Anxiety, panic attacks and phobia.

August 4, 2012 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

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By Clementine O’Shaughnessy, Dip.Couns, DHP, HPD, LHS, MBAC

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Do you suffer with regular anxiety, panic attacks, or a phobia of any kind? If so, the symptoms listed below will be all too familiar…

  • Feeling constantly on edge with scary, anxious thoughts running through your head.
  • Feeling like you’re about to lose control and do something dangerous or embarrassing.
  • Getting light headed or dizzy with heart palpitations and dread.
  • Feeling disconnected from reality and spacey.
  • Feeling trapped in situations you can’t ‘escape’ from…i.e. driving, restaurants, social functions, or even standing in queue.
  • Worrying you’ll stop breathing because your chest and throat feel so tight. Your vision can get blurry, your hands and feet tingle, and your palms sweat.

You may have even seen a doctor fearing a heart condition or other emergency to have them find nothing physically wrong with you.

It really doesn’t help the situation to try and find the cause of your first attack, because the reason wouldn’t be of much help, because the solution is the same.

When you feel you’re threatened, it activates your body’s “fight or flight” response, which is a survival mechanism from long ago. Within fractions of a second, hormones pump through your body and prepare you to fight off a dangerous predator, or run away as fast as you can….

This is a GREAT response if you’re actually under attack or in danger. But when you’re in a shop, or at work, or out socialising, and there’s no REAL threat- it’s very disabling.

You see- your mind will respond the same to THOUGHTS of a wild animal as actually seeing one. Your response is an instinctual one, as you’re not reacting on a rational, logical level. You don’t really THINK at all, -you just REACT based on thousands of years of evolution.

It’s a reaction that’s occurring on a deeper subconscious level, which is difficult to change as it’s a protection.

Whenever you get anxious, your mind reflects back to other times you survived the panic and will AUTOMATICALLY react in the same way… this is often to run away, which simply perpetuates the same behaviour. This eventually lets the mind believe that it is CORRECT TO BE SCARED, thus making the behaviour worse…

In effect- your thoughts are encouraging the fear response. The remedy is to bring your anxiety down generally, to use hypnosis with a therapist to change the sub-conscious pattern and start to focus on what you see your life being like when you’re calm and relaxed.

This blog also appears on clementine-hypnotherapy.co.uk/blog

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