A large percentage of my clients present themselves for hypnotherapy with anxiety symptoms and often fear that they are going ‘crazy’ because they feel so emotionally out of control. Often this is accompanied by a fear of death.
Anxiety and fear are different. For example one can see the fear object and become anxious or have a panic attack related specifically to this particular external scenario. For example, the person with a fear of flying may think of flying and the aeroplane crashing and this may produce a panic attack. However with anxiety, the focus is internal, not external and the client cannot really tell you what the anxiety is about. It is subjective, free-floating, out of control. One can have a feeling of ‘impending doom’ or a sense of a vague, distant or unrecognised danger.
Anxiety effects your whole being. It is an emotional, physiological, mental and behavioural reaction all at once.
An incredible percentage of people died in the 1940 blitz from the sounds of the bombing compared to those who were direct fatalities. This is a neat analogy for how anxiety symptoms actually arise out of a persons thoughts about potential danger and not the actual danger in reality. This is what separates it insidiously from the healthy, fear instinct.
I normally look for the following symptoms in clients.
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Trembling or shaking
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Dizziness or unsteadiness
- Feelings of detachment or being out of touch with ones self
- Hot flushes or chills
- Fear of dying
- Fear of going ‘crazy’ and out of control
- Disturbing dreams
- Sexual dysfunction
- Endless worrying
If a client is experiencing four or more of the above symptoms all at once it may be classified as a spontaneous panic attack. Otherwise it is known as free-floating anxiety.
If a client becomes anxious in a specific situation, this is called situational anxiety or phobic anxiety. Once a client has experienced an anxiety attack they have a tendency to develop anticipatory anxiety or apprehension in fearful anticipation of the next one. It is negative conditioning.
Examples of anxiety disorders:
- Panic disorders
- Social phobia
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Acute stress disorder
- Anxiety disorders due to a general medical condition
- Substance-induced anxiety disorder
When there is anxiety in the symptomology, analysis is always recommended. Therefore a combination of cognitive suggestion therapy along with hypnoanalysis is necessary.