I am not a fan of alarmist headlines, as it does nothing but feed into the current over sensitised collective mind of the world.
You don’t need to look far to notice the next news headline – a terrible prediction- that the next global pandemic will be the mental health pandemic.
During the last 3 months (USA) and as a product of the COVID-19 situation, the number of people seeking help for sleep and anxiety has soared.
A report released in April 2020report indicated a 34% increase in people asking for anxiety medications. The numbers reported in Australia are almost identical, and in some cases higher.
It is a worrying trend that is causing concern for those who work with people.
People experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety and sleeplessness have been turning to medication as a quick fix. It is true they are fast-acting and can appear to provide short term relief.
However, they often produce effects, such as decreasing the blood flow to the brain, which will have an impact on a person’s cognitive function. The long term side effects include memory loss and confusion.
Dr. Michael Yapko, a Clinical Psychologist, is considered by many to be one of the leading experts in the world on depression and anxiety, recently talked extensively about his concerns regarding this worrying trend.
Michael has dedicated the majority of his career to understanding anxiety and depression and provide people with an alternative perspective and hope that there is another way to work with both these conditions. He uses hypnosis as his preferred approach and has also written the definitive text on hypnosis Tranceworks, now in its 5th edition. https://www.amazon.com.au/s?k=tranceworks&ref=nb_sb_noss_2
After 40 years, he has the experience to back up the claim that anxiety and depression are a response to social and environmental conditions and not a disorder or disease as has been the prevailing belief of many professionals. It will, therefore, be no surprise to learn, that the poorer demographic with limited resources have an increased prevalence of anxiety and depression.
Another world-renowned expert, Dr. Breggin, could be considered the leading expert on the effects of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications and is referred to as the ‘Conscience of Psychiatry”. A psychiatrist who single-handedly leads the charge on investigating the negative impact of these medications.
For further information, visit his website https://breggin.com/
What is to be done?
So, what can someone do that is experiencing anxiety? How can they deal with the feelings, thoughts and behaviours that accompany anxiety?
Is it even fair to say that anxiety does not exist, after all the symptoms a person experiences are genuine and have a real-world impact on their lives.
Many people are given labels to explain their symptoms, for example, social anxiety, performance anxiety, or general anxiety disorder. For some, this may help them feel better for a while.
‘Ah…now I know what is wrong with me’….except there is nothing wrong per se, it is a pattern of learned behaviour and perceptions that are the issue, rather than the belief that the person is somehow broken, unfixable and permanently predisposed to have a life of suffering. Which one of these perspectives provides hope?
Anxiety could be described as a perceptual issue; it is the lens through which a person may be viewing the world and events within the world, that are causing the reactions they feel, which can feel overwhelming.
This does not mean that people will never experience challenges or negative situations. What is overlooked is the statistic that 70% of people experiencing such ordeals, which, let’s face it, the majority of us will encounter at some time in our lives, will recover and move past the event or trauma.
It is the remaining 30% of people that can become stuck in a repetitive loop. This 30 % are not defective.
Either they do not have the predisposition for resilience or were never taught the necessary skills.
No medication can change this; clinical hypnotherapy is, however,an evidence-based approach that helps people who might be suffering from anxiety, access the unconscious patterns of thoughts and, therefore change the behaviour that underpin anxiety.
Strategic psychotherapy also helps a person understand and use cognitive solutions to challenge their world view and thinking strategies.
I love the expression ‘I AM NOT GOING TO TEACH YOU WHAT TO THINK, BUT I WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO THINK.
There is a clear distinction here.
Those dedicated to creating a world where every person can manage their mood, control their thoughts, and more importantly, come through times of anxiety, trauma -yes-even COVID-19 know that hypnosis, hypnotherapy, and similar modalities offer great opportunity for change.
The idea of resilience is the new buzz word and is certainly better than the idea that after experiencing anxiety-inducing situations, people are destined to suffer continuously or be permanently damaged.
Hypnosis, hypnotherapy an approach I use, is an ideal way of building a person’s resilience. Hypnosis can be used to help someone build capacity within their lives because no one can argue that living a stress-free life is impossible we in fact there is much evidence that living a stress-free life is not only impossible but also non-beneficial.
The idea of taking a medication, like taking penicillin for a bacterial infection, can somehow ‘kill’ the anxiety is proving to be a flawed one, and choosing hypnosis and hypnotherapy as a model for change, is certainly one that will not cause harm and is highly effective.
It would be fantastic if we could wave a magic wand, and we were all able to see anxiety for what it is, but until then, consider hypnotherapy as a solution and antidote to this new pandemic.