Anxiety, a Common Problem
Anxiety has a purpose.
It makes us more alert, more aware of self and surroundings, more ready for action.
It can help us stay safe. It is instinctive and useful but can produce reactions that are far in excess of those necessary given some situations.
While there are many reasons for anxiety and it is important for the therapist to identify exactly what the trigger for the response in the client is, there are many issues that can result in a person feeling anxious in certain situations, some obvious and easily dealt with, once the issue goes away the anxiety decreases, things return to normal. Prolonged anxiety however needs to be properly addressed and can point to deeper seated problems, here it may be necessary to use an uncovering technique to track back to the initial sensitising event and good hypnoanalysis can help with that.
People with severe anxiety may have heard references by health professionals made to fight or flight. The fight or flight response, is an instinctive reaction to danger and has been with us since life as we know it began. It is stress-induced and creates changes that prioritise functions involved in the escaping of ‘danger’ and works on a physical as well as mental level, for example – the redirection of blood flow to the muscles drawn away from most other body parts, particularly away from the extremities which may be prone to injury, increased blood pressure and blood sugar levels, there maybe dilation of the pupils, and often an urgent need to rush to the toilet both urine and the evacuation of the bowel (with prolonged stress IBS symptoms can begin to appear). There may also be an inhibition of digestion for energy conservation.
At the initiation of the flight or flight response glucose and fatty acids (blood sugar) are released from storage sites in the body and are diverted into the bloodstream where they become readily available for utilisation by the muscles. The fight or flight response is a reactive and adaptive protection system for the human being, and originates in the brain. The body is made ready to fight or flee.
Yet anxiety is quite a lot like excitement.
It can be our choice to stand at the edge, climbing a mountain, trying new things, pushing the boundaries can be a little scary, but a little adrenalin rush can be fun.
It is in the human psyche to offer challenges to self, to push the boundaries and create a ‘rush’.
Here the anxiety is generally of short duration because it is released through the completion of the ‘challenge’.
After all if we go back to our ancient ancestor he would have discharged the F/F response by action, if a danger was imminent he would have run away or stood and fought either way when that was over things could return to normal, including in his body and mind.
Although the fight-or-flight response is undoubtedly vital to initiate an autonomous response to impending danger in an acute situation for modern man it can become devastating when active, even at a low-level, for a protracted period of time. In some cases anxiety may insidious, a bullying boss, a problematic journey repeated every morning on the way to work, this type of anxiety not so easily discharged, this is when anxiety may overwhelm.
It can also make the sufferer feel like their safety net is gone, that things don’t make sense are out of control, not normal. A lot like fear. It is fear prolonged anxiety is like fear, spread thinly.
Anxiety disorders should not be taken lightly about 5% of the population may be affected at any one time and are more common in women than men
It is important to understand that to feel anxious is normal, even high anxiety is normal if as a direct reaction to something that needs to be dealt with.
It may be something that presents an immediate danger either real and immediate like a need to get out of the way of a speeding lorry, or perceived like an unexplained noise outside your window that may go unnoticed usually, but not during a scary movie! However if the anxiety gets out of hand over a period of time and seems out of proportion for the situation or becomes prolonged and it is overly problematic, help may be needed.
Anxiety and fears need to be sorted out, with help this problem that causes so much misery can be brought under control.
Often the first step forward is just beginning to talk ….
Hypnotherapy is a talking therapy, picking up the phone and making an appointment is a very good place to start.