Panic attacks can be quite debilitating and can happen without any warning. While they are not nearly as dangerous as a heart attack or a stroke, anyone who has had one will agree that it can certainly feel like you are having them both at the same time. Fortunately for us, panic attacks are only symptoms of our body reacting to intense fear, stress and excitement, which can be controlled with hypnotherapy. To understand panic attacks and the role hypnotherapy can play in controlling or even eliminating them completely, read on.
What Stimulates a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is a symptom or a result of an overtly sensitised fear response, also described as the instinctual fight or flight instinct getting hyperactivated due to current events or memories of earlier events. Alarmingly enough, one’s chances of experiencing panic attacks actually increases with each episode as the fear response becomes more and more sensitised after every attack and the association of intense fear with the stimuli gains more wide reach. What this means is that if a barking dog induced a panic attack in a child earlier, repeated instances of such events might cause him/her to associate all dogs with intense fear, even friendly ones. The bottom-line is that panic attacks are triggered by sensations of intense fear and/or embarrassment, whether it originates from something rational or just a memory.
What are the Signs of a Panic Attack?
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America or ADAA states that any person who can associate his/her physical and psychological sensations with any four of the following symptoms can potentially be suffering from a panic attack.
- Tachycardia, shortness of breath, tightening of the chest, choking sensation, chest pain
- Shaking, dizziness, chills and hot flashes, nausea, fainting
- Numbness and tingling sensations
- Feeling of unreality, depersonalisation, losing control and fear of death
Under normal circumstances, panic attacks do not last for more than 10-minutes, so if these symptoms are persisting, get yourself checked as soon as possible for a medical cause.
How Can Hypnotherapy Help?
Hypnotherapy can indeed be the most effective treatment for panic attacks because it treats the underlying psychological issue from which the panic attacks are stemming, instead of just curbing the symptoms. If the mind doesn’t perceive an event as a source of fear, the body won’t go into fight or flight mode and therefore, panic attacks are eliminated at the source itself. If you are wondering how a hypnotherapist does that, consider the following steps which might be taken in some situations.
- The hypnotherapist uses his/her training as a hypnotist to relax the patients as much as possible.
- Then, the patient is systematically led to a state of trance and guided towards that point in his/her life which led to the panic attacks
- As the patient regresses back to those memories which caused shame, fear, anger and other negative emotions, the hypnotherapist allows the patient to explore those memories.
- At all times, the therapist assures and guides the patient to fully realise and experience every repressed emotion related to those incidents.
- As those emotions and feelings are explored and realised as only memories, the therapist now uses the power of suggestion to slowly turn the panic-inducing memories completely inert
Since the emotions and feelings are realised completely and the therapist reprograms the traumatic memories into harmless ones, the patient’s mind disassociates fear and panic from them. This essentially ensures that even when future stimuli remind the patient of his/her past experiences, the mind doesn’t perceive it as a reason to be afraid anymore and as a result of the absence of fear, the body doesn’t panic either as there is no reason there to warrant such a reaction.