Treating trauma with EMDR in adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) – A literature review

Description

Introduction
Little is known about trauma or treatment of trauma with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), in adults with ASD. Neither is it clear on how ASD influences the expression of posttraumatic stress.

Objectives
(1) To increase knowledge about treatment of trauma, and trauma related symptoms in adults with ASD. (2) To provide directionsfor research into the effects of EMDR on the expression of autistic and trauma related symptoms in adults with ASD.

Methods
Review of the literature using Cochrane Collaboration Centre, Embase, Medline, PsychINFO, PubMed and Web of Science.

Results
Clinicians often overlook trauma related symptoms in people with a severe mental illness like ASD, due to diagnostic overshadowing (Grubaugh, Cusack and Zinzow, 2008), caused by the overlap between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and ASD. In the case of diagnostic overshadowing, symptoms like avoidance, hyperarousal and reduced ability to mentalize (Plana, Lavoie, Battaglia and Achim, 2014) are attributed to ASD, while in actual fact they are manifestations of stress reactions related to perceived traumatic events. However, when symptoms are correctly attributed to negative experiences, clinicians tend to withhold treatment because of fear of aggravating symptoms (Frueh, Cusack, Grubaugh, Sauvageot and Wells, 2006). The literature suggests that trauma in adults with ASD is undertreated.

Conclusion
To our knowledge, the effects of EMDR in adults with ASD have not yet been studied, except at case level. A study protocol will be presented to assess the efficacy of EMDR treatment for trauma related symptoms in adults with ASD.

Format

Journal

Language

English

Author(s)

Bram Sizoo
Ella Lobregt

Original Work Citation

Sizzo, B., & Lobregt, E. (2016, March). Treating trauma with EMDR in adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) – A literature review. European Psychiatry, 33(Supplement), S561. doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2016.01.2081

Collection

Citation

“Treating trauma with EMDR in adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) – A literature review,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 22, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24273.

Output Formats