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EMDR as a Treatment for Long-Term Depression

Written by: Wood, E., Ricketts, T., & Parry, G. (2018)

Edited by: EMDR-Zone Editorial Team

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Dive into the latest research on EMDR, revealing its superior effectiveness in treating depression.

Failed to find relief? EMDR offers more than 50% reduction in depression.

Introduction to EMDR and its Potential for Long-term Depression

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic approach that was initially conceptualized and developed for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Over the years, the therapeutic community has recognized the intricate connection between traumatic events and the onset or exacerbation of depression. This has led to a burgeoning interest in understanding and exploring the potential of EMDR in addressing long-term depression. The primary objective of this study was to delve deeper into this potential, determining not only the feasibility of EMDR for such cases but also its acceptability among patients and its efficacy in symptom reduction.

The Prevalence and Challenges of Long-term Depression

Depression, when it becomes chronic or long-term, can manifest in two primary forms: recurrent major depressive disorder (characterized by experiencing two or more episodes) and persistent depressive disorder (which lasts for a duration exceeding 2 years). The challenge with long-term depression is its resistance to traditional treatments. Current therapeutic interventions, including pharmacological treatments and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), often yield a response rate that is less than 50%. This underscores the pressing need for alternative or complementary treatment modalities.

EMDR's Theoretical Foundation and its Connection to Trauma

At the heart of EMDR is the adaptive information processing model (AIP). This model suggests that pathologies arise from problematic memories associated with traumatic or distressing events. It's crucial to note that these memories aren't solely limited to cases of PTSD. Depression, especially when chronic, often has roots in negative life events. Moreover, individuals who suffer from chronic depression frequently report higher instances of early life adversities. This makes childhood trauma a significant and undeniable risk factor for depression in later stages of life.

Study Design and Methodology