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Hypnosis is often effective with reducing various types of anxiety. This may be due to many reasons including the fact that the hypnotic state is often characterized as a deeply relaxed state with a heightened focus and increased imagination and suggestibility.
A meta-analysis, which is an examination of multiple studies, showed that hypnosis was successful at treating anxiety for cancer patients. The study also showed that while self-hypnosis was effective, a therapist providing the hypnosis was even more effective (Chen, Liu, & Chen, 2017). Other research suggests that hypnosis can be an efficacious treatment for state anxiety (e.g., prior to tests, surgery and medical procedures) and anxiety-related disorders, such as headaches and irritable bowel syndrome (Hammond, 2010). Hypnosis may be effective with phobias and fMRI data shows that it can inhibit the fear circuitry structures in the brain (Halsband & Wolf, 2015). Hypnosis may also be effective at treating generalized anxiety as well (Huston, 2010). Hypnosis may also be effective in treating depression (Chen, Yang, Ge, Luo, & Lv, 2017).
Chen, P. Y., Liu, Y. M., & Chen, M. L. (2017). The Effect of Hypnosis on Anxiety in Patients With Cancer: A Meta‐Analysis. Worldviews on Evidence‐Based Nursing, 14(3), 223-236.
Chen, X., Yang, R., Ge, L., Luo, J., & Lv, R. (2017). Hypnosis in the Treatment of Major Depression: An Analysis of Heart Rate Variability. . International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 65(1), 52-63.
Halsband, U., & Wolf, T. G. (2015). Functional changes in brain activity after hypnosis in patients with dental phobia. Journal of Physiology-Paris, 109((4-6)), 131-142.
Hammond, D. C. (2010). Hypnosis in the treatment of anxiety and stress related disorders. Expert review of Neurotherapeutic, 10(2), 263-273.
Huston, T. R. (2010). The effects of using hypnosis for treating anxiety in outpatients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder . Doctoral dissertation, Walden University.