Overcome Depression

Depression and trauma go hand in hand. Many people who have experienced trauma have symptoms of depression. When the body and mind are overwhelmed by a traumatic event its natural response is to shut down emotions and feelings…both good and bad. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a non-drug treatment that can help some people with depression. EMDR therapy is highly effective for PTSD and trauma based depression.

20 million people suffer from depression in the US. Symptoms of depression include; sadness, loss of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, change in weight, difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, energy loss, feelings of worthlessness, thoughts of death or suicide. People can be diagnosed with depression when their symptoms last two or more weeks.

Depression Caused By Trauma

If the depression is trauma based then EMDR clears the trauma so that the depression can go away. EMDR can heal trauma based depression whether it is related to PTSD or smaller ” t” trauma such as relational injuries.

Typical individuals who might find relief from EMDR for their depression include those who have experienced a major trauma such as physical or sexual abuse in childhood; a serious accident; a natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood, or earthquake; or a man made disaster such as war. Researchers have also found EMDR therapy effective for the treatment of prolonged stress that may be causing depression, such as growing up with alcoholism, surviving ongoing or multiple affairs, or living in poverty or with loved ones who are mentally ill.

People with early onset childhood trauma are more likely to struggle with depression than people who have experienced a more recent or a single incident traumatic event. For people who have experienced early childhood trauma much of their depression origins come from impaired attachments with caregivers or parents. In treating trauma related depression I use EMDR to process early life attachment injuries as well as current relationships issues.

Some trauma causing depression is subtle. I work with clients to identify even subtle traumas that could be causing or affecting depressive states. Once the trauma begins to lift I also will target the trauma of having depression and fear of the depression returning.

Other Causes Of Depression

EMDR therapy is highly effective for PTSD and trauma based depression. It can also be helpful for relieving symptoms and improving stabilization from other causes of depression such as Bipolar Disorder, genetic major depression and low grade depression called Dysthymia. EMDR therapy does not alleviate mood disorders but can help people to manage their mood and affect and increase coping skills and positive thoughts and feelings about themselves. It can also help to increase their internal resources and allow them to envision a future that they can feel positive and confident about.

Even if depression is not originally caused by trauma people can develop trauma related symptoms with ongoing stress or chronic medical situations. EMDR can relieve the trauma and lessen the symptoms.  Some individuals experience depression from non traumatic events such as medical issues or from situational stress.

These can include:

  • Serious or long term illness
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Long term physical or emotional stress
  • Grief
  • Nutrition or vitamin deficiencies
  • Sleep disorders (Apnea)
  • Pregnancy or childbirth
  • Substance use
  • Head injuries

EMDR therapy can target losses related to long term depression such as, inability to have fun, low sex drive, loss of friends, job and relationships.  It can also target fear of depression staying or returning.  Further targets can be related to clients negative thoughts of themselves including; Its my fault, I am a failure, I am hopeless, I am crazy and I am defective to name a few.

Holistic Approach

Depression effects the whole body both emotionally, physically and spiritually. As a Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine  provider I take a holistic approach in helping clients to heal from depression. In addition to the use of EMDR therapy research shows the benefit for some clients in combining adjunctive treatments. To recover from trauma and depression clients benefit in engaging in self care methods to build resiliency to life stressors and to prevent relapse. I may recommend the following holistic approaches to my clients:

  • Develop a sleep hygiene plan
  • Increase social supports/engagement
  • Regular exercise
  • Neurofeedback
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Reducing or eliminating substances
  • Using Mental Health Integrative Medicine approaches
  • Consultation with physicians or nautorpaths regarding medication or supplements
  • Light therapy
  • Body work (massage, Reiki or acupuncture)