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Hypnosis As An Approach to Insomnia

Insomnia, the feeling of inability to go to sleep or to stay asleep, is a pervasive clinical problem.

Research on the study of EEG patterns during hypnosis shows that many authors feel hypnosis is a waking phenomenon. According to Kroger WS, insomnia is one of the most pervasive complaints in family practice. There are many similarities between sleep and hypnosis. Historically, the term hypnosis derives from the Greek "hypnos" (to sleep). The subject might describe the experience as sleep-like. Some parallels exist in thought processes. Vivid dreams may occur in both insomnia and sleep states. Sleep and hypnosis are interchangeable; if the hypnotized subject is left alone, or if specific suggestions are given, he may pass into a natural sleep.

Insomnia sleep disorders can be divided into primary and secondary types. Primary disorders have an autonomous function in the central nervous system while secondary disorders can result from depression, pain, anxiety, lifestyle change, etc.

Most doctors probably recommend a pharmacological approach to insomnia consisting of sedatives and antidepressants, however secondary disorders are most likely to be improved by hypnotherapeutic techniques, which include progressive relaxation and ego-strengthening.

In dealing with insomnia, hypnosis can help by:

1. Focusing attention on problems that disrupt lifestyle

2. It is relaxing and can permit sleep induction

3. It alters the physician-patient relationship and permits new learning to occur

4. It allows for creative gaps to occur in which there is a shift of habit patterns

5. Hypnosis is an integral part of stress reduction and an adjunct to other forms of psychotherapy


Author: Dr. Donald C. Paterson

National Center for Biotechnology information


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