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Chochka

EMDR: has anyone tried this? Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing therapy

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Chochka

Has anyone tried EMDR and if they have did they have any success with it?

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Newbeginning

I'd like to know too. Is there a topic somewhere? I can't find it.

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bubble

Google surviving antidepressants EMDR. I'm sure there is a topic.

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Is this similar / the same as EFT?

 

Maybe I confused the two since I'm not a big fan of abbreviations..

 

There is a link to EFT in this post.

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DrugfreeProf

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing; emdria.org) is a (now) mainstream approach to treating traumatic memories and the emotional fall out of going through trauma. It was developed by a psychologist, Francine Shapiro, in the late 1980s and has pretty good support for its effectiveness in the research literature. It used to be viewed as a fringe approach but no longer. I teach psychology courses and have found EMDR mentioned in most of my clinical textbooks. I am also trained in conducting EMDR (I'm a psychologist/therapist), and I have experienced it as, in most cases, extremely effective in helping people heal from trauma. I also use an adaptation of EMDR called IADC (Induced After Death Communication; induced-adc.com), which is designed to help people heal from grief after a loss. Excellent approaches, both of them, in my opinion, and I tend to be a bit cynical about a lot of therapies out there.  Not sure how effective they would be during WD, but perhaps, at some point in people's healing process, EMDR might be effective in helping people cope with the traumatic memories and aftereffects of going through withdrawal.

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DrugfreeProf

EFT is not the same as EMDR.  EFT is Emotional Freedom Technique and involves "tapping" on various points on the body while talking to oneself about painful thoughts and feelings--e.g., these WD symptoms are horrible!  I can't stand them!-- and eventually replacing those self-statements with  more positive, constructive ones--e.g., I know I am healing; I can get through this; I will survive.  www.thetappingsolution.com

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thanks for the clarification. Now I remember I have heard of both.

 

Knowing what we know about how sensitive and fragile our brain is in WD, I would say that any technique that deals with past trauma might be too harsh.

 

WD is not a good time to work on past trauma because this can evoke strong emotions that our WD brains might not be able to cope with and could increase symptoms.

 

That's just my lay, common sense opinion.

 

I'm a big fan of talk therapy and it has been a constant for me for over 20 years. But I make sure my therapists are tuned in with my inner states and don't force any generic approaches. When I feel sturdier we do unpack some past trauma but when I'm in a wave the therapy becomes a very gentle support and discussion on what I can do to better protect my vulnerable self. 

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DrugfreeProf

Yes, EMDR can be VERY intense therapy. But it can also be very effective. I agree that  during WD would NOT be a good time to go through EMDR, as during WD, one's brain, and therefore one's emotions, are unstable to say the least.  The last thing you would want  to do during WD is elicit negative memories and feelings, which is what is done during the EMDR procedure.  I do think that, under normal circumstances, or when someone is well past WD symptoms, that EMDR is a good choice for resolving traumatic memories.

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Newbeginning

I was using EMDR to try to treat the drug-induced anhedonia, but it is also a treatment for anxiety. It is not just used for trauma anymore, but can be used to process any unresolved emotion really, or to desensitize a person to any uncomfortable attitudes/beliefs.

 

I never felt more upset reliving past negative events, even though I have severe withdrawal anxiety and depression. These were not events that caused Post Traumatic stress conditions in me, but events that affected me negatively and made me prone to depression/anxiety. It would be different to relive an even that I still experience as traumatic today (e.g., something that causes flashbacks or bodily reactions when I'm exposed to triggers).

 

I just never feel that upset during or after the EMDR sessions. I'm way more upset in the days I'm home and have less distractions from intrusive thoughts and neuroemotions (I distract a lot, but they syill get me more when I'm home alone). 

 

That said, my anxiety and depression have worsened since I started doing it. I just don't know if it's due to EMDR, or to taking Xanax once a week for the last 2 months.

 

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Newbeginning

Still trying EMDR. Will report back here when I have a better sense of whether it made me worse or not. One person in protracted withdrawal from several psych meds told me it helped her with withdrawal neuroemotions and intrusive thoughts and didn't make her worse.

 

Not many people in withdrawal seem to have tried it though.

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Deise
On 23/07/2017 at 5:56 AM, Newbeginning said:

Still trying EMDR. Will report back here when I have a better sense of whether it made me worse or not.

 

Hi newbeginning! Do you already gave any more information about EMDR? I would like to know more.

 

Hope you are doing well :)

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Newbeginning

Hi Deise,

 

It seemed to make me worse. My withdrawal symptoms were mainly anxiety and depression, so maybe it had to do with that. Will try again once I'm at least a month or two stable between cuts. 

 

I do know one person in withdrawal (protracted) who experienced less intrusive withdrawal thoughts and less withdrawal anxiety using EMDR--so it may depend on the person too. If you try one session or two, just observe how you feel for a couple weeks. If it makes you worse, it tends to resolve in a week or two after you stop it, so its worth the risk I think. I dont know anyone who got worse on it and stayed worse for months.

 

Its very important that you like and trust the therapist, and that he/she is certified in EMDR and very experienced.

 

Thanks for reminding me to update here :)

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Whoopsie

Thank you for the information Newbeginning.  At 9 years off with a few lingering symptoms and having identified the source of the problem as to why I was put on psych drugs to begin with ... I am now ready to deal with my traumatic past (I hope).  I was diagnosed way back then with Bipolar but that is not the case at all, instead what I do experience is Complex Post Traumatic Stress.  I've been in a Women in Trauma group all summer and today had my first appointment with one of the trauma therapists that helped run the group.  Trust has been established between us over the summer and I cried the whole hour and a half just going over the assessment questions.  This is good.  During withdrawal I did not cry at all and only started a few months ago, thankfully.  After the assessment she recommended we do EMDR and I wanted to see if others had done this and what their experience was.   Thank you again for your posts on the topic.  If you are still here and have more to add, I'm listening.

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Barbarannamated

I have tried EMDR on multiple occasions over the years. First, in the 1990s in conjunction with treatment for neuromuscular pain (cervical dystonia) and bruxism triggered by Zoloft. I didn't notice anything. 

 

More recently, I tried it with 2 additional practitioners with no response aside from enjoying speaking with someone who understands the harms of the drugs.

 

I tend to dissociate easily and one thought that that is possibly standing in the way and referred me out to another therapist for a new type of therapy, but I never went. 

 

Withdrawal itself has opened up a Pandora's Box of repressed memories and trauma. I believe there's a thread about it somewhere. 

 

This is the thread:

 

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SertralineAnxiety

Hi, I tried EMDR before I started tapering. It was very helpful. I could only have a 4-5 sessions though, because we moved home. Still made a large difference to some childhood traumas I had though. 

 

However, during withdrawal, we can be extremely vulnerable, so EMDR might be too intense for many. 

 

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Whoopsie

I wrote further up on this thread on Sept. 5/18 when I had just begun this process of contacting an EMDR therapist.  The first EMDR session I had was okay.  The second led to a revisitation of severe physical pain the next day which was the same stuff I had during withdrawal.  I decided not to do it anymore at the present time.  The therapist had a hard time with my "no thanks, not anymore" so I walked away.  I'm not interested in being controlled by anyone anymore and that is one of the precious gifts of my withdrawal experience.  I have since found another therapist and will find out what she's made of and possibly try EMDR again with her.

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hayduke

I'm getting into the 'long tail' of my WDs from olanzapine now, at 2/3s of the smallest tablet size they sell.

 

I'd been pulling and pulling on that thread of 'why do I have self destructive tendencies?' since I was in my late teens.  It's been a long road finding why.  Along the road I had a 'crisis' and couldn't cope with some very difficult situations in my early-mid 20s.  More in my intro thread if anyone was interested.

 

My mother took me to a psychologist to try EMDR before that 'crisis' but unfortunately I couldn't stand the guy and nothing useful happened.  Pity - she was on the right track and if I'd got on with that counsellor who knows how much pain we could've saved.  But I didn't know much then, certainly not enough to safely navigate the deep waters my life had led me into.  These days I'd just be "well who else does this, let's try them."

 

Ultimately finding a supportive and understanding practitioner turned out to be the key for me...even if decades on.

 

Songbird asked me to add my post today in Carmie's thread here so I will do so below.

 

Also wanted to add that despite WDs I didn't want to put this work off a moment longer.  I have my doubts whether the difficult material would have been usefully accessible at a higher dose, my feeling is that 2.5mg and below is when the lights really started coming on for me.  I did hold for most of the therapy period.  Another motivation to get on with it was to try and get the trauma out of the way so it wouldn't cause trouble later on lower doses or after WD is complete.  For me I'm comfortable that's been the right decision, and being on this side of the issues is so liberating and such a relief.  Your mileage may vary, as they say in the classics.

 

Hope this is useful:

 

Quote

Re EMDR, the clinical psychologist I went to specialises in the kind of things that get you put on neuroleptics.  I've linked to the BPS pamphlet in my thread which links psychosis to past trauma and discusses approaches to treating it besides the toxic drugs.  I was very pleased to find a sympathetic ear.  She offered me a couple of ways of working through my issues and we agreed EMDR was probably the most helpful approach.  We had a few sessions working out the stresses and life difficulties that led to my 'crisis' in the 90s. 

 

It seems to me now anyone with half a brain would have been able to get me on the right track if they had listened to me better back then, but the prescribing goblin in the 90s denied any kind of talk therapy could help, told us all I had some defect 'chemical imbalance' and put me on the olanzapine "for life", the miserable sod.

 

I didn't give up on taking charge of my own healing (it was clear no one else would - they only really cared whether I was holding down a job), started lowering my dosage, exercising and after years of meditation some really hard things started coming up.  That's when I found my own psychologist as mentioned above.

 

The idea with the EMDR is that when you have unresolved trauma, particularly in your subconscious, it just hangs around being spiky rotten and unpleasant and sets off your fight-or-flight reflex way too often.  So if you can make these trauma/s conscious and pass them on to the part of the brain that normally stores memory like all the normal experiences do, you can unclog your body from hanging onto the pain and start healing.

 

I knew there was something amiss there most of my life.  The EMDR worked amazingly well and a bunch of things started coming up over a few sessions.  I was staggered by how vivid the recall is with this technique, and how my body was storing tensions from early childhood.  The smells, the time of day, who was there, what was said, how I was feeling, right back there again.  Practical time travel in a sense!

 

After two sessions we both felt there was something that was still to be unearthed, the root issue.  It was a huge relief in a way but there it was the next time, I had to relive being sexually abused at age 4 or 5.  Revolting and very uncomfortable, but now I know what happened, and my body and brain can process it consciously.  I found it hard to believe for a while but my body left me in no doubt.

 

My so-called 'diagnosis' back then was based on symptoms that are directly congruent with surviving child sexual abuse.  No need for any of the goblin's rubbish to explain things.  Nothing wrong with me in the first place, and nothing I could have done at age 4 or 5 could have repelled that attack.  My poor developing brain!

 

Everything started falling into place after that, parts of my life that had confused me made sense, depression and anxiety are less than 1/5 of what they were before.  Lots of anger, like lots.  So much of my lifetime effectively stolen that I will never get back.   My psychologist has been able to help me channel that into safe and constructive outlets.  Still working out how to tell my family, but I feel they need to know some time.  Will probably write them a letter. 

 

On the up side I'm a lot less shy now.  The only problematic symptoms I'm having now all seem wd-related, and each time I hold for a while it confirms that for me as they settle.  I feel once I'm off the rest of this blasted compound for a while I'm going to be pretty much who I should've been already.  Looking forward to that and it does keep getting better as I go.

 

So yeah it was kind of an archaeological dig for me.  Tiring, painful, difficult and messy.  But I'm on the right side of it now and life keeps improving.  Finding the right practitioner made it possible.  I didn't even know if I was going to be able to get the result I needed but thankfully did.  Feels like I've walked over the biggest mountain in my life path so far.  Sure, there'll be more healing to do but I've got the splinter out now.

 

Hope that's useful info and that your weekend is ace!

 

*hugs*

 

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composter

I did EMDR therapy for processing the trauma of my withdrawal and a few waves. I believe it did help me feel lighter and let go of pain and fear connected to the trauma of withdrawal. A close family member recommended me to her therapist who does EMDR but I'm sure you can find practitioners on Psychology Today.

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