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.
Panic and anxiety problems
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. This is basically a fear of others judging, rejecting, criticising, laughing at, or humiliating us. As a result, we 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 we have without a specific cause. We just feel ‘edgy’ a lot of the time without knowing why. There’s often a sense of ‘something bad about to happen. We may worry about a lot of things. Sometimes, we may even call ourselves ‘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. This is NOT something we have to live with or we can’t change. We aren’t ‘anxious people’. We just FEEL anxious or panicky when it’s not necessary or appropriate, and we can change that.
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). All sorts of people, experiences and events in our everyday life can activate an anxiety response without us really being aware of the ‘triggers’. We are usually only aware of 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 having a dysregulated nervous system. This is most often caused by past events which have been negative, distressing, emotionally overwhelming, or traumatic in some way. Such events dysregulate our nervous system. It stays dysregulated if we cannot properly process what has happened. We store the emotional memories of such event(s)in a part of the brain called the limbic system. Parts of our limbic system activate our survival response. Our survival response causes the feelings of anxiety. We have usually forgotten the negative events by the time we develop anxiety problems. As a result, we usually do not connect past events to current anxiety.
A dysregulated nervous system causes inner discomfort and that sense of ‘something bad about to happen’. Often we will not even be aware that we have any inner discomfort or dysregulation, because the way we feel inside is our ‘normal’.
What Causes Panic?
Sometimes anxiety may escalate to feelings of panic. The intense feelings of panic are caused when we are fully ‘triggered’ into our survival response. The survival response is also known as fight/flight/freeze. Usually this happens in an otherwise ordinary, everyday situation. In other words, we are in fight/flight when we aren’t really in any immediate danger. Triggers are usually ‘sensory experiences’ (i.e. a sight, sound, smell, taste, action, or bodily sensation) which somehow remind the limbic system of our unresolved emotional memories. Triggers can be diverse, so it can be difficult to pinpoint them although we can work on this.
Of course, the vast majority of everyday situations are not actually life-threatening, so we do not need a survival response. However once triggered, our limbic system will still ‘sound the alarm’ AS IF we are in real danger. We are vulnerable to all sorts of triggers until we properly resolve the emotional conflict or trauma.
Panicking may well seem irrational and unhelpful in our adult life. However, there was a time when being in fight/flight was an adaptive response to some adverse events we experienced. The difficulty is that we can get somehow ‘stuck’ in our survival response even though the adversity or threat has long passed. Over time, anxiety or panic may increase to the point where it can have a significant impact on our life. Thus, it is quite common to gradually limit or control our lifestyle in an attempt to avoid, as far as possible, any situations which might ‘trigger’ our 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, this often 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 to help anxiety. The choice of which one (or more) to take depends on the individual and their circumstances. We usually make the decision together during the initial consultation.
Please browse my site for information on the various therapies / approaches that I practise.
CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Call me now on 07722783490 or 01424 772392 to book your free 30 minute initial consultation.