EMDR Therapy for Treatment of Substance Use Disorder

EMDR Therapy for Treatment of Substance Use Disorder

Addictions can have a devastating impact. They can have a way of destroying the lives of individuals and families. However, people with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) almost never goes down that destructive path on his own. His struggles can have a major effect on his loved ones. Luckily, there are many treatments for addictions.  At Denver Men’s Therapy, our philosophy is there is no “one size fits all” treatment for SUD. This blog will discuss Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR therapy for SUD is often combined with support groups, AA or replacement behaviors.

Read more about EMDR Therapy for Men here.

There is a powerful and significant link between Men, Trauma, and addiction. Read more about Men, Trauma, and addiction in our other blog here.

How EMDR Therapy Treats Substance Use Disorder

Substance Use Disorders are often a person’s maladaptive attempt to cope with traumatic experiences. It’s often a trauma that the client might have experienced as a child or an adolescent; chronic childhood neglect or abuse, critical or distant parenting or bullying. Also, it can be a traumatic event in adulthood, such as losing a loved one, being in a war, or surviving a violent crime.

Often times, SUD’s can cause traumas. A person with SUD can lose their family who can no longer stand his substance use. Relapse can be traumatic as well. In other cases, the repeated action of using in response to a stimulus can be so powerful it develops into an addiction. SUD’s often put people in high-risk situations that expose them to trauma. Even when there are no apparent traumatic experiences surrounding the SUD, EMDR therapy can help.

Treating the Underlying Trauma: Getting to the Root of the Problem

Substance Use Disorders are often a maladaptive response to underlying, unresolved trauma. In other words, addictions are a symptom. Drugs and alcohol misuse often start out an attempt to cope; numb feelings, push away painful experiences, feel a different way or dissociate.

EMDR therapy focuses on getting to the root of the issue by resolving and reprocessing the traumas. Effective interventions such as the DeTUR protocol is often used if substance use gets in the way of exploring and identifying trauma. As the person with SUD reprocesses these experiences, they no longer have an urge or need to use; adaptive responses replace the older maladaptive responses. They are able to use and internalize healthy adaptive ways of being in the world. It’s important to note again that EMDR therapy is one aspect of the larger treatment plan. As in most cases with EMDR therapy, symptom reduction is experienced as the traumas are reprocessed. The same is true for addictions.

If you find yourself struggling with a SUD, EMDR therapy could be perfect for you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been in treatment, or if you’ve tried many times and relapsed. Many men with SUD attempt different forms of therapy for their SUD but they never actually thoroughly addressed the trauma in its foundations. Therefore, SUD returns or changes form. EMDR therapy resolves the core issues related to SUD. There’s no better time than right now to end the SUD. So, go ahead, book an appointment, and begin your new, healthy life!