Hypnotherapy and Counselling for Anxiety

People experience anxiety at different levels. Mild anxiety can start with excessive worrying which removes the joy from your life to acute anxiety and anxiety attacks which are terrifying and debilitating.
 

What is Anxiety

A certain amount of anxiety is normal and can motivate us into action. Many people experience a general state of worry or fear before facing a challenging situation such as exams, public speaking, driving test or interview. Anxiety becomes a problem when symptoms become severe and affect the person’s ability to function normally. 
 

The 'fight or flight' reflex

Anxiety and fear are actually important for survival because they act as a mechanism to protect the body against stress or danger. Anxiety and fear trigger the release of hormones, such as adrenalin. Adrenalin causes your heart to beat faster to carry blood where it's most needed. You breathe faster to provide the extra oxygen required for energy. You sweat to prevent overheating. Your mouth may feel dry, as your digestive system slows down to allow more blood to be deflected to your muscles. Your senses become heightened and your brain becomes more alert. These changes enable the body to take action and protect itself in a dangerous situation, either by running away or fighting a foe. It is known as the 'fight or flight' reaction. Once the danger has passed, other hormones are released, which may cause you to shake as your muscles start to relax.

Anxiety becomes a problem when it is constant and prevents us from doing various things in life like flying or public speaking.
 

Symptoms of Anxiety

The psychological symptoms of anxiety include:
 
  • Feeling worried or uneasy a lot of the time, 
  • Having difficulty sleeping - making you feel tired, 
  • An inability to concentrate, 
  • Being irritable or quick to get angry, 
  • Feeling that you have no control over your actions, or 
  • Feeling detached from your environment. 
  • Feeling that you are going mad
  • Feeling that you might be dying
  • Feeling something bad will happen if you don’t do certain things
Feeling anxious can not only affect you emotionally, but it can also mean you experience unpleasant physical symptoms, such as:
 
  • Fast heart rate, 
  • Breathing faster, 
  • Palpitations (irregular heart beats), 
  • Feeling sick, 
  • Chest pains, 
  • Headaches, 
  • Dry mouth, and 
  • Sweating
Causes of anxiety disorders

Anxiety can be caused by the following:
 
  • Go through a stressful, life-changing event such as a bereavement, or witness something traumatic 
  • Have another mental health condition, such as depression or alcohol dependence 
  • Have a physical illness, such as a thyroid disorder 
  • Take illegal substances such as amphetamines, LSD and ecstasy 
  • Are withdrawing from long-term use of some medicines, such as tranquillisers 
Some people seem to be born with a tendency to be more anxious than others. This means anxiety disorders may be genetically inherited. Equally, people who are not naturally anxious can become so if they are put under intense pressure. If someone is anxious for a long period of time it can become a habit, and therefore, when more stress occurs, which intensifies the anxiety and this can create a never-ending cycle of anxiety. 
 

How can Hypnotherapy help?

Hypnotherapy, first of all, is a state of deep relaxation for the mind and body. The relaxation alone helps a client break the cycle of constant anxiety because under hypnosis the client may feel truly calm and relaxed for the first time in years. The body is then more likely to respond to signals of relaxation and then self-hypnosis can be a very simple tool used to continue to break the habit of anxiety. Instead of anxiety being the natural response to life, relaxation can be the new natural response.
 

How can Psychotherapy help?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been proven to be very successful in treating anxiety and anxiety disorders. CBT addresses negative patterns in the way we view ourselves and the world.
 
  • Cognitive therapy examines how negative thoughts, or cognitions, contribute to anxiety. 
  • Behaviour therapy examines how you behave and react in situations that cause anxiety. 
There are different types of anxiety:
 

Phobias 

A phobia is a fear that totally out of proportion to any real danger, although the feeling of fear and terror is very real to the person experiencing it. A phobia fear is irrational but extremely intense and disabling. Some examples of common phobias are flying, spiders and snakes, blood, needles, enclosed spaces and heights.
 

Panic disorder attacks

Panic attacks are extremely frightening. There may be something that triggers a panic attack but they can also materialize or no apparent reason. A panic attack can make you feel as though you are going mad, about to die and that you are powerless in the face of it.
 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder 

OCD involves having repeated, obsessive thoughts called obsessions and compulsions which are rituals and actions which are undertaken in order to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts. OCD can be mild through to severe.

We have all double checked we have turned the iron or oven off and made sure the front door was locked several times, but then carry on with our normal day and not give it a second thought. People with OCD are unable to do this and life can become distressing and debilitating.

The following are some common obsessions:
 
  • Fear of dirt or germs
  • Disgust with bodily waste or fluids
  • Concern with order, symmetry (balance) and exactness
  • Worry that a task has been done poorly, even when the person knows this is not true
  • Fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts
  • Thinking about certain sounds, images, words or numbers all the time
  • Need for constant reassurance
  • Fear of harming a family member or friend
The following are some common compulsions:
 
  • Cleaning and grooming, such as washing hands, showering or brushing teeth over and over again
  • Checking drawers, door locks and appliances to be sure they are shut, locked or turned off
  • Repeating actions, such as going in and out of a door, sitting down and getting up from a chair, or touching certain objects several times
  • Ordering and arranging items in certain ways
  • Counting to a certain number, over and over
  • Saving newspapers, mail or containers when they are no longer needed
  • Seeking constant reassurance and approval

Post-traumatic stress disorder 

You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if you have experienced or have witnessed a traumatic event such as car and train crashes, rape and sexual abuse, violent attacks, natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes, sudden death of a loved one and childhood neglect. PTSD was first highlighted by war veterans and it was known as shell shock or battle fatigue. PTSD symptoms include anxiety, which may come and go, and recurring thoughts, memories, images, dreams or distressing 'flashbacks' of the trauma. PTSD may develop years after the traumatic event has occurred.
 
  1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event 
  2. Avoiding reminders of the trauma 
  3. Increased anxiety and emotional arousal 
Symptoms of PTSD: Re-experiencing the traumatic event 
 
  • Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event 
  • Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again) 
  • Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things) 
  • Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma 
  • Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating) 
Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing
 
  • Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma 
  • Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma 
  • Loss of interest in activities and life in general 
  • Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb 
  • Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career) 
Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal
 
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep 
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”) 
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled 

Generalised anxiety disorder 

GAD is constant, excessive and exaggerated worry about everyday life such as health, money, family and work. Daily life becomes joyless because there is now a constant state of fear, dread and worry. The feelings of fear are often exaggerated and therefore out of proportion for the situation. This can interfere with normal, daily functioning.
 

Social anxiety 

Social anxiety is also known as social phobia and is actually quite common so you are not alone. It involves powerful and sometimes overwhelming fear of normal social situations such as going to the pub. People with social phobia feel they are being watched, judged and talked about by others.

To reclaim your life back call Nicky on 07715 770696 or 01276 676690 and book your Free Consultation.