Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Versus Treatment as Usual in the Treatment of Depression: A Randomized-Controlled Trial

Front Psychol. 2018 Aug 14;9:1384. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01384. eCollection 2018.


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a well-established treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Recent research suggested that it may be effective in treating depressive disorders as well. The present study is part of a multicenter randomized-controlled trial, the EDEN study, in which a homogenous group of 30 patients was treated to test whether EMDR plus treatment as usual (TAU) would achieve superior results compared to TAU only in a psychosomatic-psychotherapeutic inpatient treatment setting. Both groups were assessed by the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and the Global Severity Index and depression subscale of the Symptom Checklist 90-Revised. The EMDR + TAU group improved significantly better than the TAU group on the BDI-II and Global Severity Index, while a marginally significant difference favoring the EMDR + TAU group over the TAU group was found on the depression subscale. In the EMDR + TAU group, seven out of 14 patients improved below nine points on the BDI-II, which is considered to be a full remission, while four out of 16 in the TAU group did so. These findings confirm earlier suggestions that EMDR therapy may provide additional benefit in the treatment of depression. The present study strengthens the previous literature on EMDR therapy in the treatment of depression due to the randomized-controlled design of the EDEN study.

Keywords: Beck Depression Inventory; depression; eye movement desensitization and reprocessing; randomized-controlled trial; symptom checklist 90-revised.