Understanding your problems with Anxiety

By and large, anxiety disorders are thought to affect more individuals than any other physio-psychological condition. (Invariably, most of us will experience some level of anxiety, at some time in our lives.) In fact, from the phychological perspective, a degree of anxiety is to be expected, and considered healthy, when confronting new environments, social settings or conditions beyond our control.  Some evolutionary phychologists even think anxiety is essential to human survival, perhaps related to our internal fight-or-flight mechanism. Thus, it is only when anxiety reaches the level of interfering with normal activities that it is considered a problem.

Generally described as a negative mood state characterized by a number of physical and emotional symptoms including apprehension and physical tension (manifesting to varying degrees) triggered by an individual’s anticipation of impeding danger or misfortune, anxiety is both phychologically and biologically closely associated with fear and panic.  In fact, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder generally fall under the “anxiety disorders” umbrella. And while there are specific clinically-defined differences between anxiety, fear and panic. For some individuals the progression from one to another is a slippery slope that can quickly escalate, causing additional symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, sweating and heart palpitations. Thus, all three conditions are usually considered when designing treatment.

According to the most comprehensive data available, anxiety disorders are usually rooted in biology. While there is no pinpointed “anxiety gene,” increasing evidence indicates that we inherit our tendency to be tense or “uptight.” An in that panic attacks also seem to run in families, there appears to be a biological component to this condition, too. (Again, this may well be a throw-back to primitive  brain development whereby bodily functions needed to be hardwired to our internal danger-alert system.) But in some individuals, this mediating system is apparently on ultra-high alert, warning not only of apparent danger, but imagined danger.

Treating Anxiety and Stress with Hypnosis

Although the most common approaches to treating anxiety disorders for the past few decades have been psychotherapeutic cognitive-behaviorial treatments and anxiety-reducing drugs (or a combination of both,) in that psychological adjustment can take upwards of a year and drugs commonly prescribed for this condition can cause disorientation and impair driving, a groving number of patients are giving hypnosis a try.

Though utilizing much the same approach as the cognitive behaviorist, in vivo exposure, whereby the actual fear is indentified and gradually confronted by the patient, when conducted under deep relaxation and/or hypnosis provided by a qualified hypnotherapist, much of the general fear is alleviated, allowing the individual to better cope and control the worry process, while acquiring the ability to keep anxiety from escalating. The use of hypnosis is treating anxiety disorders has been long proven  and this approach shows great promise to many individuals who do not respond to conventional methods, or when used as a complementary modality.