Hypnosis Student Name’s

Abstract
This paper has explored the comparative effectiveness of three treatment
approaches of anxiety including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT),
anti-anxiety medication, and hypnosis. The effectiveness of hypnosis
against the two treatments forms is illuminated. From the literature
review, it has been evidenced that the three methods are effective as
treatment methods, but the degree of their effectiveness differs. For
instance, most patients as well as health professionals prefer the use
of anti-anxiety medications, compared to psychotherapy because the
former works fast and entail reduced effort and time. However,
medications pose various risks and even cause ineffectiveness of other
therapies. Hypnosis is more efficient than anti-anxiety medication as it
offers lasting outcomes with no risk of side effects. Hypnosis has been
evidenced to be as effective as CBT. Furthermore, the integration of
these two methods results in more effective outcomes. More research
needs to be done to asses the employment of hypnosis as a single
treatment method for anxiety.
Hypnosis
Anxiety disorders are deemed to be among the most prevalent mental
health issues in the world. Various surveys have been done in various
countries to test its prevalence. In Canada for instance, the Ontario
Health Survey of the 1990 showed that 16 percent of women and 9 percent
of men in Ontario had anxiety one year prior to the survey (Huston,
2011). Another psychiatric research carried out in Edmonton (Canada)
revealed a lifetime incidence of 11.2 percent of having an anxiety
disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health has showed that
approximately 40 million persons will suffer from an anxiety disorder
lasting for no less than six months and lack of treatment results in its
severity. In spite of the fact that anxiety is believed to be a
treatable condition through the employment of various therapies, most
persons with the disorder have a low probability of seeking treatment.
Anxiety disorders are linked with various mental health predicaments
including depression. It is true to say that anxiety disorders inflict a
huge burden both on those who are suffering plus their members of
family, and on the society at large. According to Chambless (1998)
anxiety is linked with various aspects including functional impairment,
low work productivity, decreased life quality, as well as repeated use
of health care systems.
Anxiety can be treated using two key approaches: psychological and
medication treatments. Empirically confirmed and effective
psychotherapeutic, pharmacological, as well as behavioral interventions
have been discovered for the treatment of anxiety disorders. In spite of
the existence of these treatments methods, there is lack of knowledge
amongst health specialists of the proper treatments, in addition to
treatments frequently not founded on sound empirical study. With an aim
of contributing to empirical knowledge for effective treatment methods
for anxiety, this paper assesses the comparative effectiveness of three
treatment approaches of anxiety including cognitive behavioral therapy,
anti-anxiety medication, and hypnosis. The effectiveness of hypnosis
against the two treatments forms is illuminated.
Literature Review
Clinical research and guidelines on anxiety treatment have been produced
by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) showing that
rather than using medication as the initial form of treatment,
individuals should utilize psychological therapy primarily as it is
linked with the “longest duration of effect” (Wannemueller et al.
2011) . Psychological therapy is considered effective in that it aims at
assisting individuals get a greater picture as regards to how their
predicaments are impacting them. The therapy also helps persons manage
their behaviors, moods, and thoughts in a more effective way. This part
provides a literature review of cognitive behavioral therapy,
anti-anxiety medication, and hypnosis forms of treatment of anxiety and
their effectiveness.
Hypnosis
In the contemporary time, hypnosis is employed for numerous purposes. In
particular, it is used to treat mental health problems, and it is deemed
to be an alternative treatment. This is so because few researches have
been carried out to investigate the effectiveness of hypnosis. The
therapy works by putting the patient in a “trance state” where
he/she is able to relax both physically and mentally. Some significant
physical outcomes of an efficient trance state include reduced heart
beat, rapid eye movement, muscle relaxation, and slowed breathing
patterns. Studies show that hypnosis is a safe treatment method owing to
the state and atmosphere in which it is conducted (Hofmann & Smits,
2008). However, a certified specialist is required to perform hypnosis.
According to the America Psychological Association, there exist numerous
scientific examples which show the effectiveness of clinical hypnosis.
For instance, according to one of their studies, where hypnotherapy was
used in the treatment of anxiety, 75 percent of females who took part in
the study reported considerable relief (Hammond, 2010). In addition,
over 80 percent did not show any symptom of anxiety after a follow up of
six years afterward (Hammond, 2010). This kind of empirical proof which
shows the effectiveness of the method encourages a large number of
persons to use hypnosis with an aim of overcoming anxiety. Research also
shows that when hypnosis is used together with other methods such as
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, it proves to be significantly effective
(Hammond, 2010). This is refereed to as cognitive hypnotherapy, and it
requires only two to three sessions to lay a basis for modification. It
also takes merely one session for an individual to feel calm. Hypnosis
has obtained various criticisms. For instance, some scholars argue that
the effectiveness of the method relies on the hypnotic suggestibility of
a person, and some persons cannot be hypnotized (Wannemueller et al.
2011). This means that it relies on one free will to do something, work,
and participate with full potential.
Stanton (1984) carried out a study to investigate the effectiveness of
hypnosis in the treatment of social anxiety. Through the use of
Willoughby Questionnaire as an assessment tool, sixty adults were
randomized. Stanton compared hypnotic processes comprising of mental
imagery and positive suggestions to a control group (1984). Results
showed considerable and larger minimization in anxiety levels to the
experiment group, but the control group evidenced minimal reduction in
levels of anxiety. The employment of hypnotic methods in the treatment
of panic disorders (PD) also evidenced positive outcomes. Hypnotic
methods including hypnoanalysis, age regression, and ego-strengthening
suggestions resulted in greater reduction in panic amongst patients.
A current study was performed by Huston (2011) to investigate the
effectiveness of hypnosis over CBT in treating generalized anxiety
disorder (GAD). Huston made use of Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and the
results showed that hypnosis was as successful as Cognitive Behavioral
Therapy. Forbes (2007) carried out a study to compare the effectiveness
of hypnosis to CBT in the treatment of animal fear. The outcomes
demonstrated that hypnosis was more effective as matched up with CBT as
the patients using hypnosis evidenced greater lessening of anxiety.
Similar results were obtained for a study investigating airplane and
driving phobias (Forbes, 2007). This proof supports the employment of
hypnosis as an effective treatment for various kinds of phobias.
Hypnosis obtains its roots from primordial practices and over the
centuries, there have been numerous schools of thoughts. The founder of
hypnosis is James Braid, whilst Milton Erickson has been the most
prominent postwar hypnosis. Braid and Erickson believe that hypnosis is
the most effective method of treating anxiety. According to them, the
method fundamentally entails the introduction of a calm state wherein
the participant is prone to suggestion and wherein behavioral
modifications are effortlessly impacted. Hypnosis centers on the
unconscious mind of an individual through the employment of stories,
suggestion power and metaphors with an aim of engraining of novel
behaviors in the mind. According to a current research where the method
was used to treat anxiety and other anxiety linked disorders, hypnosis
proved to be an effective treatment method (Coelho, et al. 2008). Unlike
anti-anxiety medication, hypnosis represents a non-addictive,
cost-efficient, rapid, and an alternative treatment method. The huge
volume of studies offers a convincing proof that hypnosis is an
effective treatment method for state anxiety (for instance before tests,
medical processes, or surgery is performed), as well as anxiety linked
conditions including irritable bowel syndrome and headaches (Hammond,
2010).
Being exposed to mental and physical relaxation is an important
experience for anxiety patients. Through this, they are able to know
what is required of them both mentally and physically so as to calm
down. Moreover, hypnosis prevents amplification of anxiety symptoms such
as muscle tension, fast breathing and fast heart rate. The method does
not pose any unforeseen side effects as compared to anti-anxiety drugs.
Although hypnosis has been employed efficiently in a number of medical
settings including dentistry, surgery, chronic diseases, as well as
anxiety disorders, systematic assessments have concluded that recent
proof is not enough to support the employment of hypnosis as a single
treatment method for anxiety (Hammond, 2010).
Anti-Anxiety Medication
Studies show that the employment of anti-anxiety medications, also
referred to as tranquilizers, for the treatment of anxiety has amplified
significantly in the last few decades (Wegmann, 2012). In spite of the
fact that medications contribute greatly in anxiety treatment, they are
linked with various risks in addition to worsening the problem. Most
patients as well as health professionals prefer the use of anti-anxiety
medications, compared to psychotherapy because the former works fast
and entail reduced effort and time. Anxiety disorders are often treated
in the primary care setting, and this offers adequate evidence of the
use of anti-anxiety medications. It is fundamental to distinguish the
diverse classes of ant-anxiety medications as they are not similar. This
knowledge is important in that the benefits and dangers linked with
every type of medication differ considerably. In addition, some
medications employed in the treatment of anxiety might in fact lessen
the effectiveness of other therapies used simultaneously. Even though
medication lessens a number of anxiety symptoms, it results in safety
concerns and side effects, such as danger of addiction. Psychotherapy
takes time to alleviate anxiety but they are considered to be effective
as compared to anti-anxiety medication as they usually generate lasting
outcomes (Wegmann, 2012).
In order to mitigate anxiety, anti-anxiety medications work by retarding
the central nervous system (lessening the activity of the brain). They
have become extremely popular as a result of their calming and relaxing
impacts. They are the major commonly recommended medication form for the
treatment of anxiety. They also act as muscle relaxants and sleeping
pills. One major class of anti-anxiety medications includes
Benzodiazepines. They act speedily to offer relief from anxiety with
thirty minutes. A study carried out by Wegmann (2012) showed that
Benzodiazepines are effective when used to treat an episode of anxiety
such as panic attack. Out of the population studied, majority preferred
to use the anti-anxiety medication claiming that it acted faster as
compared to psychotherapy. In spite of their effectiveness in the
treatment of anxiety, Pull (2007) claims that they only offer temporary
relieve, and they are linked to a number of unwanted side impacts, for
instance, they result in addiction and medication hangover to some
people. According to research, anti-anxiety medications are usually
metabolized slowly therefore, resulting in the risk of the drugs
building up in the body if taken for a long time (Wegmann, 2012). This
gives rise to oversedation among other effects including disorientation
and confusion, lightheadedness, depression, clumsiness, loss of memory,
slurred speech, fogginess, blurred vision, drowsiness, and impaired
judgment. This can result in issues at school, work, among other daily
activities.
Continuous use of anti-anxiety drugs results in paradoxical reactions
such as amplified anxiety, agitation, and petulance. Besides, they lead
to drug tolerance and addiction. Withdrawal symptoms are experienced
when drug use is stopped or dosage reduced. According to Pull (2007)
some anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines lose their curative
impact after continuous use of four to six months.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an action oriented
psychotherapeutic procedure used to address a range of conditions
including maladaptive behaviors, dysfunctional emotions, and cognitive
contents and procedures by employing numerous explicit systematic and
goal oriented processes (White. 1998). Since its development in the
1950s, the approach has turned out to be a key psychotherapeutic
alternative to anti-anxiety drugs (White, 1998). CBT describes cognitive
therapy, behavior therapy, as well as therapy founded on a blend of
fundamental cognitive and behavioral research and values (White, Keenan
& Brooks, 1992). In order to ensure effectiveness, therapists use a
mixture of behavioral and cognitive therapy especially when dealing with
patients suffering from depression and anxiety. CBT focuses on a
particular problem implying that it is “problem focused” and uses
particular strategies to address the issue meaning it is action
oriented.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy aims at encouraging persons to monitor
their every day activities in order to understand their lives and
thinking patterns. Studies shows that about 80 percent of persons
suffering from anxiety and who use CBT as a treatment method respond
appropriately and show improvement with the initial eight sessions of
treatment (Wannemueller et al. 2011). Proof also shows that CBT can be
used as an efficient alternative strategy for anti-anxiety medication,
and particularly for persons who desire to stop using medications
(Wannemueller et al. 2011). According to an analysis that was featured
in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and which compared
anti-anxiety drugs with CBT, the latter showed an improvement rate of 87
percent and a relapse rate of 10 percent. On the other hand,
anti-anxiety drugs evidenced an improvement arte of 60 percent whereas
the relapse rate was 90 percent (Wannemueller et al. 2011). From this
review, it is evident that CBT is more effective as compared to
anti-anxiety medication as far as improvement and relapse rates are
concerned.
Similar to hypnosis, patients who wish to use CBT as a treatment method
must be determined and self motivated. It is believed to be a successful
method of treating a range of conditions such as psychotic disorders,
mood anxiety, substance abuse, as well as personality. The majority of
CBT treatment programs which have been assessed for effectiveness have
shown that as compared to other approaches, CBT is more effective. This
has been proven in evidence-based treatment wherein certain diagnosis
methods are recommended. CBT techniques are employed by therapists to
assist patients challenge their beliefs and patterns and substitute
thinking errors for instance, catastrophizing, overgeneralization, and
enlarging negatives with effectual and rational thoughts. This means
that maladaptive behaviors are replaced with adaptive ones. Through
this, patients are able to reduce self-defeating behavior and emotional
stress. Some of the contemporary CBT techniques encompass cognitive
therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, exposure therapy, relaxation and
stress inoculation training among others (White et al. 1992).
Research has evidenced CBT to be an effective treatment method for
various anxiety disorders. Some of the strategies which have
demonstrated their usefulness encompass cognitive restructuring which
entails alterations of apprehensive interpretations, thoughts and
predictions exposing the patient to feared substances and offering
relaxation training White (1998). Certain CBT techniques have been
tested for specific anxiety disorders and their outcomes were good.
According to White (1998) for instance, the best therapy for patients
suffering from panic disorder is to expose them systematically to feared
objects through the employment of such exercises as spinning,
hyperventilation, and breathing training. For certain fears’ relating
to injections or blood, the most useful method is applied tension as
evidenced by studies. This techniques boost blood pressure with the aim
of preventing the fainting linked with such fears.
Considering acceptability and effectiveness, CBT has been evidenced to
be the best treatment of dental phobia. This was demonstrated by a
practice based research which was performed with the aim of assessing
comparative acceptability and effectiveness of CBT and hypnosis
(Chambless et al. 1998). Questionnaires were completed by the
participants at the start, prior to, and after the initial dental
appointment. As compared to CBT, hypnosis demonstrated a considerable
high degree of treatment termination, whilst the former evidenced
considerable minimization of dental anxiety.
Numerous empirical investigations in psychotherapy research have
demonstrated that CBT is efficacious for the treatment of anxiety
disorders (Chambless et al. 1998). In a systematic assessment of 27 case
studies carried out by Hofmann and Smits (2008), CBT evidenced to be
indisputably effective treatment method for anxiety when matched up with
other psychological and pharmacological treatments. Nevertheless, by
integrating CBT with other treatment method, more efficiency was
demonstrated. Hofmann and Smits (2008) found out that CBT could be
integrated with hypnosis in clinical practice. Putting into
consideration that the two treatment methods have numerous similarities
in their aspects (such as relaxation and imagery), their combination
could be rendered natural. The incorporation of hypnosis to CBT has
demonstrated a considerable improvement in the treatment results of
different conditions including pain, obesity, as well as anxiety. This
integration assists patients in various phases of therapy encompassing
imagery exposure, cognitive restructuring, in-vivo exposure, and
development of coping skills. Furthermore, the employment of hypnosis by
patients assists in developing a good sense of self-worth. This is
acknowledged to advance self-regulation and is associated with reduced
psychological anguish and improved life quality. For this reason, there
is need to explore hypnosis as an additional technique to enhance the
use of CBT in clinical problems.
Discussion
From the analysis, it is evident that all the three treatment methods
(anti-anxiety medications, CBT, and hypnosis) are effective in the
treatment of anxiety. However, the degree of effectiveness has been
explored in the literature review and it is evident that there are
differences. For instance, most patients as well as health professionals
prefer the use of anti-anxiety medications, compared to psychotherapy
because the former works fast and entail reduced effort and time.
Nevertheless, these medications have a high probability of lessening the
effectiveness of other therapies used simultaneously. Even though
medication lessens a number of anxiety symptoms, it results in safety
concerns and side effects, such as danger of addiction. Psychotherapy
such as hypnosis in this case takes time to alleviate anxiety but it is
considered to be effective as compared to anti-anxiety medication as
they usually generate lasting outcomes. In spite of their effectiveness
in the treatment of anxiety, Pull (2007) claims that they only offer
temporary relieve, and they are linked to a number of unwanted side
impacts, for instance, they result in addiction and medication hangover
to some people. Continuous use of anti-anxiety drugs results in
paradoxical reactions such as amplified anxiety, agitation, and
petulance. Besides, they lead to drug tolerance and addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms are experienced when drug use is stopped or dosage
reduced.
Unlike anti-anxiety medication, hypnosis represents a non-addictive,
cost-efficient, rapid, and an alternative treatment method. The huge
volume of studies offers a convincing proof that hypnosis is an
effective treatment method for state anxiety (for instance before tests,
medical processes, or surgery is performed), as well as anxiety linked
conditions including irritable bowel syndrome and headaches (Hammond,
2010).Various studies have evidenced the effectiveness of hypnosis in
the treatment of anxiety. Stanton (1984) for instance, carried out a
study to investigate the effectiveness of hypnosis in the treatment of
social anxiety. Results showed considerable and larger minimization in
anxiety levels to the experiment group, but the control group evidenced
minimal reduction in levels of anxiety. The employment of hypnotic
methods in the treatment of panic disorders (PD) also evidenced positive
outcomes. Another study performed by Huston (2011) to investigate the
effectiveness of hypnosis over CBT in treating generalized anxiety
disorder (GAD) showed that hypnosis was as successful as Cognitive
Behavioral Therapy.
Numerous empirical investigations in psychotherapy research have
demonstrated that CBT is efficacious for the treatment of anxiety
disorders (Chambless et al. 1998). In a systematic assessment of 27 case
studies carried out by Hofmann and Smits (2008), CBT evidenced to be
indisputably effective treatment method for anxiety when matched up with
other psychological and pharmacological treatments. Research also shows
that when hypnosis is used together with other methods such as Cognitive
Behavioural Therapy, it proves to be significantly effective (Hammond,
2010). This is refereed to as cognitive hypnotherapy. Hofmann and Smits
(2008) found out that CBT could be integrated with hypnosis in clinical
practice. Putting into consideration that the two treatment methods have
numerous similarities in their aspects (such as relaxation and imagery),
their combination could be rendered natural. The incorporation of
hypnosis to CBT has demonstrated a considerable improvement in the
treatment results of different conditions including pain, obesity, as
well as anxiety.
However, hypnosis has obtained various criticisms. For instance, some
scholars argue that the effectiveness of the method relies on the
hypnotic suggestibility of a person, and some persons cannot be
hypnotized (Clarke & Jackson, 1983). This means that it relies on one
free will to do something, work, and participate with full potential.
The employment of hypnosis by patients assists in developing a good
sense of self-worth. This is acknowledged to advance self-regulation and
is associated with reduced psychological anguish and improved life
quality. Although hypnosis has been employed efficiently in a number of
medical settings including dentistry, surgery, chronic diseases, as well
as anxiety disorders, systematic assessments have concluded that recent
proof is not enough to support the employment of hypnosis as a single
treatment method for anxiety.
Conclusion
Numerous studies have been carried out to investigate the effectiveness
of various treatment methods for anxiety. Anxiety disorders are deemed
to be among the most prevalent mental health issues in the world.
Anxiety can be treated using two key approaches: psychological and
medication treatments. Empirically confirmed and effective
psychotherapeutic, pharmacological, as well as behavioral interventions
have been discovered for the treatment of anxiety disorders. This paper
has explored the effectiveness of hypnosis as compared to anti-anxiety
medications and cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of anxiety.
Form the extensive literature review, it has been evidenced that all the
three methods have proven to be effective. However, hypnosis is more
efficient than anti-anxiety medication as it offers lasting outcomes
with no risk of side effects. Hypnosis has also proven to be as
effective as CBT, but studies have shown that integrating the two
methods offers more efficacious results.
References
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K. S. & Crits-Christoph P. (1998). Update on Empirically Validated
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Coelho, H. F., Canter, P. H. & Ernst E. (2008). The effectiveness of
hypnosis for the treatment of anxiety: A systematic review. Primary Care
& Community Psychiatry. 12(2):49-63.
Forbes, S. (2007). Relative effectiveness of imaginal exposure with and
without hypnosis in the treatment of specific animal phobias. London:
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Hammond, D. C. (2010). Hypnosis in the treatment of anxiety- and
stress-related disorders. Expert Rev Neurother 10(2):263-73.
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procedure and music on anxiety level. Australian Journal of Clinical &
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Wannemueller, A., Joehren, P., Haug, S., Hatting, M., Elsesser, K. &
Sartory, G. (2011). A practice-based comparison of brief cognitive
behavioural treatment, two kinds of hypnosis and general anaesthesia in
dental phobia. Psychother Psychosom 80(3):159-65.
Wegmann, J. (2012). Safe and Effective Medication Approaches for Anxiety
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White ,J., Keenan, M. & Brooks, N. (1992). Stress control: A controlled
comparative investigation of large group therapy for generalized anxiety
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White, J. (1998). Stress control large group therapy for generalized
anxiety disorder: Two year follow-up. Behavioural and Cognitive
Psychotherapy. 26:237–245.
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