EMDR treatment shows promise for veterans with PTSD

The ever-increasing number of military veterans arriving home with post traumatic stress disorder continues to rise. These numbers call for open minds when it comes to treatment, and those with open minds are finding new and exciting possibilities within treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR).

This relatively new form of treatment has proven very effective in the treatment of PTSD, and, at least in Europe, the military is beginning to take notice. Whether the United States Armored Forces chooses to take notice or not, the results veterans who have undergone EMDR have experienced make its potential positive effect on the military community undeniable.

At this point, the uninitiated are no doubt wondering exactly what EMDR is. EMDR takes traumatic experiences stuck in our adaptive memory, and moves them into our non-adaptive memory, where they belong. While the patient thinks of a traumatic image, they are taken through a series of eye movements using any number of objects. In addition to eye moment, sounds may also be used to help activate networks in the brain that may be blocked. By clearing these pathways, the mind can then properly process thoughts and anxieties, reducing lingering effects and allowing patients to develop better coping mechanisms.

While it all may seem a little strange, or even science fiction like, to many, there is no arguing with the results, or the increasing popularity of this form of treatment. Across the pond, the Armed Forces are taking notice. By way of example, EMDR treatment is now available to British solders in all defense health centers. The United States military, however, has thus far not followed suit.

What will it take to make EMDR available to U.S. soldiers? The navigation of millions of miles of red tape, no doubt, but in the meantime those outside the official military complex are doing their part to bring EMDR to soldiers suffering from PTSD. Websites such as www.emdr4vets.com can help veterans in certain states to educate themselves about this exciting therapy and find therapists who offer it.

Veterans are better represented in government jobs, especially at the federal level where vets earn preference points that can give them an edge in hiring decisions. Vets are also slightly more likely than non-vets to hold state jobs, and local government offers vets many career opportunities, particularly in law enforcement where military training and service are strongly applicable to police and security jobs.

The increased spotlight on Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing is a good thing for U.S. military veterans. While this treatment may not yet be available as part of their military benefits, awareness of the effectiveness of EMDR on the symptoms of PTSD gives veterans another viable option with which to heal.