EMDR For Panic Attacks – How Does It Treat Anxiety?

EMDR For Panic Attacks

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. It affects 40 million adults in the US each year. While there are many different treatments available for anxiety. EMDR for panic attacks (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a relatively new treatment that has been shown to be very effective. In this blog post, we will discuss how EMDR works and how it can be used to treat panic attacks.

What Is EMDR For Panic Attacks?

EMDR is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that was developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Francine Shapiro. It is a technique used to treat individuals with psychological issues, such as trauma or PTSD, by utilizing bilateral stimulation of the eyes and other body movements. This bilateral stimulation works to reduce the intensity of disturbing memories and feelings associated with them.

It helps individuals process and reprocess traumatic memories or experiences that are causing them distress. This helps the client work through their memories and experiences in a safe, non-threatening environment.

Does EMDR Work For Panic Attacks?

Does EMDR Work For Panic Attacks?

EMDR has been found to be an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of panic disorder. In a study conducted on EMDR for panic attacks, researchers found that EMDR was more effective than standard care in reducing the frequency and intensity of panic attacks. Additionally, the study found that those who received EMDR treatment had better long-term outcomes when compared to those who received standard care.

EMDR Techniques For The Panic Attacks

Here are the main techniques EMDR therapists use for treating panic attacks:

Recall Past Events

During this phase, the therapist will work with the client to recall past events that may have contributed to their current anxiety. The goal is to understand the client’s current triggers so they can be addressed and managed more effectively. This work to better understand the underlying causes of panic attacks can help to reduce their intensity and frequency.

Get Prepare

The therapist will then help the client prepare and relax so they are better able to focus on their treatment. This includes breathing exercises, guided imagery, and other relaxation techniques.


The therapist will then work with the client to help them desensitize (or reduce the intensity of) their panic attack triggers. This is done by having the client focus on a single image, thought, or feeling at each EMDR session. The therapist will then use bilateral stimulation (eye movements, hand taps, or tones) to help the client reprocess the memories associated with their panic attack triggers. It helps you to deal with the certain memory that is causing you to have panic attacks by changing your association with it.


Lastly, the therapist will help the client to install new positive thoughts and images that can help them manage their anxiety. This helps them form healthier coping mechanisms and better manage their panic attacks in the future.

Body Scan

The therapist will also perform a body scan to check in with the client and see how they are feeling. This helps them stay mindful of their emotional and physical state during the EMDR treatment and can help them feel more in control.


At the end of each session, the therapist will discuss how the client is feeling and what they have learned. They will also provide guidance on how to continue using the techniques they have learned in their everyday life.


Finally, the therapist will re-evaluate the client’s progress and discuss any changes that may need to be made. This helps ensure that the client is receiving the best possible care and that they are making progress toward their goals.

What Is The Success Rate Of EMDR For Anxiety?

The success rate of EMDR for treating anxiety is very high. A study found that 83% of the participants who underwent EMDR treatment experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms. Additionally, those who received EMDR treatment were more likely to maintain their gains after therapy than those who received standard care.

Benefits Of EMDR For Panic Attacks

Benefits Of EMDR For Panic Attacks

Here are the main benefits of using EMDR for treating panic attacks:

  • Helps in negative thinking: EMDR helps in identifying and changing negative thought patterns that can lead to anxiety.
  • Aids in relaxation: EMDR provides a safe environment for the client to relax and gain control over their thoughts and emotions.
  • Improves self-esteem: By helping the client understand their triggers. The EMDR can help build healthier coping mechanisms which can improve the client’s overall self-esteem.
  • Reduces symptoms of panic attacks: Through desensitization techniques, EMDR helps clients reduce the frequency and intensity of their panic attacks.
  • Provides better long-term outcomes: Studies have found that those who receive EMDR treatment have better long-term outcomes compared to those who receive standard care.

Overall, EMDR is an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of panic attacks and helping to build healthier coping mechanisms. It is important to remember that everyone’s experience with EMDR will be different, but with the right support and guidance, it can provide positive results.

Problem With EMDR Therapy

Although EMDR has been shown to be an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of anxiety, it does not work for everyone. Some people may find it difficult to focus on the bilateral stimulation or may have difficulty recalling past events. Additionally, some people may not feel comfortable working with a therapist and may opt for other treatments. Some of its side effects are that it can cause fatigue, headaches, and disorientation. Sometimes a high sensitivity to emotions and disturbing dreams can be experienced after the session.

A controversy with EMDR therapy is that most psychological experts do not consider it helpful for anxiety treatment. They remark that there is no scientific evidence to prove its efficacy.


Overall, EMDR therapy is a promising treatment for those suffering from anxiety. It has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms and helping people maintain their gains after treatment. However, it may not be the best fit for everyone. You should discuss this with a qualified therapist before beginning any course of treatment. Those who are interested in using EMDR to reduce their panic attacks should speak with a mental health professional to determine if it is right for them.

For more information, please contact MantraCare. Anxiety is a common mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of worry, fear, and apprehension. If you have any queries regarding Online Anxiety Counseling experienced therapists at MantraCare can help: Book a trial Anxiety therapy session

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