[The following article was written by Dr. Bruce Eimer and is originally located here: http://hypnosishelpcenter.net/anxiety.htm. I would like to thank Dr. Eimer for a wonderfully written article]
Hypnosis is a very effective tool for treating anxiety problems. Anxiety is a central feature of most psychological disorders and psychiatric illnesses. If the experience of anxiety is chronic, persistent and constant, then, once medical causes are ruled out, it is probably diagnosable as a Generalized Anxiety Disorder. If the experience of anxiety is chronic, but episodic, and very intense, it is probably diagnosable as a Panic Disorder.
Panic Disorder with and without Agoraphobia is a debilitating condition whose essential features arerecurrent, unexpected panic attacks, and the tendency to be overly concerned about having attacks. These rushes of fear, which seem to occur out of the blue, are associated with a number of intense physical symptoms as well as a feeling of impending doom.
As defined by the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), a “panic attack” is a discrete episode of very intense fear and/or discomfort that starts abruptly, reaches its peak within approximately 10 minutes, and is accompanied by at least 4 of the following 13 somatic and cognitive symptoms: “shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitations, trembling, sweating, feeling of choking, nausea/abdominal distress, depersonalization, paresthesias (numbness and tingling), flushes/chills, chest pain, fear of dying, and fear of going crazy or fear of doing something uncontrolled”.
Many of these somatic symptoms are also present in other anxiety disorders. The normal motivation to avoid or ward off these uncomfortable experiences forms the basis for many of the self-defeating dysfunctional behaviors that characterize these disorders.
As described on the NIMH website:
“People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) go through the day filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even though there is little or nothing to provoke it. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. GAD is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months.
People with GAD can’t seem to get rid of their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. They can’t relax, startle easily, and have difficulty concentrating. Often they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, having to go to the bathroom frequently, feeling out of breath, and hot flashes.”
My hypnotic approach to treating anxiety disorders incorporates two aspects: treating the symptoms and uncovering the root causes.
I address the symptoms by teaching you cognitive, behavioral and relaxation coping skills. Self-hypnosis for relaxation and cognitive control of anxious thoughts and worries is routinely taught as a coping skill.
I also teach instant relaxation skills to help you cope with stress, tension, and anxiety episodes on the fly, immediately, wherever they occur. These skills include refocusing, distraction, cognitive reframing, thought interruption and deep breathing. These approaches are discussed in our book, Brief Cognitive Hypnosis: Facilitating the Change of Dysfunctional Behavior.
I use analytical hypnotherapy techniques for uncovering, reprocessing and reframing the root causes of anxiety disorders. This involves the use of a technique called Ideomotor Analysis. I use this technique to analyze, explore, and reframe your prior sensitizing experiences during which your key, underlying, negative fixed ideas originated. The goal is to change these negative fixed ideas because these are the ideas that fuel your anxieties. These techniques are discussed in detail in our book, Ideomotor Signals for Rapid Hypnoanalysis: A How-To Manual.
Fears, generalized anxiety, panic and phobias can be controlled using Clinical Hypnosis, Cognitive-Behavior Therapy and Relaxation Therapy. Through the use of hypnosis, you can learn to “un-install” anxious thoughts and in their place, “install” positive, realistic coping thoughts into your subconscious and conscious minds.
I use Hypnosis to make Cognitive-Behavioral and Relaxation Therapies more effective by imprinting coping skills into your Subconscious Mind.
When you learn and practice Self Hypnosis, you can mentally practice and rehearse effective cognitive, behavioral and relaxation coping skills so that they become conscious AND subconscious habits. This is a very important component of your healing.
This is Short-Term Therapy to put YOU IN CONTROL. You can learn to control your anxiety through Hypnosis. Treatment usually takes two to five visits.
by Dr. Bruce Eimer