Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health illnesses. Did you know that at least 4.3% of men and 8.7% of women experiences some kind of anxiety disorder every year? There are several types of anxiety disorders, including separation anxiety disorder, specific phobia, social phobia, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and generalised anxiety disorder.


So what are these conditions and why does it affect so many people?


Before going into that, it's important for us to know what anxiety really is. Anxiety is your body's natural response to stress. It's a feeling we all get in situations that are threatening or difficult, like when there's a fire, or when you go for a job interview, or give a speech in front of a crowd. When anxiety kicks in, our body goes into fight or flight mode, releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin that prepares you to face the threat. Common symptoms of anxiety includes shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, trembles, sweaty palms, headache, nausea etc.. Anxiety stops when you stop perceiving the situation you're in as threatening.


Having prolonged feelings of anxiety however, is a problem. Especially if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than six months, and are interfering with your life - which indicates that you may be having an anxiety disorder. If you feel that you might be experiencing an anxiety disorder, please do seek professional help.


Here's a summary of the types of anxiety disorders as seen on https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety and https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD): uncontrollable worry about common occurrences and situations.

  • Panic disorder: experiencing recurring panic attacks at unexpected times. A person with panic disorder may live in fear of the next panic attack.

  • Specific Phobia: excessive fear of a specific object, situation, or activity.

  • Social anxiety disorder: extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations.

  • Separation anxiety disorder: fear of being away from home or loved ones

  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): anxiety following a traumatic event


You can also learn more about the types of anxiety disorders here: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/what-are-anxiety-disorders;


Anxiety disorders are uncomfortable but unlike physical pain, it doesn't call for immediate treatment. Thats why, despite it being highly treatable, only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment, and only around one fifth of teenagers with anxiety receive treatment. Many who are suffering do not know how to deal with the negative feelings they are experiencing, and end up beating themselves up, not knowing that hating, fighting, and struggling will just turn up its intensity. Fighting anxiety is like being in quick sand, the more you struggle and try to break free, the faster and deeper you sink.


So what should you do instead? You can start by choosing a different response to the situations you are fearful of, for example, instead of being anxious, can you take deep breaths and try to be calmer each time? or instead of surrendering to the feelings and losing control, can you grasp onto hope and believe that if you try, one day you'll be back in control? Perhaps you can also slow things down and constantly remind yourself that anxiety, beastly as it may feel, is doing its one job - trying to protect you from what it believes to be a threat.


Here at YU Therapy, we are passionate in helping people who are facing anxiety disorders. We help by using different types of psychotherapy in combination with hypnosis, such as Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), psychodynamic approaches etc..


Various research has shown the efficacy of treatment using psychotherapies in combination with hypnosis, a few of them are as follows:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ch.154

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00029157.1990.10402820?src=recsys

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00029157.2011.650333

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000578949780038X


If you or someone you know is struggling through anxiety disorder, kindly reach out to us here, and we will help you overcome and regain control over your life.


Since last week, those who live in Malaysia are under the Restrictive Movement Order (RMO), also known as the Movement Control Order (MCO), which means we are stuck at home, day and night. And for the most of us, we pay close attention to news about the pandemic - how many tested positive, how many deaths, which area is affected by the virus, which country has the most deaths etc.. To make it worst are the dropping of stock markets around the globe, the lost of jobs or the near-loss of jobs for many people, the hit of profit to business owners and many more concerning factors. Being under this circumstance, if you're feeling stressed, highly anxious, or even sick about everything thats happening, you're not alone. Experts say those feelings are real and entirely valid*.


However, it's very important for us to realise how strong our mind-body connection is. Research has found that high stress and anxiety can cause severe and extensive damage to our immune systems and make us weaker*. That means, the more you worry about the virus (and its impacts), the more you suppress your immune system, the higher you put yourself at risk of getting infected. Experts explain that whenever we are presented with events that we fear of and don't know how to deal with (e.g. the pandemic), those stressors can manifest into physical symptoms, including headaches, palpitations, sweaty hands, chest tightness, body aches, insomnia, colds, and infections"*, so its important to keep your mind calm in times like this. There are plenty of research supporting this mind-body correlation, you can find some links at the end of this article for further reading.


So, here comes the biggest question - "instead of worrying, what can I or should I do?"


1. Do the necessary precautions recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO)* - avoid contact with people who are sick, wash your hands frequently, stay home and practise social distancing, don't touch eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.


2. Keep your body strong - eat healthily, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, have some vitamins and supplements.

3. Do simple exercises - research has shown that 30-mins brisk walk, jog or bike ride, about 3 times a week, can help keep you calm and healthy during these uncertain times. If you're stuck at home, you can easily find videos on Youtube to follow for exercises like yoga*, zumba, HIIT (high intensity interval training) and many more.

4. Keep your mind strong - practise self-hypnosis, meditation*, focus your attention on positive aspects (something you are grateful for perhaps), read books or watch videos that makes your laugh, feel lighter, happier, and most importantly, tell yourself that you'll get through this!


5. Let go of the negative thoughts and feelings - talk to someone if you are stressed out, whether its your family member, your partner, your friend, or even a stranger online. Write them down on a piece of paper and at the end throw the paper away and say goodbye to those negative thoughts. Do deep breathing exercises to relax and be present.


And if you personally know anyone who works at the frontline in helping the disease, give them mental support and lots of verbal encouragement, because their risk of catching the disease, getting highly stressed, and chances of developing mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety are the highest*.


Lastly, if you need help to release the stress and anxiety feelings you're experiencing, do reach out to me at https://wa.me/601118585792 to book an online therapy. I'm giving out 20% discount this month to help you and your loved ones get through this difficult time. Stay safe, everyone!


*Additional info to read about how stress during this time affects our immune system:

https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/coronavirus-mental-health-heres-what-experts-say-about-stress-11601162


*Research on how chronic stress leads to higher risk of disease:

-https://www.pnas.org/content/109/16/5995.short

-https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361287/


*Advise by the WHO on COVID-19 preventive measures:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public


*How exercise can help during this pandemic:

-http://theconversation.com/anxiety-about-coronavirus-can-increase-the-risk-of-infection-but-exercise-can-help-133427

-https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301051118300656?via%3Dihub

-https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/


*Immediate and sustained psychological impacts to health care workers: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/070674370705200406


Panic attacks are horrifying. Every time it happens, most of us feel our hearts palpitating, our chests tightening, strong feelings of nausea followed by breathing difficulties and the worst part, probably is that feeling of losing control over ourselves. Some of us may even feel like we are about to die.


Frequent panic attacks weaken us, both physically and mentally - having constantly worried: "when would my next attack hit me", "can I ever get back to normal" etc. Many of those who suffers from anxiety disorders and panic attacks often lose confidence rapidly, overwhelmed by fear.


The good news is, there are ways to stop panic attacks. Yes, have hope.


First, is practise deep breathing all the time. If you’re able to control your breathing, you’re less likely to experience hyperventilating, which is a key part of panic attacks.


Focus on taking deep breaths in and out through your mouth, feeling the air slowly fill your chest and belly and then slowly leave them again. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, and then breathe out for a count of four. Keep doing this for about 8 times, and make this a daily routine.


Second, is seek help from a professional as soon as possible. Clinical hypnotherapy is a good form of treatment as hypnotherapists will not only help you change the way you react to the triggers of those attacks, they will also help you to reduce and eventually eliminate panic attacks altogether. In addition, they will help you to build the inner resources and strength to enable you to change the way your mind and body deal with anxiety and stress, so that you can be able to live freely and enjoy your life like everybody else.


If you would like to know more about how hypnotherapy can help you with your anxieties and panic attacks, feel free to contact us!

Ways to stop panic attacks



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