When faced with a stressful situation such as presenting in front of your boss, or learning to drive for the first time, it is normal for a person to feel anxious. It usually manifests through physical symptoms like stomach aches, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, etc. Anxiety helps us deal with danger in our surroundings or motivates us in important tasks. For instance, when you’re crossing the street and you suddenly spot a speeding car, you immediately jump out of its way. Or when you’re about to deliver a speech in front of a large crowd, anxiety stimulates you to do your best. The “fight-flight-freeze” response is activated and this prepares your body to guard itself.
Anxiety is like a fire alarm system that goes off to warn us that there is fire. However, when a fire alarm is too sensitive that it goes off even with minimal smoke, it can become quite annoying. A fire alarm is helpful when it works correctly, just as anxiety is important to warn us of real danger. When your anxiety becomes too frequent, overwhelming and out of control, to the point that it negatively affects your everyday activities, it may be possible that you are suffering from anxiety disorder.
Anxiety Disorder Singapore
According to the Singapore Mental Health Survey conducted in 2010, around 100,000 Singaporean residents aged 18 and above suffered from anxiety disorders at some point in their lives. The study further states that 3.6% suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Among the 6,616 respondents of a survey on mental disorders in the country published in 2012, it revealed that 12% of the population “had at least one lifetime affective, anxiety, or alcohol use disorders.”
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Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
Different anxiety disorders have different symptoms. In general, however, a person suffering from it may experience the following:
• Feelings of panic, fear and uneasiness
• Sleeping problems
• Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
• Shortness of breath
• Heart palpitations
• Difficulty to stay still or calm
• Dry mouth
• Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
• Muscle Tension
• Chest pains
• Loss of appetite
• Feeling faint
• Frequent bathroom visits
Sometimes, anxiety is a symptom to other conditions like panic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder caused by frightening or stressful events.
What causes anxiety disorders?
It is difficult to pinpoint specific cause of anxiety disorders, however, research suggest that contributing factors may include brain chemistry, genes, life experiences, environmental stress and personality.
Research also states that they are not the result of personal weakness, character flaw, or poor upbringing.
There are different types of anxiety disorders
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
People who suffer from GAD have excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that interfere with their day-to-day activities. They worry too much about several aspects of life, such as work, social relationships, or financial matters without reasonable cause. “Extreme worrying almost every day for six months or more may signal generalized anxiety disorder”.
2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
People who suffer from OCD have unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead them to do repetitive behaviours (compulsions). It’s also possible to have only obsessions or only compulsions and still have OCD. They may or may not realize that their obsessions aren’t reasonable, and they may try to ignore them or stop them. But that only increases their distress and anxiety. Ultimately, they feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease their stressful feelings.
3. Panic disorder
People who suffer from panic disorder have recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack. A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause.
4. Social anxiety disorder (aka Social Phobia)
People who suffer from social anxiety disorder fear being scrutinized or judged by others so much so that everyday interactions cause significant anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment.
5. Specific Phobias
People who suffer from phobia developed an irrational fear and avoidance of an object or situation. This fear can be considered as unreasonable, but the sufferer is unable to control the anxiety that results from it. The trigger can be as varied as situations, animals, or everyday objects. To some, just thinking about the trigger can cause a panic attack.
6. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
People who suffer from PTSD feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.
PTSD is a mental health condition develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm, either experiencing it or witnessing it.
Anxiety disorders are highly treatable
It is important to recognize symptoms of anxiety disorder when seeking treatment. A lot of individuals continue to suffer from those symptoms in fear that they may be regarded as “mad” once they seek professional help. Yet, most people who have anxiety disorders rarely have severe mental illness, and their problems can be addressed with treatment.
Some people experience really serious anxiety disorders that doctors prescribe medications for them to take. The most commonly used drugs are tranquilizers and antidepressants. However, there are other methods such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, self-hypnosis, hypnotherapy, meditation, and CBT that can reduce and relieve anxiety disorders.
The most basic and easily available remedy is to talk to a trusted friend or relative about your problem. Talking to such people whose opinions we value may greatly help in reducing stress.
You may also approach professionals like your family doctor, hypnotist, psychiatrist, psychologist or counsellor to help you explore unconscious issues, negative feelings and behaviours.
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Hypnotherapy as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders
Hypnosis finds its most common clinical utilization in the treatment of anxiety and its related states, not only because of anxiety’s prevalence, but because hypnosis has such a clear role as a potent anti-anxiety agent. Hypnotherapy helps find the root cause of the anxiety and aims to alter the individual’s perception of past events or release associated emotions.
The tremendous volume of research provides compelling evidence that hypnosis is an efficacious treatment for state anxiety (e.g., prior to tests, surgery and medical procedures) and anxiety-related disorders, such as headaches and irritable bowel syndrome.
Self-hypnosis training represents a rapid, cost-effective, non-addictive and safe alternative to medication for the treatment of anxiety-related conditions.
Catherine Fredette, Ghassan El-Baalbaki, Sylvain Neron and Veronique Palardy in the book “NEW INSIGHTS INTO ANXIETY DISORDERS” shared this “Summary and Conclusions on the Clinical Use of Hypnosis”
|Social anxiety disorder||Good outcomes [65-66]||Good outcomes |
|Significant reduction in anxiety at post-test and superiority of hypnosis at six-month follow-ups ||CBH more efficacious than CBT alone|
|Specific phobias||Mixed results ||CBH and HOC as an effective treatment [71-74]|
|Significance was reached in the Llobet study  but not in the Stanton study ||CBH provided better results than CBT alone  HOC allowed patient to face the phobic situation with success |
|Panic disorder with or without agoraphobia||Generally good results [77-79]||Mixed results [80-82]|
|Only based on case studies and reports. Intensity of episodes is reduced while other patients are panic-free||No superiority of CBH compared to CBT in one study, but patients received both treatments in a cross-over design, which limits the conclusions |
|Effective relief of symptoms found in other studies [81-82]|
|Generalized anxiety disorder||Good outcomes ||Good outcomes [84-85]|
|Hypnosis as effective as CBT (no randomization)||Most patients in hypnosis and CBT group obtained anxiety scores below the normative ranges at post-test |
|Obsessive-compulsive disorder||Not applicable||Good results [88-92]|
|Based on case reports|
|Post traumatic stress disorder||Good outcomes [103-107]||Good outcomes [108-122]|
|Statistically significant reduction in hyperarousal symptoms but results did not reach clinical significance ||CBH superior to CBT and other techniques on some measures [120-121]|
|Hypnosis effective for treating sleep problems [104-105] and equivalent or better than drugs [106-107]||HOC found to be effective in reducing symptoms at post-test  and six-month follow-ups |
|Other anxiety-related problems||Mixed results [123-126]||Good outcome |
|Improvement but no indication that hypnosis as a sole treatment is more efficacious than other methods or no treatment, except for one study . Superiority only stood out at one-month follow-up in another study ||Superiority of CBH over hypnosis alone and control groups|
Free Yourself from Anxiety
Anxiety disorders can hinder a person from realizing his/her full potential. Leaving it untreated can only make it worse. A lot of people misunderstand these disorders and think that they can be overcome the disorder by willpower alone. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorder should be aware that there are a lot of treatments available if only they seek for them and recognize that it is not something to be ashamed of. Come to think of it, healing your anxiety can actually save your life.
If you think you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorders mentioned above, do not hesitate to contact us.
Come to Mindlife Hypnotherapy, you will be professionally guided through a systematic and effective approach to control your anxiety. You will learn self-hypnosis to treat and prevent anxiety-related conditions by yourself and in your own privacy.
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