Anxiety and insomnia in the bedroom and beyond
The onset of anxiety can happen to anyone at any stage of their life. For some, anxiety is a new experience, something new and frightening, as they feel as though they are losing control. Anxiety is something they have been living with for a long time for others.
Anxiety is a natural response. It's part of our fight or flight response. When people experience 'anxiety' as a problem, it is because it has become out of control and debilitating for them. The anxiety may or may not be incessant, but it occurs at inappropriate times or for inappropriate reasons. However, it presents to each individual anxiety in this way is distressing and debilitating and causes real emotional and physical suffering.
As a therapist, the personal stories of people suffering from anxiety, whether since their teens or from early adulthood, are very familiar. As are those clients of any age who suddenly find themselves with unexplained symptoms that they learn is anxiety. Sometimes a person knows the cause; however, frequently, it starts to occur for no apparent reason.
The global pandemic has created the perfect storm for many individuals. These are other individuals just like you who suddenly find that they are newly suffering from anxiety in some or many areas of their lives.
In a UK pandemic survey, pandemic related anxiety fell from 62% in March 2020 to 42% in February 2021. However, in April 2020, 73% of adults surveyed said they were coping with the stress of the pandemic, although by February 2021, those coping had fallen to 64%. Meanwhile, feelings of hopelessness remained steady.
Anxiety about social situations, crowds of people and social phobia has always been an anxiety for many people in the UK. It is, however, something that has increased following the pandemic and the forced isolation of lockdowns.
An Oxford University international study based on sleep and insomnia found that anxiety, depression and insomnia were highly prevalent during the Covid-19 first wave.
Hypnotherapy for anxiety and insomnia
Increasingly I am asked, can hypnotherapy help with insomnia? The answer is a resounding yes, which is often met with obvious relief at the other end of the phone.
Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, constantly waking up or waking too early. Insomnia can sometimes be a stand-alone problem due to irregular sleep patterns. I normally find clients that do shift work suffer from sleep issues. As with anxiety and depression, no two clients are the same. What is an interesting factor, though, is that an Oxford University study shows that those successfully treated for insomnia also experience a reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms with improvement to their mental health well-being.
Solution focussed hypnotherapy is the perfect treatment programme for insomnia. Even the word hypnosis stems from the Greek mythology Hypnos, the god of sleep. Hypnotherapy induces a relaxed state as we work with the subconscious part of the brain in the same way as we do for anxiety or depression. You do not go to sleep but are in a relaxed, conscious state that many clients find highly relaxing. Whether or not anxiety or depression is the underlying cause for insomnia, the treatment will be similar although targeted towards sleep.
Hypnotherapy is not new. In fact, hypnotherapy is one of the oldest therapies; the oldest record dates back 5000 years BC. Solution focussed hypnotherapy is successfully used to treat a variety of things; some are more obvious such as stopping smoking, weight loss, poor body image, phobias, relationships, insomnia, depression, sexual issues and much more.
Hypnotherapy for anxiety is not new either and is just one of the ways that we help people. Anxiety is an unconscious reaction to stress, pressure and being overwhelmed. Everyone feels anxious at times; it is problematic when the anxiety is disproportionate; out of proportion to the situation, persistent or intrusive, especially if it interferes with your life.
What does anxiety feel like?
Anxiety is a broad term with a wide variety of symptoms and related conditions included under the umbrella term of anxiety. How anxiety affects you depends on a lot of individual factors. The most widespread anxiety diagnosis is generalised anxiety disorder known as GAD, which is suspected to affect four to five people out of every hundred in the UK. Others include social anxiety, sexual anxiety, panic attacks, palpitations and phobias.
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety is real and affects your mind and body. For those who experience anxiety, it is overwhelming, and the mental stress is often accompanied by physical symptoms.
Someone suffering from anxiety may:
- feel detached from the world around them
- feel as though they are not entirely present
- have difficulty concentrating
- experience a feeling of dread for no reason
- expect and fear the worst or have unexplained fears
- have panic attacks
- experience heart palpitations or racing heart
- have unexplained irritability, restlessness, nausea, sweating, dry mouth
- feel lightheaded or dizzy
- suffer from wobbly legs
- have unexplained headaches
- experience shortness of breath or asthma symptoms
- pins and needles in hands and or feet
- holding tension in the body can manifest into pain
Those suffering from anxiety may experience one or several of these symptoms. Or even different impacts from their anxiety, the above gives an insight into what anxiety feels like. Many people initially believe that there is something seriously wrong when they first experience anxiety. It is often a relief when anxiety is diagnosed, although sufferers find that it does still continue to impact on day to day living. Frequently the symptoms create frustration that adds to the problem because anxiety symptoms are a real but unnecessary response. To an onlooker, an anxiety attack can look like a heart attack, severe asthma attack or another life-threatening happening.
Similarly to depression, no two cases of anxiety are the same. That means that no two courses of hypnotherapy are the same. We work together to ensure what works best for you.
How can anxiety affect day-to-day life?
- Relationships at work or home; short-tempered, frustration, not speaking out, unable to do a presentation, plus a lot more.
- Sexual relationships; vaginismus, erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia, loss of libido
- Focus and decision-making; unable to complete jobs, fear of making the wrong decisions, procrastinating.
Are anxiety attacks and panic attacks the same?
Panic attacks are a part of anxiety and having panic attacks is one of the most severe effects. Not everyone who experiences anxiety has panic attacks. But panic attacks are anxiety. Panic attacks are frequently a reason for avoiding certain situations for fear of experiencing a panic attack. Those who experience panic attacks might experience a vicious circle where living in fear of panic attacks can lead to what is feared. This is why it's important to seek help to break the cycle and regain your sense of freedom.
Hypnotherapy and depression
Just as with anxiety, the term depression covers a wide range of symptoms and no two people experience depression in the same way. Frequently people with depression feel unmotivated, hopeless, disinterested and sad. When these emotions interfere with a person's daily life, help is required to reset the way the person feels.
Solution focussed hypnotherapy can be an extremely effective treatment for depression. Because we work with the subconscious mind, we engage with the whole mind rather than the 10% that is the conscious mind. We work through causes and solutions together.
Just the same as anxiety, there can be a large variety of reasons that triggered depression in an individual. At the start of the treatment, we work together to create a relaxing environment before moving on to hypnotherapy. Sometimes, we find unresolved emotions or regrets, guilt, anger and trauma that triggered depression.
The global pandemic has impacted many people's mental health. Anxiety-based depression rose during the third lockdown. Another example from an Office of National Statistics (ONS) survey in May 2021 symptoms of depression were more than double pre-pandemic levels in the 16-39 year age group.
Regain control with solution-focused hypnotherapy
Whatever your reason for visiting this page, help is at hand. Hypnotherapy for anxiety, depression and insomnia are just some of the ways that I help my clients regain control of their lives. Everyone is different, and the hypnotherapy treatments are always individual to each client's needs. Through the course of therapy, we will find solutions and also empower you to use self-hypnosis skills to overcome your challenges, help you to relax and help you regain healthy sleep patterns, overcome anxiety and manage your depression. Many clients find the hypnotherapy experience highly therapeutic and restful.
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