Uses of Hypnotherapy - Anxiety
Anxiety and anxiety-related conditions are the most common psychological afflictions of man and account for a major percentage of initial complaints to psychiatrists as well as to general practitioners.
Although it is estimated that some 5% of the population may suffer from acute or chronic anxiety, with women outnumbering men two to one (Cohen and White, 1950), the numbers are probably significantly higher.
As a symptom, anxiety is a final common pathway for many conditions, physical as well as psychological. As syndromes, anxiety disorders are under intensive study to define more precisely their etiologies and clinical outcomes. Recent studies, showing disturbances of lactate metabolism in certain anxious individuals, point to the possibility that some anxiety states, like some depressive states, have strong biological and genetic determinants.
Hypnosis finds its most common clinical utilization in the treatment of anxiety and its related states, not only because of anxiety's prevalence, but because hypnosis has such a clear role as a potent anti-anxiety agent.
EVALUATION OF ANXIETY
The first task of the hypnotherapist is to evaluate the anxiety condition. At the end of the initial interview, several questions must be asked. Is the anxiety organically determined? Is there a medical, physiological, or otherwise somatic basis for its existence? The list of medical conditions which, as a by-product, contain anxiety is long: hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, anemia, hypoglycemia, withdrawal from sedative hypnotics (including alcohol), and caffeinism, cocaine, and psychostimulant abuse, among others. Anxiety is also sometimes confused with medical conditions which, in their presentation, share its expressions. Coronary artery disease, with chest pain, respiratory distress, and cardiac symptoms can mimic anxiety states; so can hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytomas and Meniere's disease. The treatment, while not obviating adjunctive psychotherapeutic or hypnotherapeutic intervention, will of course be mainly aimed at treating the primary medical condition.
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