Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy for Anxiety Disorder
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry or unease. It is based on our mental and physical response to how our brain perceives something as terrifying, and is often described as, “something awful is going to happen and I won’t be able to cope”. Our body responds by automatically releasing the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which make our heart beat faster. We then prepare to run away, fight, or freeze – this is known as an acute stress response, or ‘fight, flight or freeze’.
For many people, this response is activated when there is no actual physical danger present. It may be triggered when we are asked to do something that is unfamiliar or when we are feeling overwhelmed. We then internalise these negative thoughts and feelings; our heart starts to pound, and we have no idea how to stop it. Everyone responds differently to anxiety. However, anxiety becomes a problem when the stress response is easily triggered and regularly having an impact on our daily life.
Below are some common symptoms of an anxiety disorder:
- Dizziness, increased heart rate and faster breathing
- Avoiding situations and escaping (leaving the party early)
- Sleeping difficulties and restlessness
- Overthinking and ruminating
Different types of Anxiety:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder –is a sense of persistent and excessive worry that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of issues, rather than one event. Some people may even anticipate a disaster.
- Social Anxiety – this is where you have intense feelings of self-consciousness. It is more than shyness; it is an overwhelming fear of social situations, such as speaking out loud in a group or choosing not to go to a party.
- Phobias – this is characterised by an overwhelming fear brought about by a specific object, situation, animal, bird, and so on. For example, a fear of flying, being in a small space, spiders or needles.
- Panic Disorders – this is the sudden onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes. Symptoms include chest pain, uncontrollable breathing pattern, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling or shaking, the feeling of heart palpitations and being smothered. You may feel as if you are having a heart attack, which can be a frightening experience. However, it is important to consult your GP to confirm a diagnosis of Panic Disorder before seeking therapy.
It is always recommended to visit a doctor to determine whether there is a medical cause for your anxiety. There are certain common conditions that are connected to the presence of anxiety, including diabetes, asthma, hypertension and heart disease. In some cases, anxiety can arise from alcohol and substance abuse; using such substances to try to manage your anxiety could aggravate your condition.
An untreated Anxiety Disorder can cause serious problems, but you can learn how to manage anxious thoughts and feelings.
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy targets the underlying causes of your worries and fears – not just the symptoms. It will challenge your irrational thoughts, so you can identify how your behaviour is impacting on your life and causing difficulties. This method of treatment is designed specifically for your personal symptoms.
- Learn how to relax both mentally and physically, including muscle relaxation.
- Identify unhelpful thoughts about situations that trigger an anxious response. Together, we will restructure these thoughts, replacing with more realistic ideas.
- Identify your behavioural response to anxious situations – for example, how to cope in a social situation. By gradually increasing your exposure to difficult tasks, you will move towards how you would like to behave in such situations.
- Develop flexibility in your thinking and practise new ways of behaving using guided imagery.
- Tailoring positive suggestions using hypnotherapy to access the unconscious mind and promote positive change.
By learning how to manage your anxiety, you can start to enjoy a happier lifestyle. Please get in touch to find out how Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy can help you.