Anxiety is our “biological warning system” informing us of the potential threat of danger. However whilst fear is felt in anxiety attacks or chronic anxiety there is considered to be a significant difference between fear and anxiety. Whilst fear is a response to an external threat, anxiety is diagnosed when the perception of threat is thought to be internally triggered. Hence, anxiety is thought to be a more general reaction to an anticipated threat. Anxiety can be felt in response to normal, everyday events and situations which leads to confusion, lack of understanding and increased distress. Anxiety can include feelings of dread, panic (or panic attacks) and even terror for those most affected. Not knowing why we are afraid, or what we are afraid of, can make us feel more powerless, and out of control. Often anxiety sufferers start to feel trapped in a vicious cycle which leads to “fear of the fear”. A constant state of anxiety can lead to feelings of increased fear, guilt, shame, frustration and exhaustion as the body struggles to cope with being on “high alert” all the time. Anxiety can affect self-esteem, relationships, and can inhibit someone’s life as they avoid more and more situations where they may feel anxiety. This may lead to social isolation, loneliness and even a feeling of stigma. Some people develop obsessive or compulsive behaviour in order to cope with and manage their anxiety. Mental symptoms of anxiety include worrying thoughts such as: ” I can’t cope”, “I’m going crazy”, “I’m going mad”, “I’ll faint, or be sick”, “I’ll make a fool of myself”, “Others will notice and think I’m stupid, or weak”, “There’s something wrong with me”, “I’m going to die”, “I’ll lose control”. These thoughts can trigger an anxiety or panic attack as the body responds to them. Or they can arise in response to bodily symptoms. It’s a vicious cycle! Problems with anxiety can show as constant worrying or panic attacks, avoiding certain situations, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Phobias.
Worry and Generalised Anxiety
Constant, uncontrollable worrying and general anxiety is a common problem. Symptoms include feeling restless, keyed up or on edge, irritability, muscle tension, concentration difficulties or mind going blank, fatigue and sleep problems. Feeling anxious or apprehensive, inability to relax and to stop worrying causes significant distress and negatively affects the person’s life. Hypno-psychotherapy and CBT can help you stop worrying, help you develop more effective strategies to deal with challenges as well as everyday events and responsibilities and help you learn to relax again so you can sleep better and feel more energized. (See research on effective treatments for worry and generalised anxiety (GAD).
Health Anxiety (Hypochondria)
Health Anxiety occurs when a person becomes overly concerned about physical symptoms and develops worries, fears and beliefs about their health, fears of death, over-preoccupation with their body or over-concern about pain. These concerns are based on a belief that the person has, or has a fear of developing, a serious illness – even though medical evaluation or testing does not identify any medical problem. However, the presence of Health Anxiety should not be confused with mind-body illnesses (Psychosomatic or Stress-related illnesses) which our medical system can struggle to cope with, to diagnose – or to diagnose as the person’s symptoms being ‘all in the mind’. For more information on how you can overcome health anxiety contact me now.
Do you avoid going out or meeting new people? Do you find yourself tongue-tied, embarrassed, overly nervous, anxious or panicky about social or performance situations? Does your fear interfere with your life and stop you doing things? If the answer is yes, you are not alone! Far more people than is generally thought suffer from social difficulties or even Social Phobia. A person with social anxiety will either endure the situation with feelings of anxiety, dread and fearful anticipation or may start to avoid the fearful situation completely. The condition can lead to loss of self-esteem, isolation, loneliness and depression. Hypno-psychotherapy can help you reclaim your confidence, and help you develop strategies and additional social skills to confidently and effortlessly deal with challenging situations so that you can overcome your fears and reclaim your life. To find out how you can overcome your social anxiety or phobia contact me now.
How I can help
Hypnosis and CBT can successfully treat clinical anxiety and depression – without drugs: Brain researchers show that Psychotherapy and CBT can “rewire” the brain in anxiety disorders Hypno-psychotherapy can help you learn how to relax again, and help you take back the control and power to regulate and normalize your bodily state again. It can also help you let go of those nameless feelings of fear and dread so that you no longer feel powerless and afraid of your body. CBT techniques can help you identify and change the thoughts and perceptions which trigger your anxiety and break out of the “prison” of your safety behaviours (avoiding certain things or situations) so that you can reclaim your life again and no longer be a prisoner of your anxiety.
Change is possible!
A panic attack is a rapid escalation or occurrence of anxiety which includes other physical and mental symptoms. Physical symptoms can include palpitations, dizziness, sweating, choking, trembling, breathlessness or depersonalization. Mental symptoms can include fears of dying, suffocating, going crazy and similar thoughts. These attacks are very distressing to the sufferer and consequently the condition escalates and leads to developing a fear of panic/panic attacks or “fear of the fear”. This then becomes a vicious cycle as the sufferer becomes “hyper-sensitive” to any bodily signs and sensations of anxiety, fear or panic which then increases the mental anxiety, raising the body’s baseline threshold of anxiety. Living constantly “on edge” and in fear of another attack leads to the attacks tending to increase in frequency as the mental over-stimulation triggers physical bodily reactions. You may find just reading about panic may trigger some thoughts, feelings or sensations related to anxiety. Hypno-psychotherapy can help you to overcome your panic symptoms. Hypnotherapy will access the power of your unconscious mind to help you transform your symptoms and increase your ability to relax.
For more information about how to overcome your panic attacks contact me now.
CBT can also successfully treat clinical panic disorder and agoraphobia – without drugs.