Social anxiety disorder and hypnotherapy

Each year anxiety affects over 40 million Americans. Did you know that anxiety happens to be the most common mental condition among the United States?

What exactly is social anxiety?

It is routine to feel anxious in social situations where we are most likely to come under the attention of other people. It doesn’t matter if it is people familiar to us or complete strangers. When it comes to attending functions, giving a speech or presenting yourself in front of others at a family get together, it can cause anxiety and uneasiness which can lead up to high levels before and during the event. For those who are experiencing social anxiety, it can mean being in front of others or being the centre of attention which can lead to intense levels of anxiety. There are fears of being judged, laughed at, criticised and even humiliated in front of others at even the most ordinary, everyday situations. The thought of eating food at a restaurant in front of others can be extremely daunting for those with social phobia. Situations like these are just too much to handle. People will try and avoid social contact because such things that others consider to be normal like making eye contact and small talk is something that feels unbearable to someone suffering from a social anxiety disorder.

What physical symptoms can accompany social anxiety disorder?

• Muscle tension
• Rapid heartbeat
• Stomach cramps and diarrhea
• Dizziness and light-headedness
• Trouble catching your breath
• Have a feeling like an out of body sensation

Some symptoms can arise before an event, or you could spend weeks stressing about it. The symptoms and stress can last for a while after the event as people then worry about how they acted and become paranoid about what people thought of them.

Social anxiety can be specific also; where the people fear a particular situation or a few situations that relate to one specific fear.

There are many forms of treatment for social anxiety, such as:

• Medication
• Exposure therapy
• Cognitive behavioural therapy

One form of alternative therapy that people forget about is hypnotherapy.

How can hypnotherapy treat anxiety?

If you have a fear of flying during a hypnotherapy session, the therapist will give you a posthypnotic suggestion when you are in a deep state of relaxation. When you are in this trance, the mind is more open to suggestions. This will allow the therapist to suggest how confident you will be next time you go and sit on a plane.
When you are in a relaxed state, it can be easier to avoid the escalation that comes with the anxiety symptoms, including:

• Shortness of breath
• The feeling of impending doom
• Muscle tension
• Increased heart rate
• Irritability

Hypnotherapy works well for social anxiety when it is used along with other treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy. If you are only going to use the hypnotherapy alone to treat your anxiety, it will quite likely have the same effects that meditation does. A hypnotic trance puts you into a tranquil state like meditation where you can then address the phobias and anxieties while in this state. At times during a hypnotherapy session, the specialist will use a technique known as hypnoprojectives; this is where you view past events as you would have liked them to turn out. You then need to view yourself in the future, sitting calmly in that situation.