Anxiety is a normal response to stress or danger. The purpose of anxiety is to help prepare the body for action, and it can improve performance in a range of situations, this is known as the fight or flight response and is the body’s way of helping you in dangerous situations. Anxiety becomes a problem when it is experienced, inappropriately, intensely and interferes with a person's daily life.
Anxiety disorders can be loosely grouped into 3 categories:-
They tend to overlap considerably and it is not uncommon for people to have features of several of the disorders.
Generalised anxiety disorder is characterised by anxiety symptoms that can include :-
Fear of losing control,
Dread that something catastrophic is going to happen, such as a blackout, seizure, heart attack or death.
Feelings of detachment, as if being trapped in a bubble separate from the world.
Racing heart beat (palpitations).
Breathing fast, feeling short of breath or finding it hard to 'get breath'.
Butterflies in the stomach,
An urge to pass urine.
Tremor and Sweating.
With generalised anxiety disorder the symptoms a person experiences can be present for much of the time and not restricted to specific situations.
In panic disorder, repeated panic attacks occur unpredictably and often without obvious causes, a person can even awaken in the night having a panic attack. The attacks consist of severe anxiety with physical and psychological symptoms, they can be terrifying for the sufferer who often feels as if they are having a heart attack, they can not breathe or “they are going mad”.
A phobia is a fear that is out of proportion to the situation that causes it and cannot be explained away. The person typically avoids the feared situation, since this
helps to reduce the anxiety.
Some phobias represent heightened normal anxiety towards situations that people are evolutionarily 'prepared' to fear, e.g. snakes, heights and sharp objects.
In other instances, a phobia may arise by a non-threatening situation being associated with a traumatic experience. Having a car crash in Spain may lead to a phobia of Spain itself, holidays, driving or flying.
Phobias typically occur in specific situations, e.g. a fear of dentists. People experience 'anticipatory anxiety' when thinking of the situation and so attempt to avoid it. They are common in the general population, but are only severe enough to prove disabling in 2 per cent of people.
Simple phobias are phobias that are specific to objects or situations. Specific phobias include:
• Animal phobias (e.g. dogs, snakes, spiders): the start of these phobias is often in childhood, usually before the age of seven years.
• Blood and injury phobias: the fear of blood tests or the sight of blood that results in fainting.
• Vertigo: a fear of heights.
• Agoraphobia: an intense fear of leaving the home, being in crowded spaces, travelling on public transport and being in any place that is difficult to leave. Around 75 per cent of sufferers are women, and it occurs in just under 1 per cent of people. Agoraphobia may follow a life event and be associated with a fear of 'what if it comes back while I am away from home'. It commonly occurs with panic attacks. The person may have a panic attack when outside the home and this reinforces the belief that it is safer to stay inside. Agoraphobia is often associated with depression.
• Social phobia: a fear of social interaction with others, talking to people, eating, drinking and speaking in public. In contrast to agoraphobia, men and women are affected equally. Many people have a mixture of both agoraphobia and social phobia. Social phobia is also a common symptom of depression.
Stress management is something we all do on a day to day basis. Whether you are managing the stress caused by a specific situation or simply managing the stress of day to
day life, you are carrying out stress management.
Stress and anxiety are often contributing factors involved in many of the causes for patients coming for hypnotherapy. Stress and anxiety triggers are everywhere and the symptoms can cause many problems if left ignored.
Stress has now become more widely recognised by both individuals and employers.
Stress and anxiety can lead to:- Marital problems,
and many physical problems
Stress is everywhere and is often indirectly responsible for the vast majority of work absence and personal unhappiness.
There really is no reason why you or anyone you care about should continue to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.
Feelings of anxiety and panic are initiated at the subconscious level of the mind; this is then processed via the limbic system and turned into physical responses. If the subconscious part of the mind has latched onto the incorrect perception that the person is in very real danger, a person’s body will react as if they are in very real danger. The subconscious mind simply cannot tell the difference between a real and an imagined danger, and will react in the same way for both. The anxiety and the feelings of panic are actually symptoms of this process, but in the case of an imagined danger the body has no outlet or release and the symptoms increase often leading to a full blown panic attack.
With Clinical Hypnotherapy a skilled hypnotherapist can use many hypnotherapeutic strategies to connect directly with the subconscious mind and re-programme its beliefs in line with reality. Once we have uncovered the origin of its faulty perception, we are empowered to correct and neutralise it. The individual is then free to move forward, leaving this difficult and restricting condition in the past.
In short, with help of a skilled hypnotherapist, you can get your own life back - and back on track by,
• Learning relaxation techniques and relaxation exercises such as self hypnosis, thereby developing new ways to relax naturally.
• Addressing causes of panic attacks, anxiety and fears and overcoming them.
• Creating a more positive approach to living.
• Creating an understanding of personal stress triggers and addressing them on different levels, giving an understanding of the individual nature of stress and creating positive outcomes for the future.
Karen Riley Hypnotherapy offers a comprehensive stress management programme for both individuals and corporate clients. The programme is designed to both help with stress and anxiety in an immediate way and also to offer long term strategies so that the individual can effectivley manage stress and anxiety in the future.
No-one was born to live in a constant state of anxiety and panic. With the correct treatment, you can put these states behind you. You can move on.