The Benefit of EMDR Therapy for Anxiety

The Benefit of EMDR Therapy for Anxiety

A certain degree of anxiety is not necessarily bad. It helps us stay alert, motivates us, and makes us more energetic. But a perpetual state of concern and worry can affect your ability to live life to its fullest potential. Anxiety is a top mental disorder in the US affecting 40 million adults. The global prevalence of anxiety and depression further grew by a whopping 25% in the first year of COVID-19 alone. This had pushed 90% of the countries to include mental health and psychosocial support in their pandemic response plans.

The good news is that EMDR therapy is highly efficient for anxiety. It is an integrated psychotherapy approach that targets and improves negative thoughts. This was initially used to ease post-traumatic stress disorder. It is growing in popularity and 7 in 10 studies found EMDR therapy to be more effective than trauma-focused cognitive solutions. See how the therapy is useful to curb anxiety.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is moving your eyes in a specific way by following the back-and-forth motion of a finger before your face. This is when you remember past traumatic events simultaneously. It is the treatment choice for different types of anxiety like panic attacks and OCD along with relapse prevention techniques which can often be debilitating and life-threatening.

There are 8 stages of EMDR therapy. Here’s a brief overview to help you understand how it helps to lower anxiety pangs.

  1. History Taking: This means getting an idea of the medical history and existing illnesses like thyroid to map out treatment plans accordingly.
  2. Client Preparation: The therapist explains what is causing anxiety and then outlines the care plan for an informed choice of the patient. They will also help you with self-management tricks like deep breathing.
  3. Assessment: The therapist asks you to remember particular incidents that usually trigger anxiety or emotional uneasiness. For instance, this can be sexual harassment, bullying, or an accident. They also evaluate if the event can recur or if it is related to the present day.
  4. Desensitization: This stage is quite comforting. The counselor will help you examine the incidents rationally and try to change how the brain processes them.
  5. Installation: Positive emotions and thoughts are ‘installed’ in your mind. For example, if someone faced child abuse in the past, as an adult now, they are fully capable of resisting it and protecting themselves.
  6. Body Scan: You will be asked to re-collect a few incidents or can be put in a few virtual situations. Now your body will be checked for increased pulse or muscle contractions. This process is known as checking for residual trauma.
  7. Closure: The therapist will request you keep practicing the stress-reduction activities. You are also required to keep a record of issues that may disturb you between two sessions for discussion.
  8. Reevaluation: This is the final stage where the therapist will check if further sessions are needed. It is a sort of follow-up to see the effectiveness of EMDR.

Having anxiety is more than just worrying. It can cause extreme overthinking, nervousness, sweating, trembling, irritability feeling weak, and hyperventilation. All of these can often result in substance abuse. Persistent anxiety also increases the risks of coronary issues. EMDR is ideal to tackle these.


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