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Manage your expectations and stress levels during this Summer of Sport!

13 Jul

So, the 2012 Olympics are almost upon us! The event will be met with mixed emotions from many people as the ramifications impact on our everyday lives. To some, the initial reaction will be one of panic, as the worry of trying to get to work through the inevitable congestion hits home. Can I cope with the crowded trains, will I get to work late, and will I be able to get home to watch a particular event on TV? What about if a tube breaks down or my bus doesn’t even arrive or is packed? There seem to be 101 things to worry about.

Manage your travel during the Olympic games

Albert Ellis said we generally disturb ourselves about three major things

  • I must do well, greatly, perfectly, outstandingly and must win the approval of others or else it’s awful, I can’t stand it and I’m no good and I’ll never do anything well.  This can lead to anxiety, depression, despair and a sense of worthlessness, jealousy, hurt, unhealthy envy, guilt, shame and embarrassment and unhealthy anger with the self.
  • Other people must do the right thing or be a certain way or treat me well, or kindly or considerately and put me in the centre of their attention or else it’s horrible, unbearable and proves they are bad and no good.  This can lead to unhealthy anger, rage, hostility resentment, jealously, envy.

But the Olympics are likely to trigger this 3rd attitude in some people. 

  • Life must be easy, without discomfort or inconvenience or any hassle otherwise it’s horrible and unbearable.  This leads to low frustration tolerance and unhealthy anger.

 When we think about this third thing, we understand that it is not realistic, and the important thing is how we deal with more difficult situations.

In the case of transport hassles around London 2012, there are many ways we can cope with this and prepare ourselves. We do not want to feel frustrated and angry for the two weeks of the Olympics.  Basically, we need to manage our expectations and plan in advance:

  • Accept the hassle and inconvenience because we know it will happen. 
  • Remember, it’s only temporary and that it will come to an end. We can tolerate and stand the hassle. It does not kill us. It’s just a hassle.
  • Plan in advance and allow extra time so that you do not feel rushed all the time
  • Try to look at the positive side of the Olympics. After all, it is a major event for the country. A lot of people have worked very hard to make them a success and every effort has been made to minimise the impact on the transport system.
  • If you don’t support the Olympics in London and worry about the hassle, then focus on the fact that it will all come to an end and that you can stand the hassle of the games even  though you do not agree with them.

So, focus on the benefits of the Olympic Games, the enjoyment it will bring to millions of people, the efforts and successes of the athletes and the two weeks will pass all too quickly!

Panic Disorder

11 Jun

The term panic is derived from the name of the Greek god Pan.  According to mythology the cloven footed dwarfish Pan was lonely and moody.  He had an impish sense of humour and if a human passed his cave he would jump out with a shrill and terrifying scream.  The acute terror felt by the human came to be known as Panic.

Ok so we know where the name panic comes from, but what happens when we experience panic…

Many of us in our lives will have suffered with some form of panic attack. Panic attacks can be brought on by all sorts of things, but they typically begin abruptly, may reach a peak within 10 minutes and can last anything from a few minutes to hours.  Panic attacks that continue for a longer period are often triggered by a situation from which the sufferer desires to escape, with some making frantic efforts to escape, which maybe violent if others attempt to stop them. 

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder: severe recurring panic attacks

The effects of a panic attack, for the first time, often lead the sufferer into fearing they are having a heart attack or a nervous breakdown, prolonging the attack itself. It is said that experiencing a panic attack is one of the most intensely frightening, upsetting and uncomfortable experiences of a person’s life. Now imagine, what it is like to suffer with a form of panic attacks on a regular basis? This is exactly what people have to endure who suffer from a panic disorder. A panic disorder is an anxiety disorder, which is characterized by the individual suffering severe recurring panic attacks.

It is estimated that at least 2 million people in the UK alone suffer from panic attacks, for some, these attacks become more regular and lead to more challenging cases of panic disorder.


Signs and Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of an attack include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Perspiration
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling
  • Uncontrollable fear
  • Sweating
  • Chocking sensation
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Numbness or tingling,
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Faintness
  • A sense of altered reality

In addition, the sufferer also has thoughts of impending doom and catastrophe, this can be expressed as “something awful/terrible is happening to me, I’m in real danger.” 

According to DSM IV (American Psychiatric Association 1994) a panic disorder is defined by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks followed by at least a month of either:

  1. Persistent anxiety about having more attacks
  2. Worry about the possible implications or consequences of the attacks
  3. A marked change in behaviour as a result of the attacks (e.g. avoiding situations associated with attacks, such as quitting a stressful job)
  4. During the episodes, at least four of the sensations/feelings are experience as listed in the common symptoms of a panic attack above
  5. These attacks are not directly caused by a drug or a general medical condition


Beating Panic Disorder

Treatments that are best effective against panic disorder offer a full a response as possible, and minimise the chances of relapse – this is imperative. The American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association primarily recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for treating panic disorder. Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) builds on the structure provided by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and introduces a hypnosis and hypnotherapy element. This use of hypnotherapy is another tool in the fight against panic disorder.

It is worth remembering that sufferers are individuals, and as such, a case by case approach to treatment is required. This is something the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CCBH) strongly believes in.

Therapists who attend one of the Colleges Master Classes in treating panic disorder are given not only the background knowledge they require in psychopathology and natural history of panic disorder, but information on how best to identify the right treatments for individuals. Therapists who attend one of the Colleges Master Classes in Treating Panic Disorder will learn:

  • Major theories when dealing with Panic Disorder
  • Available treatments and reviews of these treatments (including drug treatments)
  • How best to formulate an individual case
  • Hypnotherapy protocol – session by session treatment
  • Strategies and guidelines for dealing with challenging cases

CBT and CBH provide a full treatment for panic disorder and provide the sufferer with the tools to help them beat panic attacks and stop them re-occurring. By doing this, the individual has the tools at their disposal to beat panic disorder.

If you want to learn how to use Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy to successfully treat panic disorder, then you can attend one of the Master Classes that specialise in Treating Panic Disorder, held by the college.