EMDR therapy in Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) in-patients: clinical and biomarkers efficacy


Alessandra Minelli

Sunday 19 june 2016

11:15 - 11:45h at Kilimanjaro

Categories: Depression, Research

Parallel session: Research track: Addiction, Depression and Neurobiology


Life stress events (physical and emotional abuse) are relevant psychosocial risk factors for the development of Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD). TRD patients who have suffered life stress events could benefit from EMDR and obtain a more durable remission.

Recent studies showed that epigenetic processes are potentially reversible and suggest that psychological therapy efficacy could be associated with restoring the altered transcriptional pathways. We hypothesize that EMDR could impinge on these pathways.

We are carrying out a project in which about 40 TRD in-patients will be enrolled in the study: 20 will be treated with EMDR following the standard protocol in addition to pharmacological treatment. They will receive 3 individual sessions of 60 min per week for a period of 8 weeks, whereas the other 20 in-patients will be treated with trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) in addition to pharmacological treatment.

The symptomatological assessments will be performed at 4 timepoints: baseline (T0), 4 (T4), 8 (T8) and 12 (T12) weeks using Montgomery-├ůsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index in order to evaluate the clinical efficacy of the therapy, and using MINI-ICF-APP for monitoring changes in psychosocial functioning.

Blood samples will be collected at any timepoints for detecting putative EMDR biological effects.

Clinical preliminary data are showing a decrease in depressive and anxiety symptomatology in the EMDR group. The researchproject is in progress and in June we will present data of approximately 12 patients.


Co-authors: E. Tessari, R. Bazzanella, E. Zampieri, M. Gennarelli and M. Bortolomasi

More information

  • Location(s)
  • plattegrond Kilimanjaro