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.
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. 20 million people suffer from depression in the US.
If the depression is trauma based then EMDR clears the trauma and the depression goes away. EMDR can heal trauma based depression whether it is related to PTSD or smaller ” t” trauma such as relational injuries. Some trauma causing depression is subtle. We work with clients to identify even subtle traumas that could be causing or affecting depressive states.
Research studies show the effectiveness of EMDR on depression.
- In the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health a 2015 article showed sixty-eight percent of the patients in the EMDR group showed full remission at end of treatment. In a follow-up period of more than 1 year the EMDR group reported less problems related to depression and less relapses than the control group. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4467776/.
- Systematic studies have demonstrated the effects of EMDR therapy on PTSD-related depression. Renowned trauma specialist Besel van der Kolk and colleagues in a randomized clinical trial compared the effectiveness of fluoxetine (Prozac) treatment with EMDR therapy and placebo in a PTSD population (van der Kolk et al. 2007). After the intervention the EMDR group had significantly lower BDI scores than the fluoxetine group. This led the authors of this study to conclude that, “once the trauma is resolved, other domains of psychological functioning appear to improve spontaneously”.
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.
Depression effects the whole body both emotionally, physically and spiritually. We 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.
We may recommend the following holistic approaches to our clients:
- Increase social supports/engagement
- Regular exercise
- Yoga and meditation
- Reducing or eliminating substances
- Consultation with physicians or nautorpaths regarding medication or supplements
- Light therapy
- Body work (massage, Reiki or acupuncture)
- Essential Oils