flashbacks, and teach you how to effectively cope with negative emotions. By helping you diminish the power of emotionally charged memories and traumatic events, EMDR can help you uncover the root causes of your substance use, decrease your reliance on addictive substances, and help you accomplish and maintain your goal of long-term recovery.
Understanding EMDR Therapy
EMDR therapy approaches psychological issues differently than traditional talk therapies like CBT, DBT, or REBT. Rather than using a conversational method, EMDR uses your eyes’ rapid, rhythmic movements to desensitize your reactions to traumatic events and help you reprocess those experiences in a helpful, productive way.
During an EMDR therapy session, the therapist will typically move their fingers or a light back and forth in front of your face and asks you to follow their hand motions with your eyes. The therapist will then ask you to recall a disturbing event. As you detail the encounter, your therapist might also ask you to rate your level of distress. As you keep your eyes focused on the movement, your therapist will then gradually shift your focus to a pleasant memory and ask about your current level of distress.
Over time, EMDR can:
- Decrease overwhelming emotional and psychological arousal
- Lessen the emotional strength of traumatic memories
- Help your mind let go of unpleasant thoughts
- Make your challenges seem easier to handle
- Make you less vulnerable to debilitating emotions
The Benefits of EMDR Therapy For Treating Addiction
EMDR benefits addiction recovery by helping you unblock emotional processes that have been stifled by distress. Chronic distress “teaches” the brain to respond irrationally to traumatic or disturbing memories and experiences. By unblocking these disabling emotions, EMDR can help you “reprogram” your brain and change harmful behavior patterns that have been triggered by traumatic experiences.
EMDR therapy also allows behavioral experts and therapists to approach your addiction recovery process through a trauma-informed lens. This means that you and your therapist will address the root causes and contributing factors that compelled you to use substances in the first place. Understanding the “why” behind your substance use can help you anticipate triggers and avoid relapse.
Essentially, EMDR therapy aids addiction recovery by:
- Desensitizing the brain’s response to emotional distress, which can help combat impulsivity and restore rational thinking and problem-solving tendencies.
- Reprocessing painful and negative emotions, which can diminish your reliance on addictive substances and promote healthy coping strategies.
EMDR therapy can also benefit addiction recovery by:
- Alleviating psychological and physical symptoms that trigger substance abuse
- Identifying the emotional distress behind your addiction
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Decreasing distressing and disturbing memories
- Addressing and changing negative self-beliefs
- Helping you anticipate and overcome triggers and cravings
- Relieving debilitating worry and anxiety
- Boosting your self-esteem and self-efficacy
Recover From Past Trauma and Begin Recovering Today
Here at Soba Recovery, our team understands the benefit of addiction recovery. We’ve been in your shoes, battling past trauma and recovering from substance abuse. Let us help you find the same freedom we did. Our individualized recovery programs can help treat the underlying psychological disorders that trigger substance use and symptoms of addiction.
You can overcome past trauma and substance abuse. Contact us today if you’re ready to live a life of freedom.