Fears and Anxiety DisordersSpecialized treatment of anxiety disorders with hypnotherapy and Hypnobalancing™ in Berlin
- Fears and Anxiety Disorders
- Differences between anxiety and anxiety disorders
- Kinds of anxiety disorders
- Causes of anxiety disorders
- Perfectionism and anxiety
- ICD-10-CM Coding
- Why you should see a medical doctor
- Myths about managing anxiety
- Risk factors for developing an anxiety disorder
- A little anxiety is healthy
- Perception and fear
- Anxiety and expectations
Let life happen to you.
Believe me: life is in the right, always.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Not all fear is bad
There are different forms of anxiety. Not all fear is bad. Fear is a necessary and normal human emotion. Anxiety is a feeling of fear and alertness, a response to expected risks. Fear can be considered as a realistic adequate warning before a real danger, while anxiety disorders such as phobias and panic disorders are disproportional limiting the personal options.
The cause of a fear doesn’t matter for our brain. It starts automatic programs we acquired in ancient times. Our body reactions have remained the same since the stone age. The heart beats faster and faster, blood pressure rises, so more oxygen is pumped into the muscles, the airways dilate, the pupils become larger, we sweat, tremble to dizziness and nausea.
The good intentions behind the fear
All this happens with the good intent to prepare us to win a fight or successfully escape. However, many things and situations, which we fear today, are not associated with a relevant risk and the fear response is inappropriate. Sometimes it doesn’t deliver a solution and is itself the problem. Frequent or even constant fear restricts the life and negatively affects the immune system.
Everyone experiences fear once in a while; anxiety is a normal response to stress or danger, but it can be debilitating. At times it is helpful because it can help prepare the body for action, and it can improve performance in a range of situations. Anxiety and stress are something we all face in our lives. Sometimes, however, this anxiety can overwhelm us and significantly interfere with the quality of our lives. Anxiety becomes a problem when it is experienced intensely and it persistently interferes with a person’s daily life.
Depression and anxiety commonly occur together. Not everybody who is anxious is depressed, but most depressed patients have some symptoms of anxiety.
It is thought that depression follows on as a response to anxiety such that anxiety is suppressed to such an extent that it is no longer experiences. Anxiety may reoccur as the depression lifts.
People have different degrees of background, or ‘trait’, anxiety. High trait anxiety may stem from inherited behaviors or early relationships in childhood. It is also related to personality.
In addition to this inherent background anxiety, people react differently to everyday situations. Some people become anxious very easily, others never seem to get anxious. The anxiety that people get because of specific experiences is called ‘state’ anxiety.
An individual with high trait anxiety is particularly vulnerable to experiencing high state anxiety in stressful situations.
Anxiety symptoms are common – everybody experiences them from time to time. Specific anxiety disorders or illnesses are also not as rare as you might think, being present in around 5 percent of the population at any time.
- Inner tension
- Fear of losing control
- Dread that something catastrophic is going to happen, such as a blackout, seizure, heart attack or death
- Feelings of detachment, as if separate from the world
- Racing heartbeat (palpitations)
- Chest tightness
- Breathing fast, feeling short of breath or finding it hard to get a breath
- Dry mouth, butterflies in the stomach, feeling sick
- An urge to pass urine
2. Anxiety Disorders
When is a fear an anxiety disorder? An anxiety disorder mainly characterized by:
The fear isn’t appropriate.
- The anxiety lasts longer or occurs more frequently.
- A more or less characteristic pattern of symptoms of anxiety.
In advanced stages also
Increasing attempts to avoid situations or places associated with anxiety. While avoiding unpleasant sensations is normal, it is exaggerated in anxiety disorders.
The attempt to reduce anxiety by self-medication with stimulants like alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, drugs such as tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and painkillers, cannabis, cocaine, opiates and designer drugs.
Anxiety disorders exist in many variations. They are the most common of emotional disorders. Many forms and symptoms may include:
- Overwhelming feelings of panic and fear
- Uncontrollable obsessive thoughts
- Painful, intrusive memories
- Recurring nightmares
- Physical symptoms such as feeling sick, butterflies in the stomach, heart pounding, startling easily, and muscle tension.
Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness. Untreated anxiety disorders can push people into avoiding situations that trigger or worsen their symptoms. People with anxiety disorders are likely to suffer from depression, and they also may abuse alcohol and other drugs in an effort to gain relief from their symptoms. Job performance, school work, and personal relationships can also suffer.
There are a number of different anxiety disorders. They tend to overlap considerably and it is not uncommon for people to have features of several of the disorders.
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Posttraumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder
- Stress-related disorders
Phobias are pathological fears of a real or barely threatening situation, a specific object, or activity. The term phobia is not always clear. There are also phobias that are not unrealistic, such as the gagging fear (phagophobia). Typical of phobias is that they are predictable because they always occur in certain situations, and they are inappropriate.
A phobia is excessive and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. These fears cause such distress that some people go to extreme lengths to avoid what they fear. There are three types of phobias:
a. Specific phobia
In specific phobias, there is a persistent fear of a particular object such as an animal (zoophobia) or a particular situation such as thunderstorms or dental visits, something that is generally not harmful. Patients know their fear is excessive, but they can’t overcome it. Examples are fear of flying or fear of snakes when those are behind thick glass.
In the specific phobia, anxiety symptoms already appear when thinking about the trigger. Often, specific phobias begin as early as childhood.
Examples of specific phobias:
- Exaggerated fear of heights
- Fear of flying
- Test anxiety
The exaggerated fear of animals such as spiders, snakes, and dogs.
b. Social phobia (also called social anxiety disorder)
It is the fear of causing an awkward situation through awkward behavior. Significant anxiety and discomfort about being embarrassed or looked down on in social or performance situations.
Social phobia usually begins during adolescence and is often associated with strong self-doubt and the propensity for substance abuse. Various forms of social phobia are erythrophobia, gynecophobia (fear of the feminine), excessive stage fright, speech anxiety, and fear of failure.
Common examples are public speaking, meeting people, or using public restrooms.
As agoraphobia was called the fear of wide places. Today it is the fear of being in situations where escape may be difficult or embarrassing or help might not be available in the event of panic symptoms.
Concerned people fear that they will vomit, panic or pass out in this situation. Therefore, the fearful situations are avoided or those affected suffer from great anxiety. Typical places or situations are crowds and shopping centers. Often the agoraphobia occurs along with panic attacks. It usually begins in the second decade of life and affects predominantly women.
Untreated agoraphobia can become so serious that a person may refuse to leave the house. A person can only receive a diagnosis of phobia when their fear is intensely upsetting, or if it significantly interferes with their normal daily activities.
2. Panic Disorder
Panic disorders are characterized by repeated severe panic attacks, which are either associated with certain situations or triggers (panic disorder with agoraphobia) or appear unpredictably and suddenly (panic disorder without agoraphobia).
The core symptom of panic disorder is the panic attack, an overwhelming combination of physical and psychological distress. They are accompanied by the strong fear of dying or losing control and pronounced physical symptoms. Often those affected find themselves as an emergency with the suspicion of a physical ailment such as a heart attack in the ambulance again. Even repeated examinations without findings do not reduce the fear of a new attack. Physical changes are perceived as dangerous and rock upwards until the vegetative reactions increase to panic attacks. Therefore, many sufferers strive to protect their circulation. If physical exercise opportunities are avoided, the body will be even more sensitive in the future.
During an attack several of the following symptoms occur in combination:
- Pounding heart or chest pain
- Sweating, trembling, shaking
- Shortness of breath, a sensation of choking
- Nausea or abdominal pain
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Feeling unreal or disconnected
- Fear of losing control, going crazy or dying
- Chills or hot flashes
Because the symptoms are so severe, many people with panic disorder believe they are having a heart attack or other life-threatening illness.
3. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
It is typical for this anxiety disorder that different everyday situations are coupled with inner tension, anxiety, and anxiety. In addition, there are also physical complaints such as palpitations, sweats, and feelings of tightness as well as mental symptoms such as dreadfulness, restlessness, concentration and sleep problems. People with a generalized anxiety disorder can be irritable and often have problems concentrating and working effectively.
People with generalized anxiety disorder have ongoing, severe tension that interferes with daily functioning. They worry constantly and feel helpless to control these worries. Often their worries focus on job responsibilities, family health, or minor matters such as chores, car repairs, or appointments.
For the diagnosis to be justified, the symptoms must persist for at least half a year.
The causes of anxiety disorders are currently unknown, although research has provided several clues. Areas of the brain that control fear responses may have a role in some anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders can run in families, suggesting that a combination of genes and environmental stresses can produce the disorders. The role of brain chemistry is also being investigated.
There is no one cause for anxiety; it is likely that many factors contribute to a person’s chances of developing anxiety. There are a few potential causes; genetics and early learning, brain biochemistry, and the fight or flight mechanism.
Many factors contribute to anxiety, and some may apply in each particular case.
List of the causes most often associated with the development of anxiety disorders:
- Early Life Experience
- Environmental and external factors
- Thinking Patterns
- Brain Chemistry
Anxiety problems stem from a combination of factors. When these factors add up, the anxiety disorder might be more serious.
We live in a very competitive world and it is important to have high personal and professional standards. However, when people reach for extreme perfection, they may not realize that they are setting themselves up to experience more frustration, anxiety, and disappointment than it is necessary. The goal of perfection is unrealistic. A much better goal is excellence!
Hypnotherapy is an excellent modality to help the perfectionist replace that goal with a more realistic goal, excellence, that is achievable daily. This leads to the experience of less anxiety, frustration, and disappointment.
This way they become generally happier and happier people who operate with peace of mind live longer, experience less stress and anxiety, and are more successful in their relationships and other endeavors.
Unfortunately, many people with anxiety disorders don’t seek help. They don’t realize that they have an illness that has known causes and effective treatments. Other people fear their family, friends or coworkers might criticize them if they get help.
Although each anxiety disorder has its own unique characteristics, most respond well to two types of treatment: psychotherapy and medications. These treatments can be given alone or in combination. Treatment can give significant relief from symptoms, but not always a complete cure.
Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for many anxiety disorders. It aims to seek out the root cause of the anxiety and change an individual’s perception of a past event or release emotion from it.
Anxiety, dissociative, stress-related, somatoform and other nonpsychotic mental disorders.
F40 Phobic anxiety disorders
F40.1 Social phobias
F40.2 Specific (isolated) phobias
F40.8 Other phobic anxiety disorders
F40.9 Phobic anxiety disorder, unspecified
F41 Other anxiety disorders
F41.0 Panic disorder (episodic paroxysmal anxiety)
F41.1 Generalized anxiety disorder
F41.2 Mixed anxiety and depressive disorder
F41.3 Other mixed anxiety disorders
F41.8 Other specified anxiety disorders
F41.9 Anxiety disorder, unspecified
F42 Obsessive-compulsive disorder
F42.0 Predominantly obsessional thoughts or ruminations
F42.1 Predominantly compulsive acts (obsessional rituals)
F42.2 Mixed obsessional thoughts and acts
F42.8 Other obsessive-compulsive disorders
F42.9 Obsessive-compulsive disorder, unspecified
F43 Reaction to severe stress, and adjustment disorders
F43.0 Acute stress reaction
F43.1 Posttraumatic stress disorder
F43.2 Adjustment disorders
F43.8 Other reactions to severe stress
F43.9 Reaction to severe stress, unspecified
F44 Dissociative (conversion) disorders
F44.0 Dissociative amnesia
F44.1 Dissociative fugue
F44.2 Dissociative stupor
F44.3 Trance and possession disorders
F44.4 Dissociative motor disorders
F44.5 Dissociative convulsions
F44.6 Dissociative anesthesia and sensory loss
F44.7 Mixed dissociative (conversion) disorders
F44.8 Other dissociative (conversion) disorders
F44.9 Dissociative (conversion] disorder, unspecified
F45 Somatoform disorders (See our main page on Hysteria)
F45.0 Somatization disorder
F45.1 Undifferentiated somatoform disorder
F45.2 Hypochondriacal disorder
F45.3 Somatoform autonomic dysfunction
F45.4 Persistent somatoform pain disorder
F45.8 Other somatoform disorders
F45.9 Somatoform disorder, unspecified
F48 Other neurotic disorders
F48.1 Depersonalization-derealization syndrome
F48.8 Other specified neurotic disorders
F48.9 Neurotic disorder, unspecified
If you experience anxiety with absolutely no apparent cause, please ask a medical doctor.
Anxiety can have a number of physical causes, such as side effects from prescription medication or over-the-counter medications and supplements, excessive caffeine, and physical problems.
Don’t try to diagnose yourself.
Many people who experience chronic feelings of anxiety about social situations, work, and relationships, or other aspects of everyday life often reach for a beer or a glass of wine to quell their unease.
Good intent and not the best results
There is some truth to the belief that alcohol can reduce stress. Alcohol is both a sedative and a depressant that affects the central nervous system.
At first, drinking can reduce fears and take your mind off your troubles. It can even help you feel less shy. You might experience a boost in mood, but the overall result is relaxation. In fact, the effects of alcohol can be similar to those of anti-anxiety medications. The problem is that once you start drinking, you can build a tolerance to the distressing effects of alcohol. This can make anxiety and stress even more difficult to cope with.
Alcohol may help anxious people cope in the short term, but over time this strategy can backfire. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs can increase the risk of alcoholism and other substance-abuse problems, without addressing the underlying anxiety.
Self-medication for anxiety symptoms is common. Many people probably believe that this kind of self-medication works. What they do not realize is that this quick-fix method actually makes things worse in the long term. Serious consequences can develop very quickly. People can develop alcoholism and anxiety disorders within time, and these are illnesses that can have a devastating impact on a person’s health, their relationships, and their financial situation.
People with anxiety disorders are vulnerable to substance abuse, and vice versa, but they haven’t been able to determine whether one problem precedes the other.
What’s right and wrong with drinking? Alcohol may worsen anxiety.
Having a glass of wine to ease the tension of a stressful day doesn’t necessarily put a person at risk for becoming an alcoholic, of course. Substance abuse is heavily influenced by a person’s genes and environment, But habitually relying on alcohol or drugs to ease anxiety is at the expense of healthier coping strategies. It’s a very slippery slope.
Unfortunately, so many people suffering from anxiety drink alcohol to cope with their anxiety. But alcohol itself may worsen anxiety. Alcohol doesn’t cause anxiety with everybody, but as an anxiety sufferer you should be aware of the possible pitfalls of alcohol consumption, so pay close attention.
There are a few reasons why alcohol consumption and hangovers make many people anxious. A lot of people say that anxiety sufferers should not drink alcohol because it makes you more nervous than you already are. Is this true?
How alcohol cause anxiety
Alcohol causes or at least increases anxiety in these ways:
Alcohol can affect our mood because it can affect the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a feel-good brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that when in short supply can cause feelings of anxiety and depression.
2. Drop in blood sugar
A low blood sugar level can cause anxiety-like sensations, including shakiness, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty speaking.
3. Nervous System
Because of alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. This can worsen your level of anxiety. In fact, you might feel more anxious after the alcohol wears off. The nervous system is affected because in order for the body to fight off the sedative effects of alcohol it puts the body into a state of hyperactivity in order to counteract this effect. This hyperactivity can lead to shaking, light and sound sensitivity and sleep deprivation.
This has been known to cause nausea, dizziness, fatigue, light-headedness and muscle weakness. These symptoms wouldn’t cause anxiety per se, but they add to a sense of illness which fosters anxiety.
5. Heart Rate
Your heart rate can become elevated as a result of consuming alcohol which can cause a palpitation false alarm and put you into a state of anxious anticipation. Is it a heart attack or isn’t if you might ask. This “what if” questioning can increase your general state of anxiety.
Watching a movie about people having a hangover is funnier than having one yourself. A hard night of drinking can also make you hazy, bring on headaches and create a sense of disorientation.
For more details ask your medical doctor. As a therapist, I will focus on the psychological consequences.
If you’re going to have a glass of wine with dinner I guess you shouldn’t be concerned. On the other hand, if you’re a heavy drinker or binge drinker, then this might cause a real problem for you.
Even scientists don’t know exactly why all this happens. Some suggest that you eat before drinking, drink water in between drinks, and stay in bed if you are hungover to avoid all the typical problems. Some would say that maybe you shouldn’t drink at all if you have an anxiety disorder – that’s debatable. I would, in case I suffer from an anxiety disorder. Do you think that alcohol should be avoided at all cost when someone has an anxiety disorder? How about reducing it? So you can see if it makes any difference for you.
And if you know that you’re a lightweight, or if you already know that alcohol makes you anxious; maybe I don’t need to write it, but really some people just don’t know when to say it is enough.
Some people try to soothe their anxiety with alcohol. When dealing with stressful days or nervous situations, you may be tempted to have a glass of wine or a beer to calm your nerves. But alcohol is not a medication. Although alcohol does have a sedative effect it should not be used as a coping tool. This type of behavior can lead to alcoholism and worse yet, more anxiety.
Alcohol isn’t a source of anxiety treatment. Instead, seek help from a mental health professional – not from a bottle of alcohol – if you have an anxiety disorder. If you think you have a problem with alcohol, seek help from your medical doctor right away. And if you want to get rid of your anxiety I can help you.
Why not asking for help instead?
The shame some people feel about their anxiety and a reluctance to seek help for psychological problems are likely major factors contributing to self-medication.
Unfortunately, people often do not seek the help they need because of the stigma around mental illness. People are likely to stay at home and use the resources that they have at their disposal, which in this case would be alcohol or drugs. Some kind of psychotherapy like Hypnobalancing™ and hypnotherapy are effective and can even solve the problem for good, but some of them can be time-consuming and others aren’t always covered by insurance. Because anxiety disorders are still a tabu, we usually don’t talk about it. Therefore, many people experiencing anxiety may not even be aware of these treatments.
Many people hold various myths that can stall and sabotage their anxiety treatment. In fact, some beliefs can even fuel and perpetuate anxiety.
Here are some myths about managing anxiety disorders and anxiety in general.
Snap A Rubber Band On Your Wrist
Some say that one way to get rid of bad or disturbing thoughts is to snap a rubber band on your wrist every time you have the thought.
This was once popular as a behavioral intervention. My experiences as a therapist tell me that suppressing thoughts makes them stronger and more frequent. The thoughts we resist persist.
Free Floating Anxiety
Feelings of apprehension or dread that cannot be traced to any particular source are called free-floating anxiety.
There are some risk factors for developing an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders can happen at any stage of life. Anxiety is as common among older adults as among the young. Depending on the kind of anxiety disorder there is a tendency when it typically starts.
Women are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men.
Stressful life experiences may increase your risk. Symptoms may begin immediately or years later. Traumatic events can trigger anxiety disorders, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder.
Children who endured abuse or trauma or witnessed traumatic events are at higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder at some point in life.
Adults who experience a traumatic event also can develop anxiety disorders.
4. Medical condition
Having a serious medical condition can also lead to anxiety disorder. Certain medical conditions have been associated with increased risk of panic disorder. They include migraines, obstructive sleep apnea, mitral valve prolapse, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome.
5. Substance abuse
Drug and alcohol use or abuse or withdrawal can cause or worsen anxiety.
6. Genetic factor
Having a family member with anxiety or depression. Anxiety disorders can run in families.
People with certain personality types are more prone to anxiety disorders than others.
8. Stress buildup
A big event or a buildup of smaller stressful life situations may trigger excessive anxiety. Examples are a death in the family or ongoing worry about finances.
9. Other mental health disorders
People with other mental health disorders, such as depression, often experience anxiety disorder as well.
Anxiety gets a lot of bad press. There’s nothing wrong with a bit adrenaline. It is probably healthy to be a little anxious when we have to be absolutely awake. Just like a good alarm clock, anxiety can signal that it’s time to act. Adrenaline creates a sudden burst of energy that supports us to perform best in a challenging situation. A manageable level of anxiety can be an asset, serving as a motivator for change and improvement and making us more alert and attentive. But there is a threshold of anxiety which is healthy for us. If the anxiety is too intense it may interfere with task completion and instead lead to avoidance.
Too much anxiety has a negative impact on performance. The key is to find that middle ground. The right amount of anxiety can motivate a person to succeed and enable multi-tasking, whereas too much anxiety can make even the simplest task difficult. When everyday stress gives way to phobias, until worries, fears, and depression threaten the ability to cope or even get out of bed in the morning, intervention is required.
How much is too much anxiety?
Many people have too much anxiety, as evidenced by the rise in anxiety disorders. Some signs that you may have too much anxiety:
- You live in a constant state of aroused worry or fretting.
- You’re addicted to caffeine or cigarettes.
- You need alcohol or medication to relax.
- You experience a constant stream of negative self talk.
- You can’t sleep.
- You overspend, run late, or miss deadlines.
For your optimal health and performance, you want to strike the right anxiety balance. Look for anxiety that energizes rather than paralyzes you. Everyone experiences some anxiety—it’s what you do with it, that counts. The most successful people are those who have learned to harness and channel their anxiety into positive action.
There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more in apprehension than in reality.
It is a rare person who lives without fear of one kind or another. I guess we all have fears. Every single person I have seen had some kind of fears. Even the toughest of the tough. We’re supposed to have fears, it’s what allows us as humans to survive. It is a normal and natural part of the human experience of life. Fear is a defense mechanism that was devised way back when we were mainly hunter-gatherers and living in caves. The fight-or-flight response evolved to enable us to react with appropriate actions: to run away, to fight, or sometimes freeze to be a less visible target. Fear is the normal emotion to feel in response to a danger or threat. But for most of us, life isn’t about fighting or escaping predators or enemies anymore.
The problem is that so many people allow fear to rob them of their reasoning, halt their happiness, or derail their dreams. Fear can be paralyzing for some people. When I allow perception and fear to occupy too much space in my mind, I am in trouble.
However, when we change our perception of what we fear, we can lessen or overcome that fear, thereby enjoying life even more.
Through psychotherapy like hypnotherapy, offending triggers can be removed to enable the client to take back control of their life. We seek out and identify the root cause of the anxiety, and then change an individual’s perception of a past event. Once the emotion involved in these past experiences has been released the client is freed from the anxiety or panic. The emotion was the driving force for the fear and once the client understands this, the anxiety no longer has a driving force.
I am an old man and have known many troubles, most of which never happened.
Expectation can be the root of anxiety. Anxiety is designed to keep you safe but sometimes it leads to more harm than good.
High expectations of yourself and others can keep you anxious by telling you that you are inadequate, that things are out of control, and that you cannot handle them. This will start the spin cycle of anxiety. You have more and more negative self-talk. This additionally reduces your confidence and gives you more evidence that you can’t cope with challenges.
Worst case scenarios
Overestimating the probability that things will go wrong or that something bad will happen may be the most common thinking error associated with anxiety. Constant worrying takes a heavy toll.
It keeps you up at night and makes you tense and edgy during the day. Negative beliefs, or worrying about worrying, add to your anxiety and keep worry going.
Let's get into a conversation. If you are interested, for questions and appointments you can reach me by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone 030/86421369 and mobile phone 01577/7045356. By phone, you reach me best from Monday to Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. During the sessions, there is an answering machine. Leave a message and your telephone number and I'll call you.
Remarks: In the address bar of your browser, the URL should begin with "https://www.berlin-hypnosis.com/...". This indicates a secure connection (SSL). Whether you enter your actual name is up to you.