March 7th, 2014
Panic disorder can greatly impact a person’s health and well-being, so providing the best care and support to sufferers is crucial.
While feelings of anxiety are something we all experience every now and then, for some these become excessive and difficult to control.
Panic disorder affects an estimated seven in 1000 people and it occurs when the body experiences a rush of intense psychological and physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, trembling, hyperventilation, and an overwhelming sense of fear and distress.
There are many types of treatment for anxiety and panic attacks, but sufferers will also benefit greatly knowing they have the understanding and support of those close to them. If you have a friend or family member with panic disorder, see below for a helpful guide on how to provide the best means of support.
Listen: When someone is experiencing a panic attack, you mustn’t try to solve it. No one can take the attack away, but you can provide a supportive presence – remaining calm, listening to them, and speaking in a reassuring manner.
Support: In preparation, find out from your loved one or friend how you can help when they are having an attack. Talk about what you can do to make it easier for them, such as practicing certain techniques, helping with medication or removing them from a certain space to somewhere that’s open and calm.
Respect: Try to avoid playing down the attack or belittling it in any way. Such negativity could make things worse – as can trying to force them out of the attack. Be patient and make sure the sufferer knows you are there for them.
Compromise: You may need to take extra measures to ensure outings with your friend or loved-one avoid potential triggers of panic attacks. You may need to make adjustments for certain activities that make the person feel anxious, such as taking stairs instead of an elevator.
Consider medical attention: If it is the first time your friend or loved one has had a panic attack, you may need to seek medical attention – especially if they have diabetes, asthma or other medical problems. If they suffer regular attacks, assess the situation carefully and watch for signs. Be aware though that some sufferers may not wish to be collected by an ambulance as the experience could make their symptoms worse.
Hypnotherapy can be helpful for those suffering from panic attacks as it alleviates anxiety and helps to desensitise the sufferer from certain stressors. To find out more about how hypnotherapy can help, see our hypnotherapy for panic attacks page.
View and comment on the original PsychCentral article.
March 5th, 2014
Whether you snack on high-sugar foods for energy or have your dinner in front of the TV, find out how to overcome bad eating habits in six easy steps.
With so much conflicting information about healthy eating, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to addressing your diet. Many of us know how to eat healthily, but become stuck on old habits. Try the following tips to kick-start a healthier attitude towards food:
1. Make realistic goals
Completely overhauling your lifestyle in one fail swoop isn’t realistic. Instead aim to change a few habits at a time and work your way up to the bigger changes. It’s also important not to give up at the first hurdle – if you fall off the wagon – get back on it. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.
2. Identify your bad habits
Keep a food diary and note down your emotions and what you’re doing every time you eat. You should spot a pattern (such as emotionally fuelled snacking) and once identified, you can start to investigate strategies to change.
3. Be prepared
Stock your kitchen full of healthy foods and throw away anything unhealthy. Having temptation in the house when you’re trying to change bad habits is simply asking for trouble.
4. Get enough sleep
There have been a number of studies that link sleep deprivation with overeating. This is because, when we’re tired our body is psychologically primed to seek out more food for fuel. You can get around this by getting good quality sleep and snacking on protein for energy rather than high-sugar foods.
5. Eat at the table
Every time you eat a meal, make sure you eat it at the table. Eating in front of computer screens at work or our TVs at home can cause us to mindlessly consume excess calories. When you are focussed on the food in front of you, you are more likely to recognise when you become full.
6. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol is second only to fat in terms of calories. That means your nightly glass of wine could be ruining any healthy eating efforts. Try to stay alcohol free for five days a week and when you do drink, opt for low-calorie beverages such as vodka and tonic or light beer.
Find out how a hypnotherapist could help you change the way you think about food on our weight loss page.
View and comment on the original Express article.
February 28th, 2014
Those who cannot be classed as having a clear-cut eating disorder often fail to receive the help they need.
This week is eating disorder awareness week and a condition that is often forgotten about within this spectrum is EDNOS. Eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) is a catch-all term that describes someone with disordered eating who does not match all of the criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. An example of this would be a woman suffering from anorexic behaviours, but continues to have her period.
EDNOS can be incredibly difficult to diagnose and even though it is a serious mental illness, sufferers are often sent away by their GPs and told to return when they fit the criteria entirely. This inevitably results in sufferers slipping further into the grips of their eating disorder.
It has been revealed that those with EDNOS are waiting for up to two years for treatment, with many of them being refused care because they aren’t perceived to be ‘ill’ enough.
A new campaign launched by Cosmopolitan magazine hopes to raise awareness of this issue by urging everyone to write to their doctors asking them to review the way eating disorders are assessed.
In order to be diagnosed with anorexia the sufferer must have a body weight that is at least 15% below the expected BMI caused by self-inflicted measures such as avoiding food and excessive exercise. Body image distortion must also be demonstrated along with an absence of periods (amenorrhoea).
To be diagnosed with bulimia sufferers must display cravings for food alongside evidence of bingeing and purging. Their weight must also be below the normal limits for someone their height.
If someone doesn’t match all of the criteria for either of these conditions, they may miss out on much needed support and treatment.
Whether you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, EDNOS or you’re worried about the way you think about food – it is always worth seeking help. Talk therapies like counselling are often recommended and some sufferers find hypnotherapy to be a useful complementary treatment.
To find out more about hypnotherapy for disordered eating, please see our eating disorders page.
View and comment on the original Express article.
February 26th, 2014
New research highlights a link between excessive tanning and mental health problems.
A study conducted by two scientists in the U.S. has highlighted a link between tanning addiction and the psychological disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and body dismorphic disorder (BDD).
Lisham Ashrafioun, a Bowling Green State University Ph.D. student in psychology, and Dr Erin Bonar, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Addiction Research Centre and a BGSU alumna, conducted the research to determine why so many people are obsessed with excessive tanning.
Their paper, Tanning Addiction and Psychopathology: Further Evaluation of Anxiety Disorders and Substance Abuse also looked at whether tanning should be classified as an addiction, but according to Bonar, this complex matter will require further exploration:
“While more research is needed regarding the idea of tanning as an addiction, this study suggests that some people who tan also experience mental health symptoms that warrant further assessment.
“Although tanning behaviour could be separate and distinct from these concerns, it’s possible that the symptoms of OCD or BDD are contributing to the tanning in some way. For these people, prevention messages and public health campaigns may not be as helpful, but further assessment and treatment could be.”
Bonar and Ashrafioun conducted the study by testing 533 respondents against the Tanning-DSM criteria – a modified version of substance abuse criteria provided by the 4th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Respondents who answered yes to at least three of the eight criteria were considered tanning dependent, and 31% fell into this group.
Further analysis identified that being female and screening positive for BDD and OCD were significantly associated with tanning dependence.
Ashrafioun explains: “It may be that some individuals in our sample engage in excessive tanning because of obsessive thoughts about, or the compulsion to tan, or because tanning is a strategy for relaxation to decrease OCD symptoms.
“If problem tanning is conceptualised as an addictive disorder, obsessions and compulsions about tanning may instead represent craving to tan.”
This, Ashrafioun says, will be vital for working around failing attempts of clinicians to educate patients about the potential dangers of excessive tanning:
“It’s probably more than that – most people know there are harms, but they continue to do it. We need to be more focused on intervention than just telling people it’s bad for them.”
If you are concerned that you have a habit that is bordering on addiction, you may benefit from hypnotherapy. To find out more about the benefits of hypnotherapy for tackling compulsive habits, please see our addictions page.
View and comment on the original Daily Mail article.
February 21st, 2014
Bruxism is a bad habit on the increase in Britain, according to new research.
According to the British Dental Association, the grinding and clenching of teeth is a bad habit that affects 10% of the British population and some dentists are reporting that the condition – also known as Bruxism – is on the rise.
Bruxism is linked to a whole host of side effects which can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, yet most of the time sufferers do not even realise they are doing it.
Orthodontic specialist, Shivani Patel explains:
“We have seen an increase of 30% in teeth grinding problems compared to five years ago. Work-related stress is the most common reason, particularly for women.
“When we sleep any worries or concerns we have – even if only in our subconscious mind – can lead to clenching, nocturnal grinding and in some cases temporomandibular joint dysfunction (pain and dysfunction of the jaw muscles).”
Other side effects of Bruxism include headaches, earache, tooth discolouration, damage to teeth and in some cases, it can even change face shape. This occurs when persistent grinding and clenching wears down the teeth and causes the nose and chin to move closer together.
Recommended treatment tends to include mouth guards or bite guards that are supplied by a dentist. These are custom made to fit the patient’s mouth and must be worn at night.
“They will not necessarily eradicate the grinding problem completely,” says Shivani, “however they can preserve the longevity of the teeth.”
Other recommended treatment is relaxation therapies such as yoga and hypnotherapy which can help if the Bruxism is stress-related. To find out more, please see our hypnotherapy for bruxism page.
View and comment on the original Daily Express article.
February 19th, 2014
How to put anxious thoughts to a stop in less than 60 seconds.
When anxiety takes hold, it can be hard to think of anything else. Often the thought turns up uninvited and proceeds to dominate your mind until something else catches your attention.
Anxious thoughts can act like a computer virus – stopping the computer from working until it is eradicated. The following ‘observe – trust – move’ technique from Barry Joe Macdonald (creator of ‘Panic Away’) has proven helpful for those who struggle with anxiety to stop anxious thoughts in less than a minute.
The first thing you should do is acknowledge that the thought is a fear. Label it as nothing more than a fear and try not to get emotionally involved with the thought.
The next step is to trust that what you are worrying about is most probably not going to happen. Most of the anxious thoughts we have are about eventualities that may or may not happen. Worrying about this is a waste of both time and energy, so it is important to trust that things will work out.
The final stage of this technique is to move your attention away from the anxious thought. Try to focus on something positive that takes your thoughts away from anxiety. It can be helpful to focus on what you are doing. Become mindful of what is around you – if you’re walking down the street, look at peoples’ clothing and take in the views and scents.
If you find that anxious thoughts are getting in the way of your daily life, it may be worth seeking help. Hypnotherapy is just one way you can re-train the mind to cope with anxiety. To find out more, take a look at our anxiety page.
View and comment on the original Natural Alternative Therapies article.
February 14th, 2014
Parent-teen relationships can impact on romance and intimacy later in life, according to new research.
A new study shows that the relationship between parents and teens – no matter how loving or difficult – can greatly impact on whether those children will have successful love lives.
Dr Matt Johnson from the University of Alberta, Canada, conducted the study in order to explore the complexities of the romantic ties that bind partners – and how someone’s upbringing can contribute to their present-day relationship problems, as well as issues surrounding depression and self-esteem.
By reviewing old data collected over 15 years, Johnson found that there is a “small but important link” between the quality and depth of intimacy in later relationships and the nature of the parent-child relationship – the effects of which can last for years.
Unsurprisingly, the data – which is published in the Journal of Marriage and Family – shows that good parent-teen relationships lead to better quality romantic relationships for those grown children later on in life.
Those children who had a tumultuous relationship with one or both of his or her parents showed a reduced likelihood of success in their future romantic relationships, yet interestingly this was only by a very slight chance. It may just take longer and require extra effort for a child with a difficult upbringing to forge successful, stable romantic relationships as an adult.
While Johnson believes “being aware of that connection may save a lot of heartache down the road,” he emphasises “that [it] doesn’t mean parents should be blamed for what might be wrong in a grown child’s relationship.”
Instead he says we should take care to understand and recognise that it takes the present actions of the two people involved in an intimate relationship to make it work or fail:
“It is important to recognise everyone has a role to play in creating a healthy relationship, and each person needs to take responsibility for their contribution to that dynamic.”
If you feel your romantic relationship has come under strain recently and would like to rediscover the spark, why not consider hypnotherapy? Take a look at our relationship issues page to find out more.
View and comment on the original Psychcentral article.
February 12th, 2014
A phenomenon called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response causes intense ‘head tingles’ and extreme relaxation – but what exactly is it?
Do you find that certain sounds or physical sensations trigger pleasurable tingles that start from your head and work their way down the spine? If you do, you may be experiencing what is called ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.
One of the first people to write about this phenomenon was Rhodri Marsden. Talking about the sensation, he says it is sparked by “expertise, precision, reassuring speech patterns and gentle sounds.”
ASMR has only come to light in recent years, with the Internet providing a perfect sanctuary for those who experience it. Complete with a dedicated fan-base and research page, ASMR forums and Youtube videos have become increasingly popular.
A search for ASMR on Youtube turns up thousands of videos. One of the most popular producers of such videos is TheWaterWhispers, who boasts over 800,000 views. Most of these ASMR videos involve women talking softly and performing repetitive movements.
Another Youtube favourite is Heather Feather; in one of her most popular videos she brushes her hair while wet before drying it and then brushes it again while dry. This lasts for over an hour and has received over 32,000 views.
While some people may expect such videos to be subject to ridicule, the opposite appears to be true. People seem to drop their guard and comments are almost entirely positive. Many people thank the creators of the videos for helping them to relax and sleep at times when medication failed.
Jenn Allen coined the term Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response in 2010, however it is unlikely that this phenomenon is a new one. It is more likely that the Internet simply allowed people to be more open about what they experienced.
If you need extra help when it comes to relaxation – why not consider hypnotherapy? Find out more on our relaxation page.
View and comment on the original Daily Mail article.
February 6th, 2014
Shivering has been found to burn just the same amount of fat as exercise, according to study.
New research suggests standing outside in the cold for 10 to 15 minutes can have the same fat-burning effects as an hour of exercise.
Dr Paul Lee, an endocrinologist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney who wrote the study, discovered the weight-loss benefits of shivering after delving into previous research on so-called brown fat. Unlike white fat, which stores energy, brown fat burns it – 50 grams of which can burn 300 calories.
The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, aimed to explore how this brown fat burning process could take place without the need to hit the gym or go for a run. Researchers discovered exposure to cold temperatures was a trigger for brown fat activation, as shivering stimulates hormones that are associated with brown fat calorie burning. Up to fifteen minutes is the time that it took for shivering to yield the same increase of hormone production as one hour of moderate exercise.
As well as highlighting a potential weight-loss method, Dr Lee’s findings add to current knowledge of the body’s own heating mechanism:
“When we are cold, we first activate our brown fat because it burns energy and releases heat to protect us,” Dr Lee said. “When that energy is insufficient, muscle contracts mechanically, or shivers, thereby generating heat. However, we did not know how muscle and fat communicate in this process.”
Lowering the body’s thermostat to help burn excess fat continuously throughout the day has been proven effective in a number of studies, including one published earlier this year by Maastricht University, Netherlands.
Ultimately it is thought national health would greatly benefit if indoor temperatures were lowered. This would also help to tackle the growing obesity rates.
If you are concerned about your weight and struggling to find the motivation to get fit and eat more healthily, why not consider hypnotherapy? Find out more about hypnotherapy for weight loss by visiting our weight loss page.
View and comment on the original MedicalDaily article.
February 5th, 2014
Architects issue a report that could hold the key to improved national health.
A new report published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has revealed that the layout of British towns and cities can directly impact our overall health.
Following the comparison of the rates of physical activity, childhood obesity and diabetes in nine of England’s most populated cities, RIBA found a clear correlation between the amount of green space, density of housing in urban areas and the general health of the population.
Among the cities showing the worst records for health and well-being were Birmingham, with the fewest physically active adults, and Liverpool, which is home to both the largest number of obese children and highest rates of those living with diabetes.
Alternatively, Leeds and Bristol were found to be among the healthiest of British cities, with residents leading the most active lifestyles (Leeds) and having the lowest levels of obesity and diabetes (Bristol).
Significantly however, despite being at opposite ends of the spectrum, RIBA’s ‘City Health Check’ report showed that all four towns have plenty of parks. The gulf in health outcomes suggest that the level of physical activity in a particular city depends on the quality as well as the quantity of green space available – people will be more encouraged to go for walks, take their children out, and go running if they live in clean, friendly environments.
Ultimately, RIBA believes better town planning, and “mitigating the impact of a lack of green space and creating environments to support walking”, is fundamental for encouraging people to be more active.
Research showed that 75% of people living in the nine cities surveyed do not meet the Government recommended 150 minutes of physical activity every week, and this greatly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. This could be cut by 50% if people were to meet physical activity targets.
RIBA’s president, Stephen Hodder said: “At a time of austerity and increased concern with physical and mental well-being, it’s shocking to discover that just by making public health a priority when planning cities, we can save the country upwards of £1bn annually through reduced obesity-related healthcare costs.”
If you are worried about your weight and struggling to find the motivation to eat healthily and exercise, you may benefit from hypnotherapy. For more advice, please visit our weight loss page.
View and comment on the original Independent article.