ADHD Treatment Secret Weapons, Part 2: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)October 16th, 2012 by lexiewinslow
Welcome to the first installment of my series on lesser known psychological treatments that work well for those with ADHD trying to overcome trauma, depression, and stress. Read all of the posts in this series here. Consult with a doctor and/or mental health professional before changing your treatment.
Sometimes, it feels impossible to get over or get past terrible experiences.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach based on the theory that when a traumatic event occurs – an episode of violence, a natural disaster, etc – the brain is so overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and intense emotions that it does not store the memory correctly. Instead, the memory gets copied and stored all around the brain, in places it doesn’t belong, meaning that experiences like flashbacks occur when you least expect it.
During EMDR the patient relives the memories that have created patterns of anxiety and stress. While the patient relives the memory, the therapist introduces tones and taps to realign their bilateral eye movement. It is believed that manipulating this eye movement helps fix the client’s thought patterns. Working one trigger at a time, the therapist removes the negative thoughts connected to the external stimulus.
This is a very simplified description of a complex procedure, which typically has eight phases of treatment and takes a long time. There’s a lot more to EMDR, and it does not work for everyone. However, it is worth advocating for, because it does work amazingly well for some people and can be just the treatment to banish anxiety and panic triggers.