A panic attack can be terrifying. If you are having a panic attack, it might feel like something serious or even potentially deadly, such as a heart attack, is happening. While panic attacks do cause physical symptoms, including a racing heart and difficulty breathing, they do not indicate a physical illness. However, they can be hard to control, and they often come on without warning, even at times when you are not aware that you feel particularly anxious. Hypnosis therapy for panic attacks is one option for treating this condition.
A number of case studies have examined the role of hypnosis in treating panic attacks. In many of those cases, the individual did not just learn how to manage the panic attacks, but the attacks went away entirely.
For example, one 28-year-old man was treated with hypnosis for panic attacks after suffering them almost daily for four months. At the time, the treatment was successful, and six years later, he reported no attacks at all.
Because hypnosis puts you in a heightened state of awareness, suggestions made when you are hypnotized are more powerful. This does not mean that you can be persuaded to do something you would not normally do while hypnotized, but it does mean that hypnosis can reinforce the tools available for coping with panic attacks.
The best hypnosis for panic attacks enhances techniques for dealing with the condition. For example, since panic attacks can cause people to hyperventilate, making their symptoms even worse, many people who suffer from them are taught breathing exercises. These can be even more effective when combined with hypnosis.
In another case study, a 13-year-old girl was suffering from panic attacks that caused hyperventilation along with chest pain, palpitations and shortness of breath. A clinician worked with her to teach her techniques using hypnosis for panic attacks along with calming visualization and breath exercises. The girl improved after one month, and after two months, she had no more panic attacks at all.
You can work with a hypnotherapist to learn similar techniques to help control the symptoms of your panic attacks and reduce their severity or eliminate them altogether.
Many practitioners will have different approaches to treating a person with panic attacks using hypnotherapy based on various factors, including the individual’s situation and receptiveness. However, one way the process might work can be examined in the case study of a 24-year-old woman who suffered from panic attacks and was successfully treated with hypnotherapy.
During her first session involving hypnosis, the woman was asked to imagine a place where she felt safe and confident. She chose her bedroom. She then imagined a mental symbol of that confidence as well as traveling on the subway without having a panic attack. She also received a suggestion that she could calm herself by imagining her bedroom and saying a certain word.
This hypnosis therapy for panic attacks was combined with talk therapy that explored some of the woman’s underlying issues. She successfully used the visualization and suggestion from her hypnotherapy sessions to manage her panic attacks. After a few hypnotherapy sessions, the panic attacks went away.