Anxiety itself is a result of not being able to respond, for whatever reason, to a threat associated with survival. Survival is our priority and the underlying behaviours will do whatever it is that is required to ensure this happens. The level of anxiety is higher the closer we are to immediate physical danger. Unfortunately, what our mind believes to be a threat are not always threats to our survival. These are erroneous beliefs we have learnt as we have grown.
Fight or Flight response
We have a built in instinctive response to danger and this is the ‘fight or flight’ response. Freeze is also associated with this response. Once activated, for our survival, we will either, run, fight or freeze. The problem with our makeup is that it has not evolved efficiently to reflect the world that we live in. This was fine thousands or years ago when we were under constant threats. But, in today’s world, we don’t require to live by survival of the fittest. All of this was true, but our surroundings have simply evolved quicker than our brains.
Our mind has ‘false beliefs’ that we are in danger, but because we don’t discharge these emotions we feel anxiety as a result. When our instinctive response is able to respond we don’t suffer the anxiety. Which is fine if you find yourself in danger and you react. The issue though is when the threat is false. Your instinctive response still kicks in but it doesn’t have an outlet. For example, if you are about to board a bus and your instinctive response kicks in. You aren’t likely to fight, or run away from the bus. You are likely to stay in that position and just feels the symptoms of anxiety. Your conscious mind doesn’t have the need to fight or run. This conflict between what you want to do and what you instinctively need to do is where anxiety is felt.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalised Anxiety Disorder is one of the most common forms of anxiety being diagnosed. The reason I am mentioning GAD is that unfortunately many people with free floating anxiety are diagnosed with GAD. They are very different. GAD is where the person is able to associate a threat with their symptom pattern. It is obvious to the person that doing ‘A’ causes ‘B’. Within GAD, there will likely be multiple triggers. When asking someone with GAD, they will likely be able to list of a whole host things that make them anxious. A different treatment is required to successfully resolve Free Floating Anxiety. For someone with GAD they have the benefit of understanding when their instinctive drive is being triggered, for the sufferer of the free floating anxiety this is not the case.
Free Floating Anxiety
Free floating anxiety is where the person is unable to identify specific triggers that cause strong physical sensations. The person that suffers free floating anxiety will unlikely be able to give you an example of what causes them anxiety. For them, it is as if almost everything in life needs to be perceived as dangerous. When working with GAD we can work at the known triggers. But if we use the same approach with Free Floating Anxiety we will simply get nowhere. This is because the object that caused the anxiety isn’t actually the trigger. So what may have been the cause of an issue today won’t necessarily be the same thing that causes an issue tomorrow. If you go after triggers you will be in therapy for an infinite amount of time, basically chasing your tail!
GAD and Free floating anxiety (FFA) all too often get mixed up, or likely the person with FFA will be told they have GAD. A wrong diagnosis of this condition severely impacts the effectiveness of the therapy as what may work for GAD won’t necessarily work for FFA.
The person with GAD will give a long list of specific issues that cause them anxiety. They will be very specific.
The person with FFA – Will likely say they get anxious all the time but unable to put their finger on why.
Free-floating anxiety can include multiple symptoms such as depression, irritability, chronic fatigue, sleep deprivation and/or a lack of focus. Many patients report feelings of chronic fear, apprehension and tension. Often a client will describe an overwhelming feeling of impending doom. Mood symptoms like exaggerated worry over imminent danger, losing people and ruining relationships and the inability to control this.
Behavioural Symptoms like persistent anxiety every day, avoidance of people or situations, constant procrastination and showing no interest in work, family or anything.
Physical Symptoms like unaccountable body pains, muscle tension, elevated heart rate, headaches dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, Sleeping problems, loss of appetite.
Cognitive Symptoms like decreased focus, attention issues, unrealistic viewpoint, memory problems, and constant worry about the safety of parents, relatives, yourself and friends.
Treatment of FFA.
BWRT has a revolutionary new protocol that is designed for this exact issue called Abolishing Anxiety. What is known is that we all have a base driver that controls our instincts. There are 4 potential base drivers. We establish which one of the potential 4 base drivers a client has by asking a non-evasive questionnaire. Once the base driver is known a specific set of BWRT loops are carried out to eradicate the anxiety.
This therapy is usually completed in between 2 and 6 sessions. Click here for more information
This therapy, although it can take a little longer than BWRT to achieve a result is incredible at providing the root cause and eliminating it. Click here for more information
One example of how FFA can start is this. A child grows up in an environment where a parent is constantly telling them off or overly worrying about them. But, the telling off or worrying doesn’t give away to what will happen.
A child is told, don’t do go down that alley/park/road etc. – something terrible will happen. But, the something terrible is never explained or expanded on. This means the child makes up what it thinks the terrible thing is. The child then starts to believe that the’ something terrible’ could happen at any time. At this point the child grows into an adult that is worried about many things but not really sure what may or may not happen. For that person FFA develops because they find they are massively over sensitised to what may happen all the time!
Hypnoanalysis allows the client to trace back to those rules and then reframe them as an adult. Analysis has a very high success rate of overcoming and not having FFA returning.
This therapy is usually completed in between 5 and 12 sessions.
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