Bipolar disorder (BD) is associated with a lifelong episodic course of severe mood and behavioral disturbance. In last decades treatment improved with numerous pharmacological and psychosocial treatments; however, subsequent mood episode rates are still high and possible risk factors for subsequent mood episodes are not sufficiently addressed. Of note, childhood trauma and stressful life events represent significant, under-recognized, and often neglected environmental risk factors in the etiology and course of BD. Here, we summarize the evidence of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in BD with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or life traumatic events. So far, one case report study and one pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) have been published suggesting positive effect of EMDR therapy in BD. Currently, two larger further RCTs are ongoing to increase scientific evidence of the use of EMDR therapy in this indication, especially with a focus on its effect on relapse prevention. In addition, a functional neuroimaging case report of a bipolar subject versus 30 healthy controls showed first evidence that EMDR might modulate the default mode network. These preliminary results suggest that EMDR could be a promising and safe psychotherapeutic approach for the add-on treatment of bipolar subjects, but confirmative large RCT are needed, with two currently being conducted.
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Copyright © 2019 EMDR International Association
Valiente-Gómez, A., Moreno-Alcázar, A., Gardoki-Souto, I., Masferrer, C., Porta, S., Royuela, O., Hogg, B., Lupo, W., & Amann, B. L. (2019). Theoretical Background and Clinical Aspects of the Use of EMDR in Patients With Bipolar Disorder. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 13(4), 307–312. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-3220.127.116.117
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research