People who have suffered childhood trauma, and, as a result, have gone on to develop mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder (BPD) have, statistically, worse PHYSICAL health , on average, than those who are mentally well. One reason for this, although there are many) is that both the sufferer and their doctors can be so focused upon treating their emotional difficulties that their physical health tends to take second place and is consequently rather neglected.
One problem that the psychiatric conditions mentioned above can lead to is DYSFUNCTIONAL EATING BEHAVIOUR (or, put rather more simply, over-eating ; for example, what is commonly referred to as ‘COMFORT EATING’). As this often leads to obesity, significant physical health problems may develop (eg heart disease).
Indeed, in the USA it is estimated that up to 325,000 deaths per year are linked to obesity (Allison et al, 1999).
On top of the serious physical problems it may cause. obesity can aggravate mental health conditions by setting up a vicious circle. For example : the depressed person eats more and more to soothe his/her inner turmoil and becomes obese as a result – because of the prejudice which exists within society, being obese lowers his/her self-esteem and confidence ; this in turn leads to greater feelings of depression which leads to even greater unhealthy eating-behaviour, and so the self-damaging cycle continues…
Not infrequently, the problem becomes one of being unable to resist the temptation to binge eat. Indeed, it is under consideration that BINGE EATING DISORDER might be officially entered into DSM (the Diagnostic and Statitical Manual used by psychiatrists) as a psychiatric disorder, not least due to the fact that 40% of those who binge eat become obese (Johnson et al, 1996).
THE ROLE OF HYPNOTHERAPY IN CONTROLLED EATING AND WEIGHT REDUCTION :
The primary requirement for those who wish to control their eating behavior and lose weight involves MODIFYING BEHAVIOURS. Hypnotherapy can be of use here by:
– motivating the individual to make beneficial dietry changes
– motivating the individual to monitor their eating (a technique which helps weight reduction) by keeping a diary of what they eat, for example
– motivating the individual to take some moderate exercise
– increasing the individual’s self-control
– helping to control eating desire stimuli (eg by motivating the individual to eat in the same place every day)
– helping to address distorted thinking which leads to excessive eating (eg irrational and faulty belief systems)
– helping to address the emotional dysregulation (uncontrooled emotions) which can lead to over-eating/binge eating
– reducing the person’s levels of stress and anxiety which may have been causing the over-eating/binge eating
– improving the individual’s self-esteem (low self-esteem often underlies the causes of over-eating/binge eating
Stradling et al (1998) carried out research which suggested HYPNOSIS FOCUSING ON STRESS REDUCTION has a significantly beneficial effect upon weight loss. Furthermore, research that was conducted by Davis and Dawson (1980) found that the use of AUDIO RECORDINGS for SELF-HYPNOSIS were effective in helping people to CONTINUE to lose weight (this is very important, because, often, people lose weight at first but then quickly put it back on again).
Overall, most research has suggested that a hypnosis component in a weight loss program helps with weight loss.
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Best wishes, David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).