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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing for Depression, Anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness

Published on: July 21, 2017
Project Number: RC0907-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report


  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing for adult patients with depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder?

Key Message

Based on low-quality studies, for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there is a suggestion that treatment with eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) results in significantly better outcomes when compared to waitlist or usual care. Outcomes in PTSD patients treated with EMDR compared to other active treatment modalities were inconsistent.For patients with depression, two studies suggested that treatment with EMDR results in significantly better outcomes when compared to waitlist or usual care.For patients with anxiety disorder, one study suggested that treatment with EMDR was less effective than competitive memory training. Findings need to be interpreted with caution considering the limitations.


mental health, combat disorders, depression, depressive disorder, eye movement desensitization reprocessing, stress disorders, post-traumatic, veterans, occupational stress, PTSD, eye movement therapy, military personnel, eye movement therapies