Huntington Creek Recovery Center has been a trusted provider of experiential-based therapies for addiction and co-occurring disorders since 1972. Our EMDR therapy treatment provides an alternative therapeutic option for men and women who are struggling with co-occurring and substance use disorders.
Dealing with the Effects of Trauma
In order to find more ways to help individuals suffering from the effects of substance abuse, researchers continue to seek greater understanding as to the root causes of addiction. Genetics and environment have been shown to play a role in an individual being predisposed to struggling with substance abuse. In addition, the effect of trauma on the brain has been well documented.
Both acute traumas, such as accidents or unexpected losses, and chronic traumas, such as ongoing abuse or instability, can impact an individual’s brain functioning and impair his or her ability to cope with stress. When an individual is suffering from the damaging effects of trauma, he or she may seek to soothe or mask his or her symptoms with drugs or alcohol. Left untreated, these unhealthy coping mechanisms can lead an individual down the path of addiction.
Utilizing EMDR Therapy
Without addressing a patient’s trauma history, it can be difficult to effectively treat his or her substance abuse disorder. Therefore, the clinical program at Huntington Creek Recovery Center includes a variety of treatment techniques designed to help patients heal from past traumas. As part of their individualized treatment plans, patients have access to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
Originally designed to help individuals who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), EMDR is a multiphase treatment designed to help patients reprocess their experience of past negative events. Often, recalling a past trauma can be an unsettling experience that can set in motion a spiral of unhealthy behaviors as the affected individual seeks to escape painful symptoms. Sometimes called a flashback, this experience can elicit the following symptoms:
- Depressed mood
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Anger or irritability
- Confusion or disassociation
- Racing heartbeat
- Trouble focusing
- Muscle aches and tension
- Physical aches and pains
How EMDR Works
When trauma overwhelms an individual, his or her brain’s resiliency can be weakened. EMDR “works” by strengthening and rebuilding the compromised neuropathways in the brain. During a series of bilateral eye movements, the patient reflects on a past trauma. He or she is instructed to explore their feelings about the event with a goal of replacing an uncomfortable feelings with a less triggering response. For example, feelings of guilt or shame might be replace with a positive affirmation. This therapy allows the individual’s brain to reprocess the past trauma in a new way, providing relief from the negative feelings that had previously been associated with recalling the event.
At Huntington Creek Recovery Center, a specially trained staff member conducts EMDR therapy as part of our comprehensive clinical program. Counselors at Huntington Creek utilize a variety of experiential therapy modalities that addresses the whole person, creating trauma-focused treatment plans that address the individual’s mind, body, and spirit.