Due to our better understanding of drug and alcohol addiction as an illness that can be treated, there are now more specialist therapies available in rehab than ever before. One such is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy or EMDR. EMDR is a fairly new type of psychotherapy that is growing in popularity within the field of addiction after showing conclusive evidence of efficacy in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD).

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy in Alcohol and Drug Addiction

EMDR has a very unusual approach to healing the psychological issues underlying addiction as it relies on the individual’s own rapid and rhythmic eye movements to reduce painful associations with traumatic events. Research shows that around 95% of rehab patients started to use drugs or alcohol in response to a traumatic event, circumstances or experiences. An EMDR therapist asks the patient to follow their hand motions with their eyes while at the same time recalling a distressing event.

The theory is that people can transform negative emotions by using rapid back and forth eye movements as it stimulates the brain’s mechanisms for processing memories. EMDR varies from other evidence-based cognitive therapies in that it is not based on discussion techniques, rather stimulating natural ways of dealing with negative memories with brainpower. In a typical EMDR session, patients will focus on whatever thoughts and feelings that emerge as the therapist encourages rapid eye movement.

When we sleep, our eyes are darting all over the place in what’s known as rapid eye movement or REM. This illustrates the strong connection our eyes have with what’s going on in our minds and how we feel about this. The natural extension of this theory is that eye movement can be used to enable self-exploration of negative past experiences while identifying new and more positive emotions to connect to them. In other words, patients are able to review their memories and see their connection to addictive behavior, empowering them to make positive changes for a long-term recovery.

Get Specialist Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Casa Recovery in San Juan Capistrano, CA

Casa Recovery offers completely personalized addiction treatment programs that address the root causes of substance abuse. By dealing with the issues that led to a person initially using drugs or alcohol, it is possible to heal negative associations with painful memories. Find out more about EMDR and other holistic and medical approaches to treating alcohol or drug addiction at Casa Recovery in Orange County by calling us in confidence today.


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Casa Recovery offers a wide range of treatment options for those struggling with mental health and co-occurring issues. We are here for you and ready to assist in any way we can. Contact us right now to get the help you deserve from a group of people who care.