People ask us if EFT can help anxiety or excessive worrying all the time. Continuing research shows EFT to be very effective for working with anxiety. As an EFT coach I am very careful to find out if a client has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and is under treatment for it before I initiate working with them and if so, I ask permission to communicate with their provider. This last month I have had more requests for working with people complaining of this more than I can ever recall. When I train EFT practitioners to work with clients who feel anxious we may explore circumstances that can trigger these feelings, including the complexity of our high levels of stress-producing global issues, such as the global financial and economic disasters, housing foreclosures, and perhaps the fact that more and more research is showing EFT’s efficacy in healing worry. For the purpose of providing an educational perspective for terms and diagnoses that are used regarding worry when it becomes anxiety, I will review five types of anxiety disorders that people suffer from that may show up as feeling anxious. The first step to take if you find you have one of these conditions is to contact your doctor or therapist for more information and their recommendations.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) most often has an unknown cause, but I have seen that extremely stressful life events have triggered it and the ensuing diagnosis. Most people with GAD say they remember being anxious children. It occurs more often in women than in men. Symptoms include constant uncontrollable worry that is out of proportion to the situation. Fatigue, muscle tension, feeling on “edge”, sleep troubles, irritability, shortness of breath, stomach problems, heart racing, and sweating are among the most common complaints.
Panic Disorder is often experienced as an intense fear that happens without warning of any kind. For my clients that have had these attacks they explain to me that the most frightening aspect of this condition is that an unpredictable intense feeling can happen anytime, anywhere. I usually spend a lot of session time tapping to remove this fear of “it can happen again when I least expect it”. This is what I’ve called the “fear of the fear”. Many people describe panic attacks as feeling that they are having a heart attack. Some of the most common complaints are dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, or an upset stomach. The overall sense is that something awful is going to happen.
Social Anxiety is a worry, concern, and/or discomfort about being in social settings. What is most interesting about this disorder is that it is part of a normal childhood development phase that most children grow out of. People experience this fear to vastly differing degrees. It can be something very simple to overcome on one’s own or can become a debilitating condition that can greatly limit one’s ability to live an expansive joyful life. I find that many of my clients that have chronic illness or disease suffer from social anxiety and that it can become a subconscious reason for not getting better.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) often shows up as obsessive and recurring thoughts and/or actions. These cycles can interfere with your quality of life. Washing hands over and over again, checking whether you’ve locked the door at night ten times, or checking your stove to make sure you’ve turned it off again and again, are good examples. Daily rituals are a mainstay for many with OCD and do ease the tension, albeit temporarily. Sometimes it’s caused by a traumatic event such as abuse but I also find a connection with a general feeling of loss of control. In this category is compulsive hoarding, something I have seen not uncommonly.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) happens after a particular event or series of events that causes a person to feel as if they are in extreme danger, such as during sexual assaults, accidents, natural disasters and even anesthesia/surgeries for a child. The event that initiated the trauma resulting in PTSD may be re-lived over and over again as a vivid memory. One significant symptom is withdrawing from other people including people who are close and who can actually be of help . Sleep problems, being startled easily, emotional detachment, or feeling numb are also common struggles that those with PTSD suffer from and that I have seen helped with EFT.
To recap, intense feelings of anxiety that can become life altering and debilitating should be brought to the attention of a physician or therapist. Ongoing EFT research is continuing to be performed with regards to several of these conditions and studies are showing it to be a very effective method for relieving the suffering associated with these conditions. AT EFT Tapping Training workshops, working with individuals with anxiety is an important condition that we train students to work with effectively.