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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Relaxation Techniques

12/04/2006

Question:

I have been dealing with mild anxiety and periods of mild depression since childhood. Right now it is a little worse than usual because of job-stress. Recently I purchased a couple of relaxation CDs as a tool to help me relax. I find that the ones that are based on trance-inducing/hypnosis techniques are very effective in putting me in a trance-like, relaxed state. The problem is, the effect doesn`t last, and in fact I usually feel worse, and more irritable and anxious, afterwards. If I use them in the evening I often have trouble falling asleep. Should I quit using these CDs, or does it take longer for potential benefits to show? Can it be harmful to experiment with these techniques without professional supervision?

Answer:

Most CD based programs are unlikely to be harmful, even if used without professional supervision.  However, as you noted, they are often unlikely to be helpful, too.  I would advise you to stop using the CDs if you are not getting the benefit you desire, and consider scheduling a few sessions with a therapist or a counselor.  You can learn techniques that are personalized to your situation and likely to be more beneficial.

Good Luck.

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Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati