We have a tendency to regard anxiety as being a modern condition, perhaps a result of the stress of everyday modern living. But it was as long ago as 1621 that Oxford scholar Robert Burton wrote “Many lamentable effects this fear causeth in man, as to be red, pale, tremble, sweat; it makes sudden cold and heat come over all the body, palpitation of the heart, syncope, etc. It amazeth many men that are to speak or show themselves in public.”(i).
Yes, panic attacks, fear of public speaking and social phobia were all very much "a thing" as long ago as the 17th. century.
The incidence of anxiety and related conditions has, though, increased over the years and the amount of people presenting to Accident and Emergency departments with chest pains, shortness of breath and even a feeling of imminent death, has tripled in recent times. This has become such a common occurrence that a test has been developed to quickly distinguish an actual cardiac event from psychosomatic symptoms(ii). And whilst THESE SYMPTOMS MUST BE CHECKED OUT BY A DOCTOR WITHOUT DELAY*, most cases do turn out to be symptoms of anxiety.
Though this diagnosis may be reassuring, it does raise more questions - What is wrong with me, then? Why do I feel this way? Am I going mad?
Again, you can be reassured that anxiety is a normal defence mechanism which kept us safe from predators in early times and although it doesn't seem like it, it's what your subconscious mind is still trying to do today. In times of danger, the flight or fight response kicks in, increasing blood flow to the muscles and slowing down unnecessary processes such as digestion and reproduction. All is restored after the danger has passed but sometimes this process is interrupted and the body remains "stuck" in this mode. Hence we see long-term symptoms of high blood pressure, IBS or sexual malfunction; or the feelings of anxiety may be triggered by certain events or circumstances, resulting in phobias.
Another source of anxiety can be the way in which we live. We are nowadays far removed from the environment in which we evolved and society - or even family - can place many demands on us to be people we are not. Any difference between who we are and how we feel we should be can cause many difficulties.
Likewise, negative conditioning in our early, formative years can have the same effect.
The good news is that hypnotherapy can help (iii). The mysterious nature of its origin and its sudden appearance seemingly out of nowhere lends itself ideally to analytical hypnotherapy which, working on the principle of "cause and effect", seeks to uncover the causes thereby removing the effects.
I offer a free, no obligation, introductory consultation at which we can discuss how hypnotherapy might help you - all in complete confidence even if you decide not go ahead - so do please feel free to get in touch, either by text or phone on 07761 198 504 or by email here.
I look forward to hearing from you.
*If you have chest pains, do not rely on any advice from this site until you have been given the all clear by a relevant medical professional*
(i) Burton R. The Anatomy of Melancholy, London, UK: 1621 (Google Scholar)
(iii) The Efficacy of Hypnosis as a Treatment for Anxiety