depressionAccording to studies, nearly 16 million Americans suffer from depression every year. If that’s not bad enough, statistics show that the number of people suffering from depression has been growing at an alarming rate. To make matters worse, about 80% of these individuals aren’t receiving any form of treatment.

Anti-depressants and psychotherapy are the most common forms of treatment for depression. While these approaches often work, some people prefer complementary and alternative treatments to manage their condition and feel better. If you’re one of them, it is worth considering EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Therapy).

What is EMDR?

EMDR is a non-drug treatment that is designed to help individuals who are plagued by thoughts or feelings that are caused by traumatic experiences.

Originally, EMDR was intended to help patients who are suffering from PTSD. But given the research that indicates that depression usually stems from negative thoughts and feelings associated with trauma or other adverse life experiences, therapists extended this treatment to a host of other conditions, including eating disorders, schizophrenia, sexual dysfunction, and depression.

How EMDR works

During an EMDR treatment session, therapists ask the patient to revisit the traumatic event and recall the emotions surrounding the experience. They use left and right eye movement, bilateral stimulation or tactile stimulation to activate both sides of the brain and help release the negative emotions that are trapped there.

Although most patients who undergo EMDR therapy still remember such events, the goal is to weaken the effect of negative emotions. In fact, many of them have reported that they feel less disturbed or experience no distress at all.

Research shows that EMDR is effective, safe and rapid. Many patients who did not benefit from traditional therapy or those who made slow progress in the past have finally gained relief from EMDR therapy.

An average EMDR therapy usually lasts for about 90 minutes. The number of sessions required to process traumatic memory varies from person to person.