The statistics are staggering! According the National Institute of Mental Health: "An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older - about one in four adults - suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. A report on mental illness prepared by Health Canada in 2002 stated that: "Twenty percent of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness during their lifetime."
What is a DSM-III-R disorder? Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder or bi-polar disorders to name a few. But how many people even know what these illnesses look like? If they do, do they know what to do about it or what the best treatment option is?
Often people ignore the symptoms of depression, symptoms such as trouble sleeping and eating, low mood, or lack of motivation. People who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks often think they have heart problems, and only find out they are suffering from an anxiety disorder when they end up in the E.R. department in the middle of a panic attack. I would guess most people have no idea what bi-polar disorder looks like, or what Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is.
Some people go to their family doctor who prescribes some kind of medication (not always the correct one). I have had clients who do not wish to take medications. They don't like the side effects. And then I have others who have come for counseling or psychotherapy because they have tried taking different medications and nothing works or they have been taking the same medication for years, and either have not seen any improvement or minimal gains. They all want better results and a happier life, which they deserve!
Family doctors are not always the most knowledgeable when it comes to these illnesses. And in fairness, how could they be? They are general practitioners who treat a wide variety of issues, problems and health concerns. And like other illnesses, if the symptoms persist, sometimes family doctors will refer their patients to specialists who understand, assess and treat these disorders.
Psychologists, social workers and other therapists are trained in a variety of treatment techniques because different problems require different treatments. In my opinion, because of personal and professional experience, EMDR is one of the most consistently effective treatment options. According to Wikipedia: "Based on the evidence of randomised controlled research trials both the practice guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs and Defense have placed EMDR in the highest category of effectiveness and research support in the treatment of trauma."
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk talked about his amazing EMDR vs Prozac study. 80% of adult onset trauma completely cleared PTSD & Depression after 8 weeks of treatments. Prozac people felt better until they stopped taking the drugs. EMDR folks got better and better for months after treatments, and stayed that way.
This is a very cool study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17284128
Do not get me wrong. I am not against medications and I use whatever treatment techniques work with my clients. I just love the positive results that my clients are getting when we do EMDR! And it is all natural -- no medications needed!