Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
Is it effective to use hypnosis or hypnotherapy for anxiety?
Anxiety and anxiety related conditions afflict an estimated 5% of the population, although many individuals do not seek treatment for mild anxiety, and thus this number could actually be significantly higher.
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A note about Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.
In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. Taking these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of certain holistic remedies.
Anxiety and related feelings of anxiousness or distress account for most of the initial complaints reported to psychiatrists, psychologists and general practitioners when beginning therapy. Therapist have found hypnosis to be particularly effective in treating a wide range of anxiety-related disorders such as post traumatic stress and obsessive compulsive disorder.
There are some common misconceptions when it comes to hypnotherapy for anxiety or other conditions. Hypnotherapy uses a variety of techniques to bring about the equivalent of a heightened state of awareness, rather than the "waking sleep" or "mind-controlled state" which some popular notions attribute to it.
While in a hypnotic state, the patient cannot be controlled by the therapist or made to perform actions he or she would not normally engage in. Rather, the patient's mind becomes supremely focused or concentrated on a specific task, and can better work to resolve problematic issues without the interference and distraction of the non-hypnotic state.
Prior to beginning hypnotherapy for anxiety, an individual should be evaluated to determine the anxiety condition. Most practitioners interview the patient to determine the root cause of the anxious feelings, which can be attributed from hypertension to stimulant abuse (such as the over consumption of caffeinated products, or the abuse of illicit drugs such as cocaine).
Also, certain cardiac conditions can mimic the sensations produced by an anxiety or panic attack, and should be ruled out prior to beginning a specific regimen of hypnotherapy for anxiety. Anxiety also factors in other psychiatric conditions, such as major depression and schizophrenia.
Of course, the treatment (including the hypnotic process) would differ for each of these conditions. Extenuating medical circumstances aside, anxiety conditions generally fall into three broad categories - chronic, continuing anxiety that does not diminish from day to day; panic attacks, in which the individual will be seized by feelings of anxiety, but between episodes remains relatively symptom-free; and finally, mixed syndromes that have anxiety as a key component. These include obsessive compulsive disorder, various phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorders.
As a therapeutic technique, hypnosis works to alleviate anxiety of several levels, and hypnotherapy for anxiety may be employed in conjunction with other behavioral modification techniques.
Hypnotically induced relaxation amplifies the body's and mind's response to suggested relaxation. On the level of the body, the fight or flight response that anxiety triggers can be halted, and the mind slowly detaches from the feelings of worry and stress that anxiety brings.
The hypnotic induction emphasizes the feeling of a calm and relaxed state - a heavy sensation to the body, ease and peace of mind. Several approaches to the induction process may need to be tested before finding the process that triggers the best relaxation response for an individual patient. These techniques include the counting method, progressive relaxation (body scan), counting with visualization or imagery, pure imagery, or the use of healing touch.
The hypnotic process follows several distinct stages. First the eyes are closed, followed by feelings of warmth and a heaviness to the body as both the mind and body sink deeper into a relaxed state. In the third stage, cardiac rhythm regularizes, along with the breath, which becomes attenuated.
The therapist then draws focus to the upper abdominal region, or core center. It is interesting to note that many hypnotic techniques draw heavily upon methods used in meditation, and that advanced meditation practitioners can place themselves in meditative states that mirror hypnotic states. Meditation, like hypnosis or hypnotherapy for anxiety, has become an ever increasingly accepted treatment for anxiety and related disorders.
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