Anxiety is the body’s normal response to danger, and can be helpful in improving performance and preparing the body for action. However, when anxiety is experienced at inappropriate times or too intensely it is a cause of disease. Depression often follows on as a response to anxiety and may mask the original anxiety. People have varying degrees of background (or ‘trait’) anxiety, but also react differently to specific experiences, which may cause a ‘state’ anxiety.
symptoms of anxiety may include:
palpitations (racing heart),
shortage of breath, a tightness of
the chest, dry mouth, nausea,
trembling and sweating.
Psychological symptoms may include:
tension, agitation, fearing losing
control, irritability, dreading
catastrophic physical incapacitation
and feelings of detachment from the
outside world. Some people may
experience problems of
resulting in a so-called ‘panic
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
with high levels of trait anxiety
experience symptoms for much of the
time, not related to any specific
situation. It is common in people
who are depressed and may often
accompany phobias or be triggered by
physiological factors such as an
overactive thyroid. It is thought
that GAD affects about 1 in 20
adults in the UK, most commonly with
people in their 20s. Psychological
symptoms may include feeling
restless, feeling constantly 'on
edge', being unable to concentrate
on matters other than the worries,
being easily distracted and not
being able to work effectively.
Hypnotherapy can help with anxiety!
Hypnosis and hypnotherapy (in association with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT) are the best tools for treating anxiety, and the anxiety can often be managed in just a few sessions. This could involve:
Teaching relaxation; hypnosis itself is the best tool to achieve full body and mind relaxation, so even the first session brings strong relief
Dealing with the original causes and reasons for anxiety
Removing the fear of panic attacks (and this usually solves the panic attacks too)
Finding solutions for dealing with fearful situations and rehearsing them, using a combination of CBT and hypnosis
Building confidence and self-esteem by accessing client's natural resources on the subconscious level
Coaching for the future – it is very important that the client practices what has been identified in the hypnotherapy sessions, both in the real world and by using self-hypnosis techniques taught as part of the treatment.
four and five sessions are needed,
depending on the severity of anxiety
and how many other issues need
treatment. However, when the anxiety
is associated with depression,
feelings of low self-worth, eating
disorders or OCD, more sessions are
needed, because the real reason of
anxiety is very deeply rooted in
other mental issues and it is
important to clear them all.
A phobia is an extreme form of anxiety that is directed towards a particular object. When someone has an irrational fear that is out of all proportion to the situation, the usual response is to reduce the anxiety by avoiding the feared situation. Some phobias may be exaggerated responses to situations that evolution has conditioned us to avoid, such as poisonous snakes and insects, or heights. Some phobias may arise from non-threatening situations being associated in the unconscious mind with some traumatic experience, which may be completely unrelated to the original event! Even thinking of the situation may cause ‘anticipatory anxiety’ and an attempt to avoid it if at all possible.
Specific (or simple) phobias include: animals (particularly insects, spiders, snakes, birds or dogs), needles and sharp objects, blood, heights and flying (for details of our special fear of flying course, click here).
Complex phobias include agoraphobia and social phobia. Agoraphobia may manifest in a number of ways: a fear of leaving home, crowded places, travelling on public transport or being trapped in a lift. Agoraphobia may cause the sufferer to have panic attacks, and is often associated with depression. Social phobias may be associated with agoraphobia and involve a fear of social interaction. This could involve a fear of public speaking, social dining or simply talking to other people.
The 10 most commonly reported phobias in the UK, according to a survey by Anxiety UK, are:
Also very common phobias are:
Sociaphobia – fear of interacting with other people
Ophidiophobia – fear of snakes
Agoraphobia – fear of open public spaces
Astraphobia / Brontophobia – fear of thunder/lightning
Emetophobia – fear of vomiting
Trypanophobia – fear of needles
Erythrophobia – fear of blushing
Odontophobia – fear of dentists
Driving phobia – fear of driving a car
Acrophobia – fear of heights
Hypochondria – fear of illness
Cynophobia – fear of dogs
Aerophobia / aviophobia – fear of flying
|Carcinophobia - fear of cancer|
Arachnophobia – fear of spiders
|Haemophobia - fear of blood|
Zoophobia – fear of animals
|Necrophobia - fear of death or dead things|
Claustrophobia – fear of confined spaces
|Nomophobia - fear of no mobile phone contact!|
OCD is characterised by obsessional thoughts that repeatedly come onto the person’s mind, despite all efforts to stop them. The resultant conflict causes anxiety.
Obsessional thoughts commonly include such things as: a fear of dirt and germs, doubting something has been done (such as turning off the cooker, light switches or locking the doors), or some unpleasant images of harmful events. Obsessional acts include repetitive actions such as hand-washing, cleaning the house, compulsive shopping for unnecessary items, hoarding, or ritualistic behaviour.
CBT has been
increasingly used to challenge the
sufferer's irrational thinking,
together with hypnosis to 'rehearse'
more rational behaviours.
We all have an
instinctive stress response as part
of our survival programming for when
we are in danger. Hormones generate
instant mental and physical changes,
generally referred to as the ‘fight
or flight’ response. Unfortunately,
the pressures of modern life cause
us to remain stressed for longer
periods of time and when the ‘fight
or flight’ response is not
appropriate. The pressure is not
necessarily due to the stressor
itself, but to the person’s own
interpretation of it or the ability
to deal with it.
The repeated activation of the stress response leaves us with extra glucose surging through our systems that can result in aching limbs, neck ache, tiredness, dry mouth, stomach-ache, dizziness and depressed immune system making us more vulnerable to colds and flu. Over a long period this can also lead to hypertension or even heart attack or stroke.
With the help
of hypnotherapy, you may be able to
identify the cause(s) of your
stress. It may be a past experience,
a situation, a physical issue or
something to do with a relationship
that’s the main cause. After
discovering the root of the problem,
you will then agree upon a goal to
work towards. Hypnotherapy for
stress can start to work in a few
sessions, but it entirely depends on
your reaction to the therapy. After
attending a number of sessions and
practicing self-hypnosis at home,
you may start to feel more relaxed
and confident in the situations that
previously caused you to feel
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to an event resulting in psychological trauma such that the event persistently replays in the mind. The sufferer may avoid stimuli associated with the trauma and be subject to 'emotional numbing' of certain feelings. The symptoms are long-lasting and significantly impair aspects of the person's life.
techniques in hypnotherapy that can
safely be used to help a sufferer of
PTSD. Unlike other therapies, there
is no exposure to the traumatic
event, preventing unnecessary stress
for the client in recollecting the
event. It is also non-voyeuristic in
that the therapist does not need to
know all the details of the trauma.
The process need not be protracted
and it is never too late to help.
Thought to be the number-one psychological disorder in the Western world, symptoms comprise feelings, physical, thoughts and behaviours. Most depression is caused by unhelpful thinking styles or cognitive distortions.
The aim of hypnotherapy as a type of treatment for mild or moderate depression is to target the root cause of the issue and to develop better coping behaviours. In most circumstances you will usually forget or suppress the cause of your depression because of the association with negative feelings. It’s not difficult to forget an event on a conscious level, but it is on a subconscious level. This is why it’s best to confront the issue head on, rather than burying it, which canworsen your depression. Hypnotherapy connects directly with the subconscious mind. Hypnotherapy will address your perception of the event that has caused you to become depressed, aiming to improve your self-esteem, mood and help you gain your independence back.
You can contact h2 NATURAL HEALTH psychology of Perthshire on 01828 633033 or send a confidential email using the form on the contact page. Evening and weekend appointments are available.