Antidepressants - Venlafaxine Withdrawal
by Malcolm Hulatt
Depression, relaxation and hypnotherapy
6.1 Depression, relaxation and hypnotherapy
The Mindfields College research (see booklet reference above) shows that depression is caused by inability to process concerns during normal dreaming sleep. This precipitates the need for longer and more frequent dreaming sleep sequences. Dreaming uses much energy. Therefore more dreaming leaves the patient tired. In the extreme, as in our case, almost a total lack of sleep for several weeks not only causes tiredness but also psychosis. This is referred to by Mindfields as like dreaming when awake and this was exactly how it was for us. Effective, good quality relaxation is therefore fundamental to breaking this cycle.
When the patient was first ill, it was recognised that there was a need for relaxation but tranquillisers were given temporarily to achieve this. They may have a short term benefit but they are not a sustainable long term solution and, if persisted with, can quickly build dependency. We didn’t persist with these. No one even explained about deep breathing or meditation let alone taught it. Repeated sessions of deep breathing were quickly effective in having a small but noticeable effect. However the real benefits came from hypnotherapy. Interestingly, the hospital outpatients’ department did have relaxation classes but they were never offered until requested. It was treated very much as a casual, unimportant piece of support. It didn’t seem to be ever considered as part of the treatment.
We sought out an Uncommon Knowledge trained counsellor who practised hypnotherapy with associated acupuncture. After just a few sessions the eyes looked more normal immediately after the session despite the medication being taken. However after a few weeks the counsellor was concerned that the effect was not sticking for longer then a couple of hours. She also felt that the illness was atypical of depression in that the patient had hopes and aspirations about the future which were not usual in severely depressed people. We were therefore recommended to a nutritionist to see if there might be anything else wrong. The nutritionist felt that her system as a whole was not functioning properly and recommended some supplements and a urine test described below. It was at this stage I realised we were being swamped by the drugs and needed to start to withdraw more quickly from them.
The hypnotherapy was continued right through until the patient was no longer taking the medication. As well as seeing the counsellor a hypnotherapy tape called Peaceful Moments (available from Uncommon Knowledge), was used once or twice a day. This daily tape session was very effective. The focused hypnotherapy employed by the counsellor was able to bring the patient into a fully relaxed state but the tapes were also extremely effective in providing good quality relaxation.