Since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year, many are suffering with mental health problems. Depression and anxiety are at an all-time high, but what about those who have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)? If you suffer from PTSD, then you know that everyday triggers can be debilitating.
Triggers are hard enough to cope with, and the pandemic adds an extra layer of stress for many people. If your PTSD has been worse because of COVID-19, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy may be the key to coping with your trauma.
The Triggering Effects of COVID-19
For those with PTSD, the pandemic has potentially added to their trauma. COVID-19 has caused uncertainty, fear, and panic — all things that are associated with trauma.
Though your triggering event may have occurred several years ago, the feeling of uncertainty from the pandemic could serve as a trigger. COVID-19 has brought on a wave of trauma all its own and many of us are still figuring out how to cope with it.
What Is EMDR?
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR, is a type of psychotherapy. Unlike traditional therapy, EMDR does not rely on talking or recounting your trauma. Instead, EMDR focuses on your eye movements to lessen the effect of a triggering memory.
EMDR can treat anxiety, phobias, eating disorders, and panic attacks, but it is especially beneficial for those with trauma symptoms and PTSD.
How EMDR Helps with Trauma
When you experience a traumatic memory, it takes an emotional toll. You may feel panicky, emotional, and experience a racing heartbeat. Severe flashbacks can be completely disabling for some people.
EMDR works to weaken the effects of these symptoms. Over time, with EMDR therapy, your emotional response to triggering memories will become less severe.
What to Expect From an EMDR Session
Instead of relying on talk therapy, EMDR will be more about action. You will have to talk about your trauma, but instead of talking about it with you, your therapist will focus on eye movements. While you recount a traumatic memory, your therapist will either give you an auditory or visual stimulus, and ask that you follow them with your eyes or by listening.
Slowly, your therapist will then shift your thoughts to more pleasant ones. Over time, the technique can help weaken the effects of remembering a traumatic incident. And this can lead to overall fewer symptoms.
The Benefits of EMDR
The main goal of EMDR is to lessen the effects of your triggers and traumatic memories. When you have a traumatic flashback, it can severely impact your emotional and physical well-being.
With EMDR therapy, you can gradually improve your emotional and physical health. While you may never completely forget your traumatic memories, EMDR provides a way to cope and move forward.
Embracing EMDR Therapy as an Option
It’s not easy to cope with trauma, and COVID-19 has made it even more difficult for many people. If you feel stuck in a loop of traumatic memories, there are resources available. Consider EMDR therapy to help lessen the emotional effects of your traumatic memories. It may take multiple sessions, but EMDR therapy can shift how you feel about your trauma over time.