Anxiety and panic
It is a fact that in the UK today, one in seven of us suffers with anxiety and its physical symptoms at any time. Most of us will have all experienced anxiety at some point and will know how unpleasant it can be to have overwhelming feelings of nervousness, fear and uncertainty. Yet these feelings can sometimes be useful, for example when waiting for a driving test or an exam, when feeling anxious can actually help us to feel more alert. In situations like these it’s understandable to have worries about how you will perform, or what the outcome will be. For a short time you might even find it hard to sleep, eat or concentrate. Then usually, after a short while or when the situation has passed, the feelings of worry stop.
Anxiety becomes a problem when it is becoming persistent and disabling - that is, stopping you from doing everyday things in your life. It can affect sleep, appetite and even one's ability to do things like interact with loved ones and work colleagues.
This 'fight or flight' response which causes the anxious thoughts to appear and to worsen, can lead to symptoms such as a rapid heart rate, accelerated breathing, and a feeling of butterflies in the stomach, to name but a few. It is the body's way of preparing to face danger, and perhaps to run away. It is innate to all of us, but in the modern day world, it is unlikely that any of us are in immediate danger as we go about our day to day lives. These feelings of being in danger can become attached to more mundane events and problems, and can make the things we are facing seem much worse than they actually are, which then prevent us from confronting our fears.
Because anxiety is a normal human experience, it's sometimes hard to know when it's becoming a problem for you – but if your feelings of anxiety are very strong, or last for a long time, it can be overwhelming. For example, you might find that you’re worrying all the time, perhaps about things that are a regular part of everyday life, or about things that aren’t likely to happen – or even worrying about worrying. You might regularly experience unpleasant physical and psychological effects of anxiety, and maybe panic attacks. Depending on the kind of problems you experience, you might be given a diagnosis of a specific anxiety disorder.
If anxiety is affecting your ability to live your life the way you’d like to, it's worth thinking about ways to help yourself, and what kind of treatments are available. Hypnotherapy is a proven method for dealing with not just the effects of anxiety, but getting to the root of the problem, ensuring that whatever is causing these feelings, can be dealt with permanently.
What is a panic attack?
A panic attack is an exaggeration of your body’s normal response to fear, stress or excitement. It is the rapid build-up of overwhelming physical sensations, such as: a pounding heartbeat feeling faint sweating nausea (feeling sick) chest pains feeling unable to breathe shaky limbs, or feeling like your legs are turning to jelly feeling like you’re not connected to your body. During a panic attack you might feel very afraid that: you’re losing control you’re going to faint you’re having a heart attack you’re going to die
When do panic attacks happen?
It’s different for different people. You might have a good understanding about likely situations or places that can trigger an attack for you, or you might feel that your attacks come without warning and happen at random.
How long do panic attacks last?
Most panic attacks last for between 5 and 20 minutes. They can come on very quickly, and your symptoms will usually peak within 10 minutes. Sometimes you might experience symptoms of a panic attack which last for up to an hour. If this happens you are probably experiencing one attack after another, or a high level of anxiety after the initial panic attack.
How often might I have panic attacks?
Again, it’s different for different people. You might have one panic attack and never experience another, or you might have attacks once a month or even several times each week.
What do anxiety symptoms feel like?
If you experience anxiety, you might find that you identify with some of the physical and psychological sensations in the table below. Anxiety can feel different for different people, so you might also experience other kinds of feelings, which aren't listed here.
Nausea (feeling sick)
Tense muscles and headaches
Pins and needles
Feeling light headed or dizzy
Sweating or hot flushes
A fast, thumping or irregular heart beat
Raised blood pressure
Needing the toilet more frequently, or less frequently
Churning in the pit of your stomach
Experiencing panic attacks
Feeling tense, nervous and on edge
Having a sense of dread, or fearing the worst
Feeling restless and not being able to concentrate
Feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down
Feeling like other people can see you’re anxious and are looking at you
Feeling your mind is really busy with thoughts
Dwelling on negative experiences, or thinking over a situation again and again (this is called rumination)
How can Hypnotherapy help in cases of Anxiety?
Hypnotherapy works with the unconscious mind, in order to change anxious thought patterns and address specific situations in which anxiety responses may be triggered. At West Coast Hypnosis we use a powerful combination of NLP techniques and deep level suggestions, to replace feelings of anxiety with ones of calmness, confidence and a sense of being in control. In this way, hypnotic techniques will help you to change your unwanted behaviours so that you are acting in a more rational way when faced with anxiety triggers, and can cope with these more effectively.
We routinely teach clients who see us with anxiety problems a series of coping strategies such as breathing techniques and self hypnosis, which can then be used to effectively tackle any problems which arise in the future. We actively encourage clients to access their own inner coping resources and by building on self esteem and confidence, our aim is to have you regaining independence as quickly as possible. We regularly assess progress during the course of treatment using recognised clinical methods, to ensure that sessions are only continued for as long as is necessary.
Contact us to make an appointment.
I am also an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist providing therapeutic support to the charity’s members and partner beneficiaries. I am subject to Anxiety UK’s regular monitoring of my professional qualifications, supervision, continual professional development, insurance and professional body membership in addition to complying with the ethical framework and professional standards set down by my registered governing body.
Full details of the Anxiety UK Approved Therapist scheme can be found here - www.anxietyuk.org.uk/getinvolved/therapists-at-anxiety-uk. Details about becoming a member of Anxiety UK to be able to access therapy via the charity can be found here: www.anxietyuk.org.uk/membership.