Are Mental Illnesses Hypnotic States?

By Dr. Pradeep K. Chadha MBBS. DCP. DPM. PG Diploma Psychotherapy Studies on January 24, 2018

Kevin was angry with his father for many years. When his father died his anger was still unresolved. Soon he became depressed. In that state of depression, he was focused on his experiences with his father.

Tracey could not drive on the motorways because it made her anxious. This issue had developed after she had had a few mishaps driving the car.  She had developed a phobia for driving on the motorways.

After a major assault while working in the prison, Joe did not want to go back to work. His whole life now revolved around the memories of the incident that he could not shift from his mind. Doctors said he was suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental illness in which the person has sleep disturbances, is alert to slight noise, has memories of the trauma repetitively and avoids anything that has to do with the traumatic experience.

Even a condition called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is about having obsessions that a person cannot shift from their mind. The person becomes focused on a particular thought that they cannot move away from.

Eating disorders like Anorexia or Bulimia are also about focusing on food or focusing on something to do with consumption of food.

The common factor in all these conditions is that the person who has them is unable to carry on their normal life activities. Their preoccupations bring them back to one particular thought that they cannot get rid of.  This is a stressful experience for them. It is a miserable existence. They are in a hypnotic state.

The angle that psychiatry takes on these conditions is that they are caused by a disturbance in the chemical or neurotransmitter systems in the body. This obviously warrants treatment with chemicals. This rationale is used to treat the above conditions with drugs that affect the mind.

The other angle of treatment is the approach to changing the behavior and thinking of the person who is suffering with these conditions.  This service is usually provided by psychologists.

Hypnosis is not very well understood by the general population and even mental health professionals. Most of the psychiatrists and psychologists do not any experience in hypnosis. As such, it is not looked at favourably by them as a tool of therapy.

Milton Erickson was a famous psychiatrist hypnotherapist. He had a simple definition of hypnosis. He described it as “focused attention”.  Whenever you are focusing your attention on anything- including when reading this article- you are in a state of hypnosis.  You will come out of this state when you have stopped reading this article.

Based on Erickson’s definition of hypnosis. Kevin , Tracey and Joe were unable to take themselves out of the focus they were giving to their thoughts in their respective mental illnesses.  They were in hypnotic  trance states. Even the person with OCD and the ones suffering with Anorexia were focused on one thought, either food or the process of consuming food.  They were hypnotized too. No one had put them in hypnosis. They had gone into the state of hypnosis spontaneously by their personal life experiences. They were suffering as a result.

Can there be a different approach to take these people out of their hypnotic states without medication?  That will be explained in a different article.

@Copyright 2017 by All Rights Reserved 

Featured Practitioner: Dr. Pradeep K. Chadha

Other Practitioners: Counselling Dublin 15

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