Sunday, July 15, 2018

EMDR Therapy To Treat Addiction

What Causes Addiction? 

Addiction tree

I believe there is always a CAUSE of an addiction. I don't think it just magically happens to random people, its not a lottery. I see addiction like a tree with deep roots. Many addiction treatments out there simply focus on fixing the symptoms of the addiction (ie. Acting out, negative behaviors, lying etc) which are the branches and leaves of the tree. Which is GREATπŸ‘. But when you only cut branches off the tree, what happens? = It eventually grows more branches. It might take days, months, or years to grow back, but the tree and its roots are still alive. If someone struggling with an addiction wants to get into long term Sober Recovery (And I mean LONG term Recovery. Years and years with zero acting out. Recovery requires sobriety). Its crucial to dig deep and fix the ROOT CAUSE of the addiction, which studies show could be many many different things like trauma, untreated ADHD or mental illness, genetics, or more often than not all of the above. Sadly though many (or most) people who struggle with addiction aren't aware, or their brains even forgot about any trauma they experienced. But it's good to remember that lack of knowledge or loss of memory does not automatically mean a person does not have trauma. I think addiction in and of itself is evidence that SOMETHING deeper is fueling it.

One way to help treat the cause of addiction is through EMDR Therapy by a qualified counselor who understands trauma & addiction. It has personally helped me immensely, and also my husband immensely. If you know anyone who has struggled with addiction, please pass on this info πŸ’—

What is EMDR? 

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Its a way of using both sides of the brain and basically gets all the fear and gunk out of a past memory (even if forgotten), so that it's not wreaking havoc in our lives anymore. It can also occasionally help someone remember past traumas. It helped my husband remember his sexual abuse, and now he can easily talk about it without being in fear.

"..during Emdr the conscious mind communicates with the subconscious mind, creating a safe environment to let go of the energy attached to stress or trauma."

I like this video, putting it in cartoon form always makes things easier for me to understand 😁.

Why Does EMDR Help Treat Addiction? 

“Traumatic events challenge an individual’s view of the world as a just, safe and predictable place. Traumas that are caused by human behavior commonly have more psychological impact than those caused by nature.”
~ American Psychological Association, APA Dictionary of Psychology

"There is no question that traumatic experiences shape both mental processes and behavior – which is why trauma-informed care is such a crucial element of addiction treatment. However, there is often a misunderstanding regarding both what trauma looks like and how it interacts with addiction and its treatment.  In an effort to clarify these points, this post asks two key questions regarding trauma-informed care: what is it, and is it important?

The short answer to these questions is that trauma-informed care for addiction treatment takes into account the traumatic effects that addiction and alcoholism can have on an individual and yes, it is very important during addiction treatment. The long answer is a little more complex, but just as clear: the trauma-informed approach to addiction treatment is crucial to overcoming the mental, behavioral, physical, and social effects of addiction."
“Trauma is subjective, meaning what matters most are the individual’s internal beliefs and their innate sensitivity to stress, not whether a family member, therapist or other outsider deems an experience traumatic. Trauma can stem from abuse or neglect as well as other painful or frightening experiences, such as a car accident, bullying, school killing, sudden life change or near-death experience, whether experienced firsthand or witnessed. It can also result from growing up in an alcoholic or addicted home or any other environment where children are taught to bury their feelings. As a result of the trauma, the individual feels intense fear or helplessness, which can lead to serious long-term struggles with depression, anxiety, and addictive or impulsive behaviors.”
~ Dr. David Sack, “Emotional Trauma: An Often Overlooked Root of Addiction”

"Life experiences, either negative or positive, have a significant impact on our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Adverse life experiences such as abuse, neglect, violence, or emotional distress may have serious consequences later in life, such as mental illness or addiction.

In treating individuals who suffer from addiction, it is important to address any co-occurring trauma, PTSD, or related symptoms within the setting of a drug and alcohol rehab facility because, in most instances, these traumatic events or experiences play a role in the person’s addictive behaviors. Therefore, the addiction cannot be fully overcome without addressing those issues.

The Impact of Trauma
Research shows that trauma plays an important role in how we live our lives. One such famous study is the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, which is one of the largest investigations of child abuse, neglect, and well-being later in life."

"Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is one of the best forms of therapy for recovery from addiction and trauma.
Research has proven that early childhood trauma is the cause of many adulthood problems and the underlying cause of many addictions and mental disorders. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is the most comprehensive treatment for healing the feeling of trauma that is linked to these memories. This works by channeling the neuropathways that were created at the time of trauma, and reprogramming the feelings associated to the incident. This type of treatment called “bilateral stimulation” is a unique form of treatment that works for a wide variety of patients and recovery needs by changing the fundamental views or memories that corrupt behaviors."

" Traditional models of addiction treatment and relapse prevention fail to consider the role that unresolved trauma plays in an addicted woman's recovery experience. Implementing Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) into the treatment process offers a potential solution to this problem. Ten women (alumnae of an extended-care treatment facility) participated in a semistandardized interview to share their experiences with active addiction, treatment, EMDR therapy, and recovery. With the use of A. P. Giorgi's descriptive phenomenological psychological method for analysis, four major thematic areas emerged from the interview data: the existence of safety as an essential crucible of the EMDR experience, the importance of accessing the emotional core as vital to the recovery experience, the role of perspective shift in lifestyle change, and the use of a combination of factors for successful treatment. All 10 women, to some degree, credited EMDR treatment as a crucial component of their addiction continuing-care processes, especially in helping with emotional core access and perspective shift."

YouTube video on why EMDR is important in treating addiction

YouTube video on why it works

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