Opioid addiction can be closely connected to trauma, affecting an individual’s physical and mental health. Both of them can feel inevitable to anyone suffering from the two conditions. Trauma can be hard to treat using conventional therapies. Still, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR therapy is an effective method of treating the impacts of opioid addiction and trauma. The effects of trauma, such as opioid addiction, can be complex. The long-term effects of traumatic experiences can make it hard to thrive in an opioid addiction rehabilitation program. EMDR acknowledges the different ways that trauma influences the client’s actions and thoughts and uses an established process to encourage them to deal with their trauma.
EMDR therapy trains the client to think about various neutral or positive things when remembering their past trauma. Therapists ask the clients to concentrate on external stimuli when they talk about different elements of their trauma while reducing the intensity of the negative emotions correlated with these traumatic memories. EMDR therapy helps clients struggling with opioid addiction move past traumatic events. It also helps them keep away negative memories from their minds and abandon any harmful behaviours associated with their trauma.
The Correlation Between PTSD, Opioid Addiction, and EMDR
People looking for treatment for PTSD from past trauma have a higher chance of being diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder such as opioid addiction. People with PTSD frequently try to self-medicate, which is why they also abuse addictive substances. The idea is that by abusing substances, they can avoid or null their PTSD symptoms. Individuals with PTSD and a co-occurring substance abuse disorder have a higher chance of abusing alcohol over addictive drugs like opiates. After constant opiate use, there is an increase in the likelihood of developing PTSD or other mental health disorders. Other situations include the misuse of opiate prescriptions given to individuals recovering from PTSD. Depressive symptoms have also been shown to intervene between opiate abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder partly. The prescription drugs given to individuals for the treatment of PTSD, such as opiates, are very addictive, and if misused, they can have serious ramifications. It is essential to know the signs of both opiate addiction and PTSD to ensure the necessary steps are taken towards addiction recovery.
Many individuals who seek out treatment for opiate addiction struggle with dealing with painful emotions effectively, so they turn to alcohol or drugs to escape from their discomfort. Sadly, most of them have also gone through more than one traumatic occurrence in their lives, such as childhood neglect and abuse. These individuals may not even recognize that their trauma is the cause of their substance abuse disorder and pain.
EMDR therapy as a psychotherapy treatment approach uses eye movements to help clients reprocess their traumatic memories. Therapists can pair these EMDR eye movements with bilateral simulations such as auditory tones or tapping to help the individual deal with disturbing information using a better memory process. Successful processing of traumatic events through EMDR allows the client to no longer relive the disturbing sensations, feelings, and thoughts associated with their past traumatic events.
The principle behind EMDR therapy is that the mind has a natural healing process, just like the physical body. Any disruption in the mind’s healing process can prevent mental health recovery and spread to one’s physical health. When one cannot process trauma, it results from a block in their natural capacity to process the situation thoroughly and become mentally healthy. EMDR therapy eliminates this mental block to allow faster reprocessing of trauma and offering the patient emotional and mental healing and relief. When one goes through something traumatic, they remain stuck in the beliefs, sensations, thoughts, and images related to this frightening situation. EMDR therapy helps to get them out of this negative headspace. Once the discomforting symptoms of PTSD reduce, the patient starts looking at their past trauma in a more positive light. They no longer look at themselves as victims and can advance to other crucial elements of their opiate addiction treatment.
EMDR therapy can benefit individuals suffering from opiate addiction, but it is also good to supplement it with substance abuse treatment to ensure long-term recovery. The individual needs to be ready to deal with their trauma and work through it via EMDR therapy. They should also be dedicated to staying the entire course of their opiate addiction treatment. Good candidates for EMDR therapy are ideally emotionally and mentally stable.
Combining EMDR Therapy With Substance Abuse Treatment
Checking into an inpatient addiction rehabilitation center is advantageous when incorporating EMDR therapy because the patients are observed all through the day. There is also staff all-around to offer them the additional and necessary care and support. EMDR therapy for effective substance addiction treatment works best when used together with conventional substance abuse treatment. Thus, EMDR should be approached as a supporting treatment method and not the primary focal point of treatment.
Clients undertaking substance abuse treatment for opiate addiction in an outpatient environment might need to develop a good support network and establish additional resource-building activities before taking up EMDR. Such individuals lack the safety offered by a residential treatment setting, so they must have the support offered by a 12-step program. They will also need to work with sponsors and develop alternative coping mechanisms and resources to help them deal with their trauma. Dealing with one’s trauma can be painful, and it is possible to fall back into old coping mechanisms, such as the increased need to use opiate drugs or alcohol.
EMDR therapy helps patients suffering from opiate addiction heal from any traumatic wounds they have while helping them adapt better and deal with the triggers that made them start using drugs for relief. EMDR is a beneficial stimulant in reducing internal triggers and promoting advancement in substance abuse treatment.