Hypnosis and Depression
Living with depression is like living in a black-hole that sucks all of the joy and happiness from your life. It will effect your relationship with your family and friends. It will hamper your ability to live and work. It can even lead to death, because depression is the leading cause of suicide.
In some ways depression is really an emotional illness because it is characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair. It is almost as if the part of you that is responsible for generating feelings has been poisoned.
This is why hypnosis can really help, because your emotions really come from your subconscious. And hypnosis is the only therapeutic treatment that deals directly with this mysterious realm.
There have even been some promising studies that show hypnosis can increase your feelings of self-confidence and self-worth. It can improve your beliefs about the future. It can decrease your awareness of emotional pain and enhance your ability to cope with stressful situations. It can even help motivate you to eat better, exercise more, learn something new, or just go out and have some fun with others.
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Depression Fact Sheet
This is a psychiatric disorder that involves having chronic and long-lasting feelings of sadness, despair, hopelessness and despondency.
- emotionally traumatic events during childhood and adolescence;
- a lack of self-esteem (such as getting depressed because you may be overweight);
- psycho-social problems (such as divorce, bereavement and the loss of a job);
- possible genetic and hereditary factors involving some sort of problem with neurotransmitters and the chemistry of the brain;
- a direct side-effect of certain illnesses (such as thyroid problems);
- an indirect side-effect of a chronic illness (such as getting depressed as a result of chronic back-pain);
- an indirect side-effect of surgery;
- alcohol, drugs and other forms of addiction;
- withdrawal from addictive substances (including caffeine).
- deep feelings of sadness, despair, hopelessness and despondency;
- a lack of interest in life;
- feelings of worthlessness;
- feelings of guilt;
- feelings of self-hatred;
- a loss of appetite or the desire to constantly eat;
- a loss of control over one's life;
- tiredness and fatigue;
- a feeling agitation;
- a desire to hide from the world;
- feelings of frustration and irritability;
- thoughts of death and suicide.
- alcohol and illegal drugs (both the use and the withdrawal from them);
- poor diet;
- lack of exercise;
- conflicts at work and home;
- experiencing failure and defeat;
- events that cause feelings of anger, frustration and irritation;
- unexpected delays and changes in plans;
- unexpressed emotions;
- a major life-stressor (such as moving, loss of job, bereavement);
- illness and disability;
- fear of aging;
- hormonal changes (in women this is associated with their periods and menopause).
How Hypnosis Can Help You
If you have depression, then hypnosis is ideally suited to helping you deal with this condition because:
- it can increase your feelings of self-control;
- it can enhance your innate capacity to heal yourself;
- it can improve your ability to follow sound medical advice and work with your physicians;
- it can help you to reprogram your subconscious and remove negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself;
- it can improve your ability to cope with stress and anxiety;
- it can make you feel more positive and joyful about life;
- it can enhance your ability to resume everyday activities;
- it can help you improve your diet and begin an exercise program;
- it can help you to sleep better (which will improve your mood);
- it can increase your belief that you are getting better and things are now looking up;
- it can help to make you feel good about waking up and starting a new day;
- it can improve your feelings of self-worth;
- it can help if there is a link between a specific trauma and the onset of your depression;
- it can help if your depression involves any subconscious and state-dependent processes.
Some Research That Proves These Claims...
The scientific research is conclusive. If you are capable of entering into a moderately deep state of hypnosis (something 70% of the population can achieve), then hypnosis can help you. Here is a summation of some of these studies...
A Meta-Analysis of Hypnosis in
the Treatment of Depressive Symptoms: A
Brief Communication. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 57(4) October 2009; 431 – 442. Shih M, Yang Y-H, Koo M.
The authors of this paper statistically analyzed the results of six research studies involving the use of hypnosis to treat depression. They concluded that not only has hypnosis been show to significantly reduce the symptoms of depression, but it also provides a viable alternative to medication.
Cognitive Hypnotherapy For Depression: An Empirical Investigation. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2007 Apr;55(2):147-66 Alibhai A.
This study compared the results of Cognitive Hypnotherapy with Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (a well-established form of treatment for depression) in the treatment of depression. Eighty-four people suffering from depression were randomly assigned to a 16-week program that involved one of these two treatments. When it was over the researchers found that there were significant improvements to both groups. However, those who were assigned Cognitive Hypnotherapy improved more than the other group and had a 6% greater reduction in depression, a 5% greater reduction in anxiety and an 8% greater reduction in feelings of hopelessness. These increases continued to be maintained one year later. This study concluded that Cognitive Hypnotherapy met the American Psychological Association's evidence-based criteria for it to be accepted as a legitimate treatment of depression.
Evidence-Based Cognitive Hypnotherapy For Depression. Contemporary Hypnosis Vol. 26(4):245-262. Assen Alladin.
This article starts by noting that depression is one of the most common disorders treated by psychiatrists. Unfortunately, it is also a very complex problem because it affects thoughts, emotions, behaviours and bodily functions. The author describes the use of Cognitive Hypnotherapy in the treatment of depression and goes into enough detail so that others can replicate this technique. He concludes by stating that Cognitive Hypnotherapy is now supported by sound clinical evidence in the treatment of depression and that this approach should now be used as a template to help with other similar disorders, especially since it can be used in conjunction with various other forms of treatment.
Hypnotically Catalyzing Experiential Learning Across Treatments for Depression: Actions Can Speak Louder Than Moods. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Vol. 58 (2), April 2010. Yapko. M.
A number of different studies on
depression have shown that a critical juncture in recovery comes when
a depressed individual begins to learn and use new skills. As a
result, the author of this paper describes how hypnosis can not only
be used as a catalyst to encourage this type of experiential
learning, it can also be used to decrease the thoughts and
perceptions that often impede this important step.
Hypnosis, Rumination, and Depression: Catalyzing Attention and Mindfulness-Based Treatments. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Vol. 58(2), April 2010. Lynn SJ, Barnes S, Deming A, Accardi M.
This paper discusses the evidence that has been accumulated in the last 30 years which proves hypnosis can be used to increase "attention, imagination, and motivation." The authors then discuss how these qualities can be used to help people to recover from depression. They finish by focusing on the role that learning and practicing various mindfulness techniques (such as meditation or t'ai chi) can play in this recovery. They finish by discussing various ways that hypnosis can be used to teach mindfulness and how it can be used to motivate people to practice these techniques on a regular basis.
Systemic Hypnosis with Depressed Individuals and Their Families. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Vol. 58(2), April 2010. Loriedo C, Torti C.
Depression has historically been viewed as something that only affects individuals. As a result, conventional treatments tend to focus exclusively on the person who is suffering from it. However, the authors of this paper note that family members and cultural influences can also play a role in the development of this illness. As a result, when using hypnosis to treat people with depression, the authors have found that it helps if the family is included in the treatment.
Treating Postpartum Depression With Hypnosis: Addressing Specific Symptoms Presented By The Client. The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 2006,vol.49,(3),pp.219-223. Yexley MJ.
This study examines a case where hypnosis was used to successfully treat a new mother who was suffering from Postpartum Depression. It noted that hypnosis was ideally suited to addressing the various problems that plagued this client by helping her to develop the necessary skills to resolve these problems and prevent any further re-occurrence.
Can Hypnosis Reduce Postnatal Depression? British Journal of Midwifery, Vol. 11, Iss. 5, 01 May 2003, pp 299 301. Mantle F.
The report looks at some of the potential causes of Postnatal Depression, a disorder that effects between 10-15% women who have just given birth. It states some forms of postnatal depression can be caused by things such as an abnormal labour and even by obstetricians who attempt to shorten the length of labour in order to make it a less exhausting process for the new mother. It states that hypnosis is particularly valuable in reducing Postnatal Depression when it is used during pregnancy and in preparation of childbirth.