When it comes to treating complex mental health disorders like PTSD, veterans often find that they are limited to just a few different options. Unfortunately, for up to 20 percent of PTSD sufferers, traditional treatment options, like medications, don’t work to reduce their symptoms at all. In addition, therapy isn’t always enough on its own. Sunrise Veterans is proud to offer EMDR for veterans in order to effectively treat the symptoms of their PTSD. This allows them to find a more complete recovery from their trauma.
What is EMDR?
EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It is a type of mental health treatment that uses lights or objects to alter your eye movements. While traditional psychotherapy approaches involve discussing a traumatic event, EMDR focuses on the emotions brought on by trauma. By continuously processing these memories, the brain is able to heal naturally—reducing these strong feelings of distress. Additionally, EMDR allows veterans to process these traumatic memories in a safe and comfortable environment.
How Does EMDR Therapy Work?
Numerous studies have established that EMDR for veterans is a safe and effective option to treat their symptoms and lessen the effect of trauma. There seems to be a connection between our eye movements and how we process, think, and feel about traumatic memories.
By reprocessing trauma, therapists are able to help reduce the effect it has on a person’s mental health. Your therapist will accomplish this by having you focus on your traumatic memory while they use a light or small object to alter your eye movements. As your brain repeatedly processes these memories, your emotional response will be reduced and the associated feelings of distress will be minimized. As a result, these traumatic memories will have less impact on your mental well-being. EMDR therapy allows you to return to your daily life.
Symptoms of PTSD in Veterans
It is estimated that up to half of all veterans with PTSD never receive a formal diagnosis. This is mostly because of the stigma still sometimes attached to seeking treatment for mental health problems. Without appropriate treatment, your PTSD symptoms aren’t going to get better – and may in fact get worse. Unfortunately, the veteran suicide rate has been increasing since the early 2000s. Given that PTSD is a major factor in these deaths, it is crucial to identify symptoms of this disorder. Though some indicators might resemble that of anxiety and depression disorders, there are several key differences that set PTSD apart. These include:
- Reliving past trauma through nightmares or flashbacks
- Having problems sleeping due to nightmare or night terrors
- Avoiding people, places, situations, or activities that remind you of your trauma
- Losing interest in things you used to enjoy
- Spending more time alone, and less time with friends and loved ones
- Experiencing feelings of self-hatred, guilt, shame, or hopelessness
- Having intense, inappropriate reactions to things people say or do
- Issues controlling your anger
- Using drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate your symptoms
- Suffering from depression, anxiety, or chronic pain
EMDR and PTSD
What makes PTSD so difficult for people to deal with is that it makes them relive their traumatic event. This can come in the form of nightmares or flashbacks. Often times, PTSD leads to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Those suffering from PTSD and are looking for an alternative treatment option will be glad to find that EMDR was in fact created specifically to treat this condition. EMDR helps people with PTSD, especially veterans, to reduce the impact that their trauma has on their lives, which in turn helps to reduce their mental health symptoms.
Benefits of EMDR for Veterans
EMDR presents a valuable and innovative option to help veterans get their life back on track. Additionally, it is an effective treatment option for veterans who have developed a drug or alcohol addiction as a result of their symptoms. Though some veterans find that traditional treatments like antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and behavioral or talk therapy help in reducing their PTSD symptoms, EMDR has many unique benefits. These include:
- Reducing the effect of traumatic experiences
- Lessening the intensity of PTSD symptoms
- Counteracting the negative thoughts and emotions caused by PTSD
- Helping assimilate to civilian life
- Improving overall quality of life
Begin EMDR Therapy at Sunrise Veterans Health
At Sunrise Veterans, we specialize in treating the men and women who have served our country as part of the armed forces. We understand just how unique your experiences are, as well as how complex your mental health care needs can be. Our range of treatment options are available to you in order to best address your individual needs and symptoms. Our treatment takes into account how military service has shaped the way that you think, feel, and react to situations.
If you are suffering from PTSD and traditional treatment options have not helped significantly reduce your symptoms, then EMDR therapy may be right for you. Visit our admissions page to get started right away or contact us to schedule your initial consultation. To speak with one of our experienced and dedicated team members call (512) 667-7677.