Let’s talk about erectile dysfunction.
According to recent studies, one in four men under 40 years old experiences erectile dysfunction. The causes range from physical to mental, but this is the first time that such a high number of younger men are dealing with impotence. The physical causes can vary from cardiovascular issues due to diet and lack of exercise to substance abuse with smoking, alcohol and drugs. The mental causes can range greatly and include depression, anxiety, becoming a parent, job loss and the list could go on for days. Regardless of the root psychological cause, therapy is the ideal form of treatment. While talk therapy is a great starting point, a more specialized technique can be a total game changer for treating erectile dysfunction: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR. Before we get the details about the effectiveness of EMDR, there is one crucial first step every man must take when he decides to seek help for impotence – he must be willing to talk about it.
Unfortunately, with developing gender stereotypes and various standards set forth by society, men are expected to behave and react in certain ways. According to stereotypes, men should be strong, “macho,” and basically devoid of any sensitive emotions as to avoid being perceived as weak in the eyes of others. So much of that has become entangled with a man’s sexuality and an inability to perform sexually can be greatly embarrassing for many, particularly younger men. As a result, many individuals who suffer from erectile dysfunction struggle to even admit they are experiencing a problem. This denial stage only creates a worse situation that makes recovery increasingly more difficult.
So, as I said before, let’s talk about erectile dysfunction.
When dealing with impotence stemming from psychological causes, the initial concern is deciphering the trigger moment that first caused a problem. Sometimes, it could stem from a one time situation, but as a result future sexual encounters become intimidating and anxiety inducing, therefore creating a mental block. Other times, erectile dysfunction may occur as a result of depression or stress. Confidence is such a key quality for so many men and a decline in self-empowerment can affect them in many ways, including in their sex life. Once a root cause is understood, treatment can begin.
EMDR is a psychotherapy technique that is a specialized form of treatment that aids in healing patients from any type of trauma, which can be defined as any “deeply distressing or disturbing experience.” As defined by Wikipedia, “the goal of EMDR is to reduce the long-lasting effects of distressing memories by engaging the brain’s natural adaptive information processing mechanisms, thereby relieving present symptoms. The therapy uses an eight-phase approach that includes having the patient recall distressing images while receiving one of several types of bilateral sensory input, such as side to side eye movements.”
And, How Does ED Relate to EDMR? Read On.
EMDR was originally conceived in 1989 as a new way to help treat PTSD, since until then there were only two other primary forms of treatment for trauma: cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy. According to Dr. Shapiro, the creator of EMDR, in a New York Times Q&A, EMDR differs from these techniques because, “the emphasis in E.M.D.R. is to help the information processing system make the automatic connections required to resolve the disturbance. Specific procedures are used to help clients maintain a sense of control during memory work as the therapist guides their focus of attention. They need only focus briefly on the disturbing memory during the processing while engaged in the bilateral stimulation (eye movements, taps or tones) as the internal associations are made. The client’s brain makes the needed links as new emotions, sensations, beliefs and memories emerge.”
When dealing with psychologically induced erectile dysfunction, EMDR is an ideal form of treatment to assist patients in reaching that root cause and having the chance to reprocess the information to produce a new outcome – an outcome without impotence. The biggest challenge patients will face will be finding the ability to seek help and talk about the issue with a professional therapist and, when dealing with erectile dysfunction, the sooner the better. The dramatic increase in young men experiencing impotence is something we have the ability to turn around, as long as those individuals are willing to seek treatment. The shame most men associate with erectile dysfunction is simply a horrible illusion created by decades of society, and as soon as we discredit that standard, these millions of men can feel more confident seeking treatment.
Are you experiencing this difficulty as well? So many guys are. It’s so normal. If you think you need to get some things off your chest though, I’d love to meet with you and see if I can help. I’ve been helping men through challenges in life for over a decade now in my private therapy practice in Denver. I’ve made it easy to get started. Just click here and pick the best time and day for a session with me. Let me know if I’m a fit and we’ll go from there. I look forward to hearing from you.