The primary cause of sleeplessness in half of insomnia patients is stress-related anxiety, highlighting a need for effective treatments for anxiety disorders. Though some anxiety treatments are medicinal, with different medications for stress and panic disorders, depression, and social phobia, they are often addictive with moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. In addition, their positive effects have not been shown to persist after discontinuation. There are, however, a number of anxiety treatments which work by using the body’s physical processes to relieve the symptoms of these conditions at their source: the autonomic nervous system.
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Anxiety disorders are a cluster of different conditions, including depression, social phobias, and panic attacks, that manifest through recurring thoughts or concerns and physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness, or rapid heartbeat. Anxiety treatments range from therapy to prescription medications.
While several non-pharmacological treatments for anxiety have shown long-term efficacy, the positive effects of prescription anxiety treatments do not persist after discontinuing their use. However, studies have demonstrated that relaxation therapy, both on its own and alongside medications, can be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders that produces a long-lasting reduction in symptoms.
Relaxation therapy, in a variety of forms, can be an effective treatment for anxiety, as well as a supplement to other anxiety treatments such as medication.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the gold-standard for measuring the effectiveness of anxiety treatments. As anxiety increases, the heart beats faster and with a more steady rhythm. During relaxation, the heartbeat slows and beats with a more varied rhythm according to the body’s changing need for oxygenation. By focusing on one’s breathing in a 5-seconds-in, 5-seconds-out pattern, HRV can be increased alongside a reduction in physical symptoms of anxiety.
Mindfulness, in its clinical form, describes “metacognitive capacity”--an individual’s relationship with their own thinking. Studies have shown that engaging in meditative practices that focus one’s thoughts on the present, rather than future or past events which can cause stress, not only reduces stress in the short-term but also provides a long-term resilience to the incursion of stressful thoughts. Similarly, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) works by recognizing and identifying stress-inducing thoughts (“I will not be able to sleep tonight.”) and replacing them with more amenable, open-ended thoughts (“I am having trouble sleeping tonight, but I will fall asleep soon.”). Even this reframing of the language with which we talk about ourselves and the world around us has been shown to greatly reduce anxiety-caused sleeplessness.
Guided imagery is another useful technique that has been used as a treatment for anxiety disorders. By listening to a description of a safe, relaxing place, the mental space required for ruminative thoughts is taken up by, for example, thoughts of a warm day at the beach. The dissonance between the current, stressful environment and the imagined, relaxing environment has been shown to greatly decrease stress. Similarly, “autogenic training,” derived from clinical hypnosis, guides the patient through progressive muscle relaxation and tries to induce comforting sensations like warmth or heaviness, with a similar effect to guided imagery.
These different relaxation techniques are all clinically proven methods of reducing anxiety that you can try at home. In the short-term, they are highly effective for treating “state-based anxiety,” wherein specific conditions, such as being in a crowded public place, produce physical symptoms of anxiety. Over time, however, practice with them can cause a reduction in the average level of anxiety an individual feels regardless of environmental conditions, also known as “trait-based” anxiety.
The same features that Pzizz uses to help people with insomnia double as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders. Our researchers survey work in the fields of neuroscience, psychophysiology, and psychoacoustics to determine how music and audio narration can help to relax the mind and offer a natural treatment for the heightened activity of the sympathetic nervous system — stress — that keeps people from sleeping.
The musical dreamscapes which form the core of the Pzizz product work by using rhythms which help induce a 5-seconds-in, 5-seconds-out breathing pattern shown in clinical studies to increase heart rate variability and decrease symptoms of anxiety. Pzizz also has dozens of narrations that use guided meditation and autogenic training to replace maladaptive thoughts with images more amenable to relaxation. There are even short gratitude and mindfulness exercises that aim to turn the relaxed state produced by Pzizz into long-term relief from anxiety and other stress-related conditions.
If you need treatment for anxiety disorders like depression, panic attacks, or social phobias, consider using Pzizz. When you feel your anxiety acting up, just put on Pzizz, close your eyes, and relax.
Download for a FREE 7-DAY TRIAL and discover that Pzizz can change your life.