Helping Panic & Anxiety with Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Cognitive Therapy at 1066 Therapy
covering East Sussex, Battle, Hastings, Bexhill, Rye, Heathfield, Hailsham, Eastbourne, Crowborough, Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Ashford and Kent.
I am often consulted for help for panic problems or disorders at my practice just outside of Battle, East Sussex. When a person needs help with a problem with panic, appropriate therapy can be very effective.
When someone has a panic problem they will also have problems with anxiety. The most common type of anxiety I am asked for help with is social anxiety, which is basically a fear of being judged, rejected, criticised, laughed at, or humiliated by others. Someone with social anxiety will tend to spend a fair amount of time worrying about what others are thinking about them.
Almost as common as social anxiety is general anxiety or ‘generalised anxiety disorder’, GAD for short. This is a more or less constant anxious feeling people have without a specific cause – they just feel ‘edgy’ a lot of the time without knowing why. They have a sense of ‘something bad about to happen. They may worry about a lot of things. They may even refer to themselves as ‘an anxious person’ or say things like ‘I am a worrier, I can’t help it’ or ‘It’s just the way I am’. none of those statements are true though, because this is NOT something people have to live with or they can’t change – they aren’t ‘anxious people’, they are people who feel anxious or panicky when it’s not necessary or appropriate, and THAT can be changed.
What Causes Anxiety?
Anxiety is in fact part of our survival response: it is our physical experience of our brain’s ‘early warning system’ of impending threat or danger (to life and limb). It can be activated by all sorts of people, experiences and events in our everyday life without us really being aware of the ‘triggers’: all we are aware of is the result – feeling anxious, worried, or panicky. Of course, almost always there is no real threat or danger present, so why are we feeling anxious? Neuroscientific research over recent decades has found that the feeling of anxiety is caused by a dysregulated nervous system. This dysregulation is most often caused by unresolved, conflicting emotions (often held subconsciously). These emotions have not been properly processed or resolved and have their origin in past events which have been challenging, adverse, emotionally overwhelming, or traumatic – and therefore dysregulating to the nervous system – in some way for the individual. The emotional memories of such event(s) are stored in a part of the brain called the limbic system, which is where our survival response is activated.
A dysregulated nervous system causes inner discomfort and that sense of ‘something bad about to happen’. Often people will not even be aware that they have any inner discomfort or dysregulation, because the way they feel inside is their ‘normal’.
What Causes Panic?
Sometimes anxiety may escalate to feelings of panic. The intense feelings of panic are caused when someone is ‘triggered’ into their survival response – fight/flight/freeze response – in an otherwise fairly ordinary, everyday situation. Triggers are usually ‘sensory experiences’ (i.e. a sight, sound, smell, taste, action, or bodily sensation) which somehow ‘connect’ to those unresolved emotional memories stored in the limbic system. The triggers can be so diverse, so it is generally very difficult to pinpoint them – although we can work on this. It is fair to say though that the vast majority of everyday situations are not immediately life-threatening, so a survival response is not actually needed. However, the part of the brain which stores the unresolved emotional conflict (or unresolved trauma) will still ‘sound the alarm’ AS IF the person is in a life-threatening situation, until such time that the emotional conflict or trauma is resolved.
While anxiety and panic may well seem irrational and maladaptive in a person’s adult life, there was a time when it was an adaptive response to some adverse events they were experiencing. The difficulty is that people can get somehow ‘stuck’ in their survival response even though the adversity or threat has long passed.
Over time, anxiety or panic may increase to the point where they can have a significant impact on a person’s life. It is quite common then for people to gradually limit or control their lifestyle in an attempt to avoid, as far as possible, any situations which might ‘trigger’ their anxiety or panic.
Some therapies, including Suggestion Therapy, counselling, CBT, NLP and EFT (tapping), can offer some relief by aiming for a control of anxiety symptoms. This is usually achieved by the input of positive suggestions, or teaching coping mechanisms or other tools/techniques. However, sometimes this isn’t enough and many people prefer to aim for a resolution to the underlying causes – the unresolved emotions, and experiences.
I offer different approaches for this (and every problem) and the choice of which one (or more) to take depends on the individual and their circumstances – the decision is usually made during the initial consultation.
Please browse my site for information on the various therapies / approaches that I practise.
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Call me now on 07722783490 or 01424 772392 to book your free 30 minute initial consultation.