Links found between stress and autoimmune conditions.

Pretty much everyone will experience severe stress or a major trauma at some point in their life. Going through a divorce, experiencing the death of a loved one, being in a serious accident or witnessing violence or abuse are all life stressors which can have a significant impact.

Many people manage to recover from such deep hurtful experiences. But some develop stress disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or ongoing chronic anxiety disorders. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) says it is important to reduce anxiety as research shows that prolonged exposure to cortisol and other stress-related hormones can cause memory problems, weaker bones, increased blood pressure and can even reduce fertility as well as impacting negatively upon immune functioning.

A study published last month by researchers from the University of Iceland found an association between stress-related conditions such as anxiety and PTSD and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

This study confirms prior work in the area which found a correlation between PTSD and lupus, in 2016 Healthline reported on the link between RA and PTSD, a link has been uncovered between RA and 9/11 first responders and in 2008 a study was published which indicated that up to 80% of patients who were diagnosed with an autoimmune disease reported uncommon emotional stress before disease onset.

Supporting the call for better mental health care, the National Council for Hypnotherapy says that about one in seven people are suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK currently.

 “Stress really affects long-term health,” said the lead author, Dr. Huan Song, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Iceland. “It affects not only psychiatric health, but leaves people vulnerable to other diseases. There are many treatments now available for stress-related disorders, and it’s important for people to get treatment early.”

Clinical hypnotherapy has a proven record in treating anxiety, stress, PTSD and other similar issues successfully, with the hypnotherapist working in partnership with the client to identify and treat those ‘triggers’, allowing the person understand them and cope with them in the future.

In some cases, a therapist could use cognitive hypnotherapy or analytical hypnotherapy, both of which function on a deeper level than suggestion hypnotherapy and are able to work with the unconscious mind so that negative beliefs which were built up during the trauma can be explored and alleviated.

To find someone who can help you manage your stress, use the NCH directory, which lists therapists near you. Your health could be at stake.

Is workplace stress affecting your health?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 526,000 workers in the UK suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17, and 12.5m working days were lost as a result over that period.  A survey of 3,000 workers conducted by an employee benefits platform found that work was the biggest cause of stress, followed by family pressures (45%) and money worries (45%).

The number of fit notes issued for mental health conditions, including workplace induced stress and anxiety, have been on the rise for a number of years. They accounted for a third of all fit notes written by GPs in England between December 2014 and March 2017.  Chronic workplace stress can lead to a wide range of negative health outcomes, from physical health issues to signs of anxiety, depression and low mood.

Overwork was given as the biggest reason for workplace strain, and a significant percentage of respondents turned to stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol to help them manage.

Supporting the call for better mental health care, the National Council for Hypnotherapy says that about one in seven people are suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK currently. And while some people manage, more and more people are struggling with significant impacts on the quality of life and well-being.

There are many practical steps you can take to help you cope better with workplace stress including seeking out and building supportive relationships both inside and out of work, making sure you are eating and sleeping well and exercising regularly. If these steps are not enough to alleviate your stress, the NCH is well-placed to assist with over 1,800 registered hypnotherapists who can teach you tools and help you work through your problem.

A hypnotherapist can help assess your anxiety, identifying the root of stress or anxiety and helping you to set goals for how you would like to feel and the things you would choose to do in your life if you were free of the stress and anxiety. They will then work with you to reach your goals using a range of different techniques. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but working towards the same goal.

Stress is one of the major reasons people take time off work and, by investing in stress reduction schemes, companies can increase productivity, happiness and subsequently loyalty in their employees, comments the NCH.

Many hypnotherapists offer special offers to businesses for stress reduction schemes at work. It is worth talking to your employer or to a local hypnotherapist to see if that this is a possibility.

 

Is health anxiety harming you?

Do you worry that you have a serious, undiagnosed medical condition?  The number of people in the UK suffering from health anxiety is rising.  Many of us are guilty of Googling a symptom when we have a cold or worrying that a sore throat may be something worse; but health anxiety is more than that. People affected by health anxiety have repeated, obsessive thoughts that they have (or will have) a physical illness.  The most common health anxieties tend to centre on conditions such as cancer, HIV, AIDs, etc. However, the person experiencing health anxiety may fixate on any type of illness.

According to the NHS, people with health anxiety have obsessively anxious thoughts about their health. They frequently check their body for signs of illness and are always asking people for reassurance that they’re not ill.  Often the physical symptoms of anxiety become signs of an impending and life-threatening health problem.

The distress and negative impact upon lives that health anxiety can cause is real, with sufferer’s worrying that their GP may have misdiagnosed them.  This preoccupation impacts negatively upon their lives, affecting work, study and relationships because of the constant need to seek reassurance about their health.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy notes that our society is one where great demands and responsibilities are placed on us and while some people manage, more and more people are showing signs of stress and anxiety which can make a significant impact on the quality of life and wellbeing.  Last year a report was released which found that mental health issues were the most common reason for people to take time off workAnxiety can also manifest itself in different worries, explains the NCH. “It may be fear of being around other people; it may be anxiety in specific social situations, anxiety in your relationships with particular people at home, at school or at work.

Working with a hypnotherapist may help you feel more confident and more at ease about things which have previously been challenging for you says the NCH.

“Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious.”

To contact your nearest NCH-registered therapist and start the process of shedding your anxieties, simply click here.

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Pressure builds for Britain’s youth

 
A recent survey of 2,000 UK school teachers has revealed some frightening news about the mental health of our children and adolescents.  Responding to a survey by the NASUWT union, almost all teachers (98%) said they had come into contact with pupils who are experiencing mental health issues.  In February a survey commissioned by the Varkey Foundation ranked British teenagers and young adults in 19th place out of 20 participating countries when comparing their mental health and levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

In 2012 the Children’s Society Good Childhood Report found that around 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

A single session of self hypnosis instruction has been found to resolve anxiety based abdominal pain symptoms in 3 out of 4 paediatric patients and clinical research has shown that children and adolescents respond extremely well to hypnotherapy for other anxiety related complaints and insomnia.

Dr Marc Bush, chief policy advisor at charity YoungMinds said: “We know from our research that children and young people face a huge range of pressures, including stress at school, body image issues, bullying on and offline, around-the-clock social media and uncertain job prospects.”

Childline, a telephone and internet chat counselling service for children reported that they delivered over 300,000 counselling sessions in the 2015/2016 financial year with the top concerns raised by children being low self-esteem/unhappiness, family relationships, and bullying/online bullying. 1 in 3 Childline counselling sessions related to mental health and wellbeing issues.

Teachers report that “Students generally don’t know how to deal with any stresses in their lives so it tends to present itself through anger and lashing out or crying.”

There are many things that you can do that will help and prevention is always better than cure.  Some of the most important things you can do are to listen and to provide emotional support.  Children learn through modelling, so providing a good example to them of effective communication and problem-solving skills is a very important weapon in helping fight the onset of stress and anxiety childhood mental health issues.

The Mental Health Foundation believes that simple things such as ensuring your child is in good physical health; is eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise, and is part of a family that’s happy and communicates with each other are effective ways of helping ensure your child remains mentally healthy.  Connections to the community and a sense of belonging, both through schools and outside activities are also important for childhood mental wellbeing.

Limiting media access can also be helpful if your child is showing signs of anxiety.  The NSPCC reported earlier this year that young callers to their Childline service reported being distressed by world events such as Brexit, the US election, and increasingly regular terrorism reports.  Limiting social media access can also help to improve the stress and anxiety levels of your children, allowing them time to switch off and be present in the moment.

However, some children are in need of more formal interventions to support them through their time of crisis.  The National Council for Hypnotherapy, which has over 200 trained and qualified therapists who specialise in working with children on its directory across the UK, says that hypnotherapy can be a fast, effective and drug free treatment for a range of children and adolescent’s mental health issues.

 If caught and treated early, childhood mental health problems can resolve quickly and completely.  Most hypnotherapists are happy to have a no-obligation meeting with you and your child to discuss these problems and make suggestions for intervention.

Visit our database of hypnotherapists to find someone local to you.