Managing Anxiety Disorders
Mental Health Professional And Clinic
Oh to be free of anxiety!
Hypnotherapy ,A Paradigm Shift In, The Treatment of Anxiety
Hypnotherapy For The Treatment of Anxiety
Trans4mational Therapy has been providing effective treatment options and solutions for many types of anxiety attacks, including panic attacks (panic disorder). As well as the many other categories of what are termed anxiety disorders. It can also be very useful to know the difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack. People often ask what are the causes and symptoms of an anxiety attack. This is useful to know because they are different from panic attack causes. Some of the better-known anxiety conditions I treat are; generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), agoraphobia, separation anxiety, exam/test anxiety and social phobia, to name but a few.
The treatment options I provide will help you understand the causes of anxiety disorders, the symptoms and what may be triggering them. Essentially, this will allow you to enjoy life again! While Hypnotherapy is the main type of therapy I use for treating anxiety, there are other options that I can use, e.g. psychotherapy, counselling and CBT, so you have several options as to what suits you best. Understanding panic attack symptoms and how to differentiate between an anxiety issue and an organic dysfunction, e.g. palpitations (heart issues) is important and you can find out more about that here.
It is also important to consider that anxiety may not be the cause of your issue, merely the observable symptom. Meaning that something else is the problem, and anxiety is merely the response. In order to treat anxiety, one has to know a lot about it, which I do. While anxiety takes many forms and has differing symptoms for each, as perceived by the sufferer, the fundamentals are almost identical. They relate to the activation of the body's stress, (fight or flight) response. The titles, e.g. GAD, OCD, PTSD, social phobia etc. indicate the methods of stimulation, i.e. what causes the anxiety response. To complicate things further, chronic anxiety, chronic stress and/or depression are often comorbid conditions and they can make life feel pretty tough at times, many sufferers say "all the time!" And while depression is not specifically categorised as an anxiety disorder, anyone with depression will always experience relatively high levels of anxiety or stress! These seemingly modern-day conditions have the potential to negatively affect the quality of your life experience, as well as, your relationships, career, and even your everyday chores. So, the takeaway here, is that while anxiety may be challenging, it is very treatable. And remember, we're not trying to eliminate anxiety, merely normalising it.
Understanding The Fundamentals of Anxiety
And . . . what it is!
While we use the term anxiety, seemingly to describe what appears to be a common condition, it is actually anything but, one condition, although it does have one source, from a biological perspective, i.e. the fight or flight (stress) response. Physiologically, the fight or flight is composed of two systems, the sympathoadrenal medullary system ( an aortic response that stimulates adrenalin and the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis (HPA Axis), which stimulates cortisol, combined, these equal the stress response.
From a practical perspective, it is the nature of its cause (environmental cues) that changes its type, e.g. PTSD, OCD, social phobia, generalised (GAD), separation/attachment, panic disorder etc and, consequently, the treatment approach. However, as a condition, as mentioned above, there is a unique commonality, in that anxiety is a consequence of the activation of the brain's fight or flight response. In fact, the only major difference between a stress disorder and anxiety is the cause of its activation. Stress occurs when the brain's perceptual defences detect danger (real or imagined) and anxiety occurs as a consequence of the anticipation of those perceptual defences. For example, if you are on a plane and experience turbulence or clear air turbulence, fear (stress) is a natural (unconditioned) reaction to that stressor. However, if you are having a coffee in the airport lounge and you start to imagine the plane bouncing all over the place, that is different; that's anxiety! Both situations invoke the stress response but anxiety is the consequence of the anticipation of danger, not the actual presence of it.
This is not to totally discount the mind theory, it's merely to see it in a more factual way. The mind is merely a philosophical construct, that renders the explanation, of almost inexplicable processes, capable of being understood! In that sense, the mind is akin to a communication system that allows the faculties of consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, intelligence, judgement, language and memory to emerge into awareness. Of course, all of these faculties work outside of our conscious awareness of them. Awareness is the final link in the chain, the moment when we have an awareness of the outcome, so to speak. However, we are never privy to the actual processing part of the process. Outcomes are a consequence of brain-based processes, not mind based ones! And while someone may say "I changed my mind," any change occurs as a consequence of changes in brain responses.
So, before you consider seeking treatment for anxiety, it can be useful to answer this question because anxiety is both natural and necessary for a normal life. The question is, is your anxiety too much? Meaning, is it out of sync with what is deemed normal? As I said, anxiety is a natural part of everyday life but it can occasionally go off the rails. When that happens too often, for too long and to a greater intensity, then it's time to get it checked out because you may have an anxiety disorder! Professional healthcare experts suggest that 10% of the general population in Singapore have an anxiety disorder, an alarming figure! However, in a post-Covid-19 world, that figure will be much higher as people's lives are going to be undoubtedly altered because of this pandemic!
Some Modern Causes of Anxiety
The most common causes of workplace anxiety are bullying, unfair/constructive dismissal, a general lack of employee protections, as well as the abuse of superordinate powers. Consequently, there will likely now be a greater level of uncertainty in the workplace. While the pandemic is easing, it is far from certain over! And while statistics appear to be saying things are recovering, that is not the message I am receiving from clients, whose anxiety still remains higher than in pre-pandemic times! And as if that's not enough, there is now a heightened focus on increasing the productivity of specific types or groups of workers, as well as the ever-advancing march toward AI! For some companies, with a growing demand for their products and/or emerging markets, this could increase employment opportunities. However, for those companies with a limited or shrinking market, it could mean fewer people doing more work and that means more uncertainty and, consequently, more stress!
To varying degrees, this could lead to retrenchment and this is one aspect of increased productivity that could be taken advantage of by employers! Potentially; it's either a quid pro quo, higher productivity means higher pay or a zero-sum game, heads I win; tails you lose! All of these things can, and often do, add significant stress and the uncertainty of it all can develop into an anxiety disorder. Hypnotherapy can help you normalise even the most challenging life conditions. This doesn't equate to becoming blasè but rather putting things in a relative context. If life is tough, it's relatively normal for it to feel that way but that doesn't mean you need to be experiencing high levels of stress. This is important because anxiety and stress rob you of vital brain resources you need, to cope effectively under duress. Especially if this involves a change in direction or the acquisition of new skills.
Another, seemingly, ever-increasing form, is relationship anxiety. Many people are in dysfunctional or toxic relationships, be they familial, romantic, social or career-based. While ending any relationship is an option, it is not always as easy as that, it's not always a workable or practical solution either. Some relationships are neither possible nor practical to end, e.g. how do you end a parental relationship or one with your children? While it is practically possible, in that you can stop talking to or seeing someone, it rarely comes without consequences and mostly emotional ones. Severing ties with siblings seems the most common form of a breakup but even that can have some dire consequences. Or, you may have a great friend, someone you've known your whole life, you're inseparable. Then one day someone enters their life and it's downhill from there, you just don't gel with the new person in their life. And, generally speaking, it doesn't matter how much you love your friend, you just don't gel with their partner. And given the choice of you or the love of their life; guess what your position will be? That can make it tough emotionally and it can also leave emotional scars! In some sense, every aspect of our life involves relationships and the quality, or lack, of quality in those relationships, invariably feeds into the apparent quality of our life! The relationship I focus on the most is the one with yourself, get that one right and all of the others are instantly better!
Technically speaking, it is far too simplistic to say, I have an anxiety issue. In fact, in most cases, anxiety isn't the real issue, it is merely the observable manifestation of a deeper problem and the very reason why many medications ultimately don't work. Primarily these medications,e.g. SSRIs or SNRIs, are attempting to stabilise the normal functioning of specific neurotransmitters (serotonin/norepinephrine). However, it's more often the case, that down/upregulation of mental/emotional systems are destabilising (over/under activation) neurotransmission.
On top of the condition, we call anxiety (stress in another form), there are other forms of stress that play an almost invisible role. There are oxidative (environmental) stressors, metabolic, osmotic stressors and heat-shock and stress factors consequential to allostatic load (AL) and allostatic overload (ALO). While many of these (except AL/ALO) are natural and normal, at least when life is that way too, they are anything but normal in anxiety/stress disorders! In extreme situations, these stresses can contribute to psychosomatic as well as organic disorders. In that context, resolving the perceptual problem, say a toxic relationship or job situation, may not bring about a quick response. Although it may! That can lead to the illusion that the therapy didn't work. This is the major reason why I studied the brain so extensively, and, how it's implicated in the development of anxiety, stress and depression. If through regression therapy, you discover an incident, when you were 7, was the cause of your issue, then hypnotherapeutic logic dictates that's what you work on! However, experience has taught me to be cautious! This is because there can and often is, much more to it than that and if you don't know your subject; well . . . what can I say?
As well to genetics there are also epigenetic factors to consider
Hypnotherapy For The Treatment of Anxiety
To complicate matters further, much of our sensory experience is coded into memories. So the memory of one experience, with specific or similar attributes, can be conditioned to trigger the memory of another experience. This process is known as neural/classical conditioning, aka Hebbian plasticity! If you were to think about anxiety logically, it really doesn't make sense. Imagine you got stuck in a lift with 6 others, and after that, you had an anxiety attack every time you were in one, it's got to be the lift? Well, if that were true, then the other 6 people would also have to have the same experience, wouldn't they? Well historically and evidentially we know that's not true! So, if 7 people get stuck in a lift but only 1 or 2 get affected; then it has to be their brain; not the lift! That's epigenetics, your brain adapting to its experience of the environment and the circumstances of your life!