Does Hypnotherapy for Anxiety Work?
For many people, anxiety can become a crippling mental health condition. There are several different anxiety-related disorders. They can range in severity from mild to extreme. The simplest definition of anxiety is the experience of unnecessary fear and/or stress.
Anxiety is not a logical response to the environment. Instead, it is an irrational fear of potential negative consequences or the future in general. Some people may experience discomfort in social settings. Others may develop such severe anxiety that they cannot leave their home. For many people, anxiety can worsen over time.
While there are medications on the market for anxiety, not everyone responds well to these prescription drugs. For others, the side effects of anxiety drugs may be worse than the anxiety they want to treat. Talk therapy can also be a source of ongoing anxiety. This is especially true if the patient worries about how the therapist perceives their condition.
Hypnotherapy can offer many options for people with anxiety. It can be useful when combined with talk therapy. Others turn to hypnotherapy to avoid medication. It could even serve as the first line of defense against encroaching anxieties. Those with anxiety often wonder how effective hypnosis is. Thankfully, there have been some very promising studies that examine how hypnosis can help with anxiety.
Most Hypnotherapy Studies Show a Rapid Decrease in Anxiety Symptoms
Medical studies vary. The number of people examined and the processes in place to avoid inaccurate results often differ. Every study is different. However, they all offer insight into treatment options. Provided that they are properly conducted, studies can help people make good decisions.
There have been many attempts to scientifically quantify the benefits of hypnotherapy for anxiety. Many of these studies show promising results. While undergoing hypnosis, patients generally report an immediate reduction in anxiousness. In as little as one week's worth of treatment, many patients report improvement.
For most, that reduction persists for some time after the hypnosis sessions. Depending on the nature of the anxiety in question and how long the patient has suffered, ongoing treatment may be necessary.
Hypnosis Can Help Patients Learn to Better Relax
The process of hypnosis typically involves guided relaxation and breathing techniques. After relaxation, a patient receives carefully administered hypnosis. When performed by a professional, hypnotherapy is safe. Each session may offer benefits to the patient through hypnosis. They also provide educational opportunities for relaxation.
Relaxation and breathing exercises are tools. Patients with anxiety conditions can use them in their personal lives to reduce their symptoms. Deep breathing can help mitigate some of the symptoms associated with anxiety disorders. Mindfulness and meditation are also helpful for people with anxiety. These practices and hypnosis utilize the mind-body connection to improve quality of life.
For some patients, embracing daily breathing, mindfulness, relaxation, and meditation practices can drastically improve their quality of life. It can also help reduce the impact of anxiety on their social relationships and careers. Over time, these practices can improve self-regulation. Patients can gain control over anxiety-inducing thought patterns.
Hypnosis May Help Address the Underlying Causes of Anxiety
Some people develop anxiety as the result of a traumatic event. Other times, anxiety is the culmination of an unstable childhood. Unacknowledged and repressed issues can also lead to anxiety. For many patients, identifying and addressing these root issues is key. They won't make progress with reducing or eliminating anxiety-related symptoms without knowing the cause.
Hypnosis often allows people to relax in their own bodies and minds. After all, hypnosis results in a state of heightened susceptibility to suggestion. Patients may be better able to examine their own internal landscape and determine the root cause of their anxiety symptoms. Identifying this cause may help patients make progress in traditional talk therapy or counseling situations.
Hypnotherapy Combines Well With Other Treatment Options
Many people with anxiety will undergo counseling, therapy, or other treatments. The hope is to reduce their symptoms over time. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a mindfulness tool commonly used by therapists. It helps to identify and address anxiety-related symptoms. Studies of people with anxiety conditions have shown that hypnosis works well with CBT.
It can even help in cases of acute stress disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. On their own, both hypnotherapy and CBT are powerful tools that can ease severe symptoms. When combined, they can potentially lead to a rapid and significant decrease in anxiety symptoms for some patients.
Hypnotherapy Benefits Far Outweigh the Risks for Anxiety Patients
It is common for people with anxiety-related disorders to worry about any decision they make. That could include the decision to undergo hypnosis to address their anxiety symptoms. The thought of seeing a professional for anxiety disorders can make someone even more anxious.
Thankfully, properly administered hypnotherapy has relatively few known side effects. Unlike medication and other forms of therapy, the risks are minimal. Hypnotherapy offers potential benefits with few, if any, side effects for patients. It can help patients on its own. Hypnotherapy is also beneficial when combined with other therapies or treatments.
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