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Title: Alterations in autonomic tone during trauma exposure using eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)--results of a preliminary investigation
Author(s): M. Sack, W. Lempa, A. Steinmetz, F. Lamprecht and A. Hofmann
Journal: J.Anxiety.Disord.
Year: 2008
Volume: 22
Issue: 7
Pages: 1264--1271
Publisher address: Klinikum rechts der Isar, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Technical University Munich, Langerstrasse 3, 81675 Munich, Germany.
File URL: vuams-pubs/Sack_2008.pdf
Keywords: Adolescent, Adult, Arousal, Cardiography,Impedance, Child, Desensitization,Psychologic, diagnosis, Electrocardiography, Female, Heart, Heart Rate, Humans, instrumentation, Life Change Events, Male, Middle Aged, physiology, psychology, Psychometrics, Psychophysiology, Respiration, Saccades, Stress Disorders,Post-Traumatic, therapy, Time Factors
Abstract: EMDR combines stimuli that evoke divided attention--e.g. eye movements--with exposure to traumatic memories. Our objective was to investigate psycho-physiological correlates of EMDR during treatment sessions. A total of 55 treatment sessions from 10 patients with PTSD was monitored applying impedance cardiography. Onset of every stimulation/exposure period (n=811) was marked and effects within and across stimulation sets on heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV), pre-ejection period (PEP) and respiration rate were examined. At stimulation onsets a sharp increase of HRV and a significant decrease of HR was noticed indicating de-arousal. During ongoing stimulation, PEP and HRV decreased significantly while respiration rate significantly increased, indicating stress-related arousal. However, across entire sessions a significant decrease of psycho-physiological activity was noticed, evidenced by progressively decreasing HR and increasing HRV. These findings suggest that EMDR is associated with patterns of autonomic activity associated with substantial psycho-physiological de-arousal over time

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