First there was Valium and then there was Xanax – both very fashionable and often referred to as either ‘mother’s little helper’ or ‘sunshine in a bottle’.
Both are prescribed for anxiety and depression with a massive increase in prescriptions during the recent financial crisis, when prescriptions increased by well over 10% in the UK and USA with current prescriptions in America running at about 50 million a year.
Anxiety as a Way of Life.
That tells you that there are a lot of anxious people out there, to the extent that in certain sectors of society it is even quite trendy to feel stressed and anxious and to pop those highly addictive pills. In other words, “If you’re not anxious, you’re not a success!”
For many, anxiety has become a way of life.
Anxiety is basically a feeling that everything is going wrong, whereas depression is more of a sense of failure and loss, and in fact anxiety symptoms usually precede depression.
People with anxiety even worry about worrying and the short term fix, according to the medical profession, is found in chemical imbalances within the brain and as most medical practitioners treat symptoms rather than causes.
A hefty dose of drugs is the first port of call for most doctors. Nothing wrong with that you may say, especially if the person’s symptoms are temporarily removed, but unfortunately most of these drugs are habit-forming. So in the long term you can end up with not just an anxious person but an anxious person with an addiction.
Many company executives are so tense because of anxiety that they would reach for absolutely anything in order to give themselves some respite, even if only temporary.
Usually it was a bottle of alcohol – which as we all know carries with it its own problems.
Hypnosis as a Natural Cure for Anxiety.
There is a way to treat the cause rather than the symptom and that is through hypnosis. Interestingly enough, hypnosis is thought of as a cure by a huge percentage of general medical practitioners, psychiatrists and hypnotherapists.
But instead of using hypnosis for stress relief, as the figures indicate – most people opt for drugs.
Figures have shown that around 5% of the general population is subject to chronic anxiety - from social anxiety to just plain old (and quite amplified) stress, although one suspects that the figure could well be much higher.
How to Treat Anxiety With Hypnosis.
Before we move on to the treatment of anxiety through the medium of hypnosis, it is worth pointing out that studies have shown quite recently, that disturbances of lactate metabolism in certain people leads to many anxiety states... and that many anxiety symptoms have both biological and genetic origins.
Hypnosis is not some sort of quack cure for anxiety, but it has been shown on many occasions to be a very strong anti-anxiety agent.
A Note of Caution.
It is very important to establish causes before embarking on any form of hypnosis-related cure.
- Things such as withdrawal from sedatives such as alcohol, cocaine or even coffee may well cause extreme anxiety... And certain medical conditions can also create anxiety.
- If a patient suffers from heart disease, which results in some form of respiratory distress, this can be misinterpreted as anxiety, but in fact the cause is physical rather than psychological. That can apply to a whole range of diseases or illnesses – so the watchword is ‘beware’.
- There are also psychiatric syndromes which will manifest themselves as anxiety. If you find an undiagnosed schizophrenic sitting in front of you, especially one who is experiencing ego fragmentation, he or she can not only present signs of anxiety, but even abject terror.
- Phobias can make patients or subjects very anxious and we have already established that hypnosis can certainly alleviate phobia-related symptoms.
- Then of course we have post-traumatic stress disorders caused by anything from being shot at in a war to suffering loss after a road traffic accident or the death of a close relative.
Using Relaxation Hypnosis to Fight Anxiety.
However, once a subject is in trance you know that you are addressing their subconscious directly.
It is then the therapist’s job is to mentally guide the subject through physical as well as mental relaxation in order to help them to understand what they need to do both mentally as well as physically in order to learn to relax.
Hypnosis will help the subject to avoid the escalation of anxiety symptoms such as rapid heart rate, muscle tension and rapid breathing without the sometimes devastating side-effects associated with prescription drugs.
It is a fallacy that an anxious or tense person will find it more difficult to enter a hypnotic trance. If that person genuinely wants to be helped, it is not usually a problem. The only caveat I would highlight is the fact that as a hypnotherapist or hypnotist, you may need to spend a little bit more time reassuring and gaining trust.
In this context, hypnotism’s overall goal is no more than to put subjects in a more positive frame of mind by altering negative beliefs and implanting helpful ones - thus helping the subject get rid of anxiety and finally relax.
Simple as it sounds, the hypnotist’s job with an anxious person is no more than implanting a belief that they feel happy and confident enough in their own ability to resolve the causes of their anxiety without the physical risks associated with drugs and drug dependency.