Menopause Matters Forum

Menopause Discussion => Other Health Discussion => Topic started by: imgeha on April 20, 2016, 06:02:16 PM

Title: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: imgeha on April 20, 2016, 06:02:16 PM
I have found this forum really useful for not feeling so alone with my health anxiety, which is threatening to drown me at the moment.  Has anyone tried hypnosis to deal with this?  Does CBT, or any other therapy - NLP, emotional freedom - work, does anyone know?

Getting a bit desperate trying to cope with myself ....
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: CLKD on April 20, 2016, 07:22:30 PM
There are medications that your GP can prescribe for on an 'as necessary' basis, i.e. Valium.  They can be addictive but if one works with your GP, once you know that the medication works when necessary it can help.  That gives a sufferer time to explore other ways of controlling anxiety; deep breathing, dancing, hypnosis, talking therapies can all be useful.
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: imgeha on April 20, 2016, 07:37:33 PM
thanks CLKD.  I already have Xanax but don't want to take it during the day.  I tend to use it to stop the panicking when I want to sleep. I spent a year withdrawing from benzos a few years back, and don't want to go through that again.  I have been anxious all my life but it is really bad right now, which I am putting down to hormones / midlife / fear of dying / having a medical problem that the doctors can't diagnose (gallbladder).  It is pretty incapacitating, and I can't imagine living like this for the rest of my life.  I feel I need to get a handle on it and stop it from ruining my life and that of those around me.  I literally cannot bear to carry on like this, in fear every day. 
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: CLKD on April 20, 2016, 07:42:59 PM
Gentle exercise can help anxiety.  Deep breathing.  Singing.  I had relaxation tapes but it was finding time to sit down and listen that I found difficult  ::)  :) .  Cat liked it though when I did practice  ;)

Knowing what is causing my anxiety doesn't enable me.  It can still take over  :'( which is where my emergency pill helps. 
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: booboo on April 22, 2016, 01:55:44 PM
Hi imhega

I too suffer terribly with bouts of health anxiety & totally empathise with the fears, some days I just don't want to wake up as all the horrid thoughts and fears are there & I feel so alone and helpless knowing no one can take it away.. I have had cbt, counselling, anti - deps etc - I have relaxation tapes and none of them seem to help tbh ... I convince myself that the thing I fear will happen ... Sorry I cannot help - only to let you know that you are not alone & always around if you want to chat..
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: dangermouse on April 22, 2016, 02:31:45 PM
I use hypnosis (and CBT) in my practice and it may be good for you to bring a change of perspective and generally for deep relaxation. However, getting to the root of your fears and then changing your belief is the only way to permanently change your health anxiety as its unlikely to be ONLY a strong habit.

Behavioural therapy works but only when you (and your therapist) pinpoint your true belief which will be exaggerated as that is why you feel such extreme emotion. Lies will always make us feel out of control as opposed to having rational concern that comes from the truth. The subconscious buries away our once believed faulty beliefs so they become like any other habit and just keep popping up despite your conscious efforts to control them.

You just need good guidance with a therapist or, if you prefer to do on your own, Windy Dryden's Reason To Change workbook is a good place to explore and deal with this in a practical way.
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: countrybumpkin on April 22, 2016, 02:38:27 PM
I developed health anxiety as a young childe due to trauma so have had a lifetime of seeking a cure!  I have so far tried hypnosis, cbt, clinical psychology and neur linguistic programming.

cbt and clinical psychology helped me understand the why's and wherefores of health anxiety for me. hypnosis and nlp did nothing for me.

I have found that for me just getting older has helped me see how much of my life I have wasted worrying.

If you don't try them you will never know if anything would help so if you can afford it then give it a go you have nothing to lose.
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: Kate50 on April 22, 2016, 03:20:01 PM
Had lots of therapy in past NLP was effective but the deep stuff was rooted out by using Analytical Hypnotherapy.  I would be terrible now if I had not done this. I have the palpitations and oestrogen has helped loads but when I get them I swear by homeopathic Aconite and it works. 
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: Justjules on April 22, 2016, 05:37:51 PM
Imgeha, you can see that you are definitely not alone with this awful thing.  I too have tried most of the therapies some of the ladies mention. CBT did nothing for me but it was because it wasn't in depth enough. I go to an NLP therapist but I think it's more someone for me to offload on every week and it helps to know that at least one person in my life understands.  I would recommend trying a few if you can afford to and drop the ones that don't appeal.

Come on here and vent anytime. We understand.
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: imgeha on April 22, 2016, 06:04:29 PM
Justjules - I have to say I have read some of your posts and identified most with yours!  I have been in sheer terror this week, it's a familiar place for me, but I really really really can't stand that awful panicky OMG-I'm-going-do-die feeling.  In my most irrational moments it's a question of 'shall I commit suicide cos I'm afraid of dying' - LOL - which is ridiculous!  I know I need to get a grip on it so I don't pass it on to my kids, although its probably too late for that.   I think for me it's all tied into perfectionism, fear of being sick, deterioration and dying and leaving my kids.  The thing is though, I can't tell myself it's never going to happen 'cos it will at some point - maybe this year, maybe in 30 years time - so I can't dismiss it completely. I can only imagine health anxiety getting worse as I get older unless I have some strategy for keeping it down.  I guess this is what we're all looking for ...

Comforting to be among fellow sufferers though.  I wish I could meet you face to face on a bad day.

I think I may look into the hypnosis, although I'm not wild about submitting to someone else either.

Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: Halfpint on April 22, 2016, 06:23:38 PM
My regret is I let my children see me panicking and now my daughter has it and I think my younger son is starting with it. However, over time, I have realised my father had it (but never talked about it), my mother and a sister have OCD for cleaning (anxiety is a form of OCD) and a couple of my nephews also have it. I have read some books on it that say it's hereditary but then other books say it's not?
I have had anxiety since childhood but it has manifested itself in many different 'obsessions'. My health anxiety only kicked in once I had my children (I think then fear of dying and leaving them without a mother etc). I look back on my previous obsessions that I used to find hard and think I would love to have those back rather than this bloody health anxiety.
It's a comfort to see so many others suffering from the same thing and the same fears.
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: Justjules on April 22, 2016, 06:40:41 PM
Imgeha, I have those thoughts sometimes as the thought of being like this forever makes life not worth living when you are experiencing such fear every day.  It's all about wanting control, which of course, we can't have totally. We can only 'nurture' ourselves as best we can and hope for the best.  Fortunately, only one of my children, my youngest son, who is 28, is prone to a little bit of anxiety but the other two don't.  Both my parents suffered so I grew up with it, although my Mum got over it eventually so there's hope for me yet!

Yes, pity we all don't see each other face to face....could be a sort of menopausal WI  ;D
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: dangermouse on April 23, 2016, 09:58:56 AM
Imgeha, your therapist would not be putting you into a sonambulistic trance (like you see in stage shows), they should be directing you to deeply focus on the therapy or direct suggestions in order to override your current hypnotic state of anxiety.

Health anxiety phobia/OCD is very much like fear of flying in that there does appear to be a tangible risk, I.e. That the plane could crash or that you could be having a heart attack. However, it's all about probability and accepting the amount of control we have over not missing any critical signs. Of course it really doesn't help when hormonal adrenal rushes are creating very frightening palpitations etc. but understanding their cause should just leave you uncomfortable, not in fear of a true heart attack for example.

In order to get rid of your old habits, often copied from parents with the same condition, you need to accept you cannot be aware of every single neuron change that might lead to disease. Scanning constantly is exhausting and puts you in a hyper alert state where will actually cause symptoms to increase. Instead, force in new habits of being rational about your symptoms and fears until they become your new habits. It will feel unnatural and irresponsible, when you've been ao over vigilant, but it's also freeing yourself of unnecessary responsibility.

Re. the thought of suicide to get rid of the anxiety, this is not as crazy as you think! Your brain is so exhausted by trying to second guess what might happen that this feels easier and a relief. However, by getting to this point it means you have accepted the worst part of your fear, I.e. Dying, as inevitable, so just accept that will happen one day but that by focusing so much on it is taking away your ability to focus on living.

Therapy can help you to get to the main cause of your fears, for some it could be the pain of death, for others it could be leaving your children alone, for example. Then the therapist can rationalise your fears so that they no longer have the overwhelming power they have over you now.
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: imgeha on April 23, 2016, 11:34:46 AM
Thank you Dangermouse for your really thoughtful comments. I completely agree with you about learning patterns from parents and being exhausted by feeling responsible for every tiny thing that goes on in my body - typically 'what have I eaten / taken / done to give me this symptom?.  It's all my fault' ..... It does feel exhausting and I frequently feel that my body is out of control, needs constant vigilance to stop symptoms spiralling, but still gives me unpleasant symptoms that I can't keep up with or treat.  I have awareness of my thought patterns, but not the ability to change them. I am also aware that feeling hard-done-by and lacking in attention tends to be my default position in life, and extends to my encounters with healthcare / doctors.  I find it really difficult to speak up to get the attention and input for what I need, which I think is something that also needs to change to improve my anxiety.

I am in Belgium, so finding an English-speaking therapist is challenging, to put it mildly. Do you consult over the phone / Skype?
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: dangermouse on April 24, 2016, 03:07:24 PM
Yes I do offer Skype sessions and telephone consultations, however... I am pretty sure I cannot forward my contact details on to you as this would be breaking the forum rules in terms of advertising... I think??? I have emailed a moderator to check if can send you a PM to double-check.

In the meantime, many of us in therapy now use Skype so you could do a search on the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis website, where therapists have been trained to a high standard.
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: CLKD on April 24, 2016, 03:12:05 PM
It has never been about control for me, it's been about living without any anxiety!  When anxiety hits me I can't cope.  I can't go anywhere.  I can't function.  Which is why I have an emergency pill 'as necessary'.  When I don't have any anxiety I could take on The World  ::).
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: dangermouse on April 24, 2016, 03:48:34 PM
My post was specifically about 'health anxiety', so the fear that you are seriously ill and/or about to die, as in hypochondria (in the true sense rather than the everyday derogatory use!).

All psychological anxiety will have a source that's personal to you, although you may be consciously unaware, unless its purely the physical adrenaline type we get with the oestrogen surges. Unfortunately, we can't do much psych-wise with that, so that's when the HRT and beta-blockers can be of immense value!
Title: Re: Hypnosis for health anxiety?
Post by: imgeha on April 24, 2016, 05:51:10 PM
Hi dangermouse.  Thanks for making enquiries.  I'll wait to hear from you.