Thursday, 26 July 2012

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a normal, if unpleasant, part of life, and it can affect us all in different ways and at different times. Whereas stress is something that will come and go as the external factor causing it (be it a work, relationship or money problems, etc.) comes and goes, anxiety is something that can persist whether or not the cause is clear to the sufferer.

It is important to recognise that anxiety is normal and exists due to the preconditioned bodily responses from early human existence.  It was useful at a time when human survival dependent on our instincts to remain alert and react to a perceived threats and therefore helped to keep us safe. This internal alarm system helped by keeping us hyper-alert, raising the levels of adrenaline and heart rate releasing extra oxygen into the system so that we were able to respond to a threat by fighting or running away.

There are many reasons why people today suffer from anxiety. Some of those reasons are more identifiable than others, for instance, due to a traumatic incident or as a result a significant change in circumstances or a life event, such as getting divorced, bereavement and so on.

Sometimes the reasons for anxiety are not immediately obvious and can be a result of a build-up of stress over a period of time, until one day the amount of stress exceeds individual ability to cope with it.

We can think in terms of three different types of anxiety disorder:

Reactive anxiety
Related to some particular incident; the fear of another such incident can be overwhelming.

Conditioned anxiety
The suffered continues to be triggered by old fears to an extend that day-to-day behaviour is impaired. The person may be experiencing forgetfulness, insomnia or other similar intrusions into everyday life.

Free-floating anxiety
There seems to be no obvious reason for anxiety and this makes ithis very ifficult to cope with. There is nothing to hang it on and therefore no apparent starting point for reducing the impact.

All types of anxiety disorders can be disruptive to the daily activities, often very significantly. They cause sleep disturbances,  inability to perform well at workplace, loss of ability to temper anger and also loss of the ability to understand the source of anger, difficulty concentrating because of concentrating on the anxiety instead, and a greatly reduced sense of self-worth.

Symptoms of anxiety
People often experience physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms when they feel anxious or stressed.
Some of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety are:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased muscle tension
  • “Jelly legs”
  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Hyperventilation (over breathing)
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Wanting to use the toilet more often
  • Feeling sick
  • Tight band across the chest area
  • Tension headaches
  • Hot flushes
  • Increased perspiration
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking
  • Choking sensations
  • Palpitations
Some of the most common psychological symptoms (the thoughts or altered perceptions we have) of anxiety are:
  • Thinking that you may lose control and/or go “mad”
  • Thinking that you might die
  • Thinking that you may have a heart attack/be sick/faint/have a brain tumour
  • Feeling that people are looking at you and observing your anxiety
  • Feeling as though things are speeding up/slowing down
  • Feeling detached from your environment and the people in it
  • Feeling like wanting to run away/escape from the situation
  • Feeling on edge and alert to everything around you
  • Avoidance of any situations potential provoking anxiety.
How can Hypnotherapy , EFT and EMT help you?

Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Techniques and Eye Movement Therapies are an effective way to help to manage anxiety disorders by;
  • Reducing stress by relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques
  • Helping to let go of anxious thoughts
  • Helping to address the causes of anxiety.
  • Understanding when the symptoms started and dealing with  the contributing issues
  • Rebuilding confidence and self-esteem

As with any medical condition you should always see your GP first to discuss your symptoms and treatment options first and to rule out any potential underlying causes of your symptoms.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you  are very aware of the emotional and physical aspects of the condition. Everyone suffers the odd upset stomach, but for  10-20 % of the population this is a regular experience of painful  abdominal spasms, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation that go with the condition. It also means that you may live with the limitations, inconvenience, and often embarrassment that result.

IBS is a sporadic and unpredictable disruption of the digestive system. Doctors are not exactly certain what causes IBS, however it occurs when the nerves and muscles of the lower bowel area are not working the way they should. IBS can affect anyone at any time in their lives, however it typically starts during late teenage years and most often affects people between 20 and 30 years of age.
It is twice as common in women as in men. Recent trends indicate that it is also now more present in older age groups.

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the healthcare professionals should consider assessment for IBS if the person reports having had any of the below symptoms for at least 6 months. Symptoms can vary in type, frequency and severity and sometimes overlap with other gastrointestinal disorders such as non-ulcer dyspepsia or coeliac disease, but they can include;

Abdominal pain or cramps
Change in bowel movements –diarrhoea, constipation or both

Other features such as lethargy, nausea, backache and bladder symptoms are common and may be used to support the diagnosis.

Conventional treatment includes dietary, lifestyle and physical activity advice as well as medication to target symptoms.

Food and Drink; Keeping a food diary to record what you have been eating and how your body reacts can help you spot problems and prepare a diet that helps to control your symptoms.

Some of the food groups most commonly known to trigger IBS symptoms include:
  • Wheat Products
  • Dairy Products
  • Onions
  • Caffeine-containing drinks like tea, coffee, and cola
  • Chocolate
Stress and Anxiety; Stress can show itself in many different ways. It can be both healthy and unhealthy. Small amount of stress can help us stay motivated, however when stress exceeds our levels to deal with it, either as a result of sudden chance in circumstance or after slow build-up, it can lead to various health issues.

The immediate physical reactions to stress may be sweating, breathlessness, increased blood pressure, insomnia, diarrhoea, palpitations. Mental chances can include anxious and negative thoughts, low levels of energy.  While stress and anxiety do not directly cause IBS, over a long period these can contribute into development of gastrointestinal problems and can certainly trigger the symptoms of IBS.

There are many different ways to tackle stress. Keeping a diary of your feelings of stress and anxiety can help you being able to recognise stress, situations that cause stress and the feelings of stress that trigger a potential attack of IBS.

Hypnotherapy is particularly good for treating stress and anxiety through deep relaxation of the body and mind and by teaching on subconscious level how to prevent stress, build stamina and how take care of oneself.

How can Hypnotherapy help?

As with any medical condition you should always see your GP first to discuss your symptoms and treatment options. If you have already been diagnosed with IBS and conventional treatment has not helped, hypnotherapy can help you to manage IBS. Both the British Medical Association (BMA) and The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) specifically recommend hypnotherapy as a treatment option for IBS sufferers.

Hypnotherapy is an effective way to help to manage IBS through the power of the unconscious mind. The sessions we run here at Enable Potential include:
  • Relaxation and stress management
  • Understanding when symptoms started and dealing with contributing issues
  • Dealing with triggers and promotion of physical and emotional healing.
  • Management of symptoms whenever they occur, using self-hypnosis and pain management techniques
  • Rebuilding confidence and self-esteem.
In general, most people start to experience positive changes (physical, mental and emotional) from the first hypnotherapy session.  BMA recommends 10 sessions for successful treatment, however we at Enable Potential have found that fewer sessions are effective, especially when supported by self-hypnosis recordings.
As each person is unique, it would be wrong to state the exact number of sessions needed, but typically you should see significant improvements in symptoms and management of symptoms after initial 2-3 sessions. At Enable Potential we aim to help you with as few sessions as possible.