Anxiety doesn’t just affect the mind
Does worry cause physical illness?
Is anxiety making you ill? Anxiety is linked to physical illness. Recent research has shown that anxiety doesn’t just affect the mind, it may also make you physically ill. To be specific, anxiety is associated more than would be expected with a wide range of physical health problems.
The DSM lists several common types of anxiety disorder: general anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic attacks, simple phobias, OCD and PTSD. It is not surprising that anxiety is the most common problem presented to hypnotherapists.
A recently published review of 48 high-quality academic research articles has confirmed that anxiety is the most common psychological problem. Around 4% of people experience some sort of anxiety disorder. Women are twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder than men. Surprisingly, young people are more affected than older groups.
Common anxiety types
The most common form of anxiety reported was generalised anxiety order (GAD). Other common forms found were simple phobias, and the least common was full panic disorder. People with long-term health conditions such as cancer, heart problems, heart and lung diseases all show a consistently high level of anxiety. It is not clear which one causes the other, but anxiety is almost always present.
Anxiety is also very common with some mental health conditions, particularly bipolar depression and schizophrenia. Anxiety is also commonly found with various types of addictions, such as substance abuse, uncontrollable gambling and various types of obsessions.
The review found that people with an anxiety disorder are at increased risk for the development of other anxiety and mood disorders. Anxiety is also a predictor of addictive behaviour.
This backs up the assertions by many hypnotherapists that teaching people how to reduce their own anxiety by self-hypnosis can have a positive effect on the quality of life.
O. Remes, C. Brayne, R. van der Linde, L. Lafortune. A systematic review of reviews on the prevalence of anxiety disorders in adult populations, Brain and Behavior, 2016; 6(7). doi: 10.1002/brb3.497