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The Effect of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) on the severity of suicidal thoughts in patients with major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial

Authors Fereidouni Z, Behnammoghadam M, Jahanfar A, Dehghan A

Received 1 April 2019

Accepted for publication 12 August 2019

Published 27 August 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 2459—2466

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S210757

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Zhila Fereidouni,1 Mohammad Behnammoghadam,2 Abdolhadi Jahanfar,1 Azizallah Dehghan3

1Department of Medical Surgical Nursing, Nursing School, Fasa University of Medical Sciences, Fasa, Iran; 2Department of Critical Care Nursing, Yasuj University of Medical Sciences, Yasuj, Iran; 3Noncommunicable Diseases Research Center, Fasa University of Medical Sciences, Fasa, Iran

Correspondence: Abdolhadi Jahanfar
Department of Medical Surgical Nursing, Nursing School, Fasa University of Medical Sciences, Fasa Ibn Sina Square, PO Box 7461686688, Fasa, Iran
Email jahanfarhadi91@gmail.com

Mohammad Behnammoghadam
Department of Critical Care Nursing, Yasuj University of Medical Sciences, Yasuj, Iran
Email mbehnam1363@gmail.com

Objective: Depression is a major risk factor for suicide and more than 90% of people who attempt suicide suffer from depression. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy on the severity of suicidal thoughts in patients with major depressive disorder.
Study design: Randomized Clinical Trial.
Methods: This clinical trial was performed on 70 people with major depressive disorder who exhibited suicidal thoughts. The patients were selected via convenience sampling and were randomly divided into control (n=35) and experimental (n=35) groups. EMDR was performed individually in the experimental group for 45–90 min, 3 days per week, on alternate days, for 3 weeks (9 sessions in total), whereas the controls group received routine treatment without intervention. Both groups completed the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSSI) at pre- and post-test. The obtained data were analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistics using SPSS 22 (α=0.05).
Results: Mean BSSI score for the experimental group was reduced significantly at post-test (11.11±4.15) compared to pre-test (26.48±5.74) (p<0.001). Although the control group’s mean BSSI score was also reduced at post-test (24.93±4.42) compared to pre-test (26.68±5.05), this difference was not statistically significant (p>0.05).
Conclusion: EMDR therapy has been shown in this study to reduce the severity of suicidal feelings. Therefore, it can be recommended as an alternative treatment method for reducing the severity of suicidal thoughts in patients with major depressive disorder.

Keywords: major depressive disorder, suicidal thoughts, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing

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