Is Hypnotherapy an Effective Treatment for Panic Disorders?

Many people who suffer from panic disorders are reluctant to treat the disorder with prescription drugs. At least some of that trepidation is justified; the mood-altering medications used to treat depression, anxiety and panic disorders can have some very troubling side effects for some people.

 

Perhaps that is why so many people are turning to alternative treatments like hypnotherapy to treat their panic disorder. Some patients use hypnotherapy alone, while others use this natural treatment as an adjunct to medication, therapies and other traditional approaches to the problem.

 

If you are thinking about seeking treating for your own panic attacks with hypnotherapy, it is important to understand how the process works. During the typical hypnotherapy session, the hypnotist will guide the patient to a relaxed state of mind. Once the patient is feeling calm but still alert, the hypnotherapist draws their attention to the behavior they want to change. That behavior can be virtually anything, from smoking and overeating to succumbing to stress and panic disorders.

 

Research has shown that hypnotism can be particularly well suited to treating stress, anxiety and related conditions. Hypnotherapy has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for getting rid of phobias, and there is evidence to show that it can be just as good at treating panic disorders.

What is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorders have been found to be a strong presentation of the “flight or fight” reaction of the sympathetic nervous system. An over exaggeration of this reaction that occurs suddenly for no apparent reason or due to a mild stressor. There tends to be a genetic component to the disorder as well. It is believed that the problem lies within the amygdala in the brain. A key to treating the disorder is to calm down the amygdala and thus the flight or fight reaction.  Calming the sympathetic nervous system is key to treating this disorder.

 

Panic attacks tend to come with triggers. Triggers can be anything that brings on a panic attack for the patient.  They may include a sudden stressor, a memory or anticipation of a stressor. Or, in this disorder, an attack or experience may occur out of nowhere, for no apparent reason at all.

 

Panic attacks often involve feelings of being out of control, feels of extreme anxiety, fear, feelings of impending doom or death, feelings of “losing my mind.” Many physiological feelings and symptoms are also experienced such as rapid heartbeat, nausea, shacking, blurred vision and other symptoms of an over active sympathetic nervous system.

 

 

Hypnotherapy for Panic

A good hypnotherapist can guide the patient and help them recognize the triggers that bring on a panic attack and teach the patient how to induce immediate relaxation to overcome the sympathetic flight or fight reaction.  That in turn can help the patient control the trigger, which can help sufferers avoid or lessen their next panic attack. The hypnotherapist teaches the patient how to do self-hypnosis as well.  This is so the patient can master self-relaxation on an ongoing basis and train their nervous system to be in a state of more calm and relaxation and thus lessen over activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Over time this can significantly assist in reducing the number of panic attacks and the severity and the intensity of the attacks.

 

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy work with the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is the “master mind” so to speak and can significantly influence our body’s processes, including our nervous system. Our subconscious mind, through hypnotic suggestions, can be trained to reduce the incidence and severity of inappropriate exaggerated reactions of the sympathetic nervous system.

 

If you suffer from panic attacks or generalized anxiety, it is important to talk to your health care provider before embarking on a course of hypnotherapy. Getting a firm diagnosis from a doctor can help you choose the right course of treatment and get the help you need.

 

A growing number of medical professionals are open to alternative treatments for conditions like stress, anxiety, phobias and panic disorders. In some cases your doctor might recommend hypnotherapy as a first course of treatment to see if it will relieve the symptoms or at least make them less troublesome.

 

Other physicians may prefer to use hypnotherapy in combination with medication, talk therapy and other traditional treatments. The combination of traditional medication and hypnotherapy can be very effective for many patients, and many people have already seen great results.

 

Whether used alone or in combination with other treatments, there is reason to believe hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for panic attacks. If you suffer from these debilitating attacks, you owe it to yourself to talk to your doctor and see if hypnotherapy can help you overcome your fear.

Selecting a Certified Hypnotherapist

When selecting a hypnotherapist to see, it is advised that you seek out a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, one that has gone through an extensive training program and is duly credentialed and certified by an organization or association that provides for high standards for its members. The American College of Hypnotherapy is an Organization that provides an extensive education and training curriculum, as well as official certification for health care professionals seeking to achieve professional certification status as a Clinical Hypnotherapist. You may access information here for more information: Hypnotherapy Certification.