June 16, 2024


Health Lasts Longer

Calming Words Work Better Than Pills to Reduce Anxiety in Surgery Patients: Study

3 min read

It has been observed that patients expecting a surgery, tend to suffer from severe anxiety, and often end up receiving treatments to overcome their fear and ease the pain. A soothing conversation by physician and anesthesiologists is the first step to help the patient rid of anxiety that hits him just before the surgery. Thus, a working relationship between a physician and a patient can be helpful in convincing the latter to participate in choosing options for a healthy life and strongly influences the treatment results.

According to a study presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), conversational hypnosis is more likely to make patients comfortable prior to a surgery than commonly used medications, which means that a few calming words from a doctor just before an operation begins may be more beneficial than drugs in relieving the patient’s anxiety.

Conversational hypnosis

The study, led by Dr. Emmanual Boselli of Edouard Herriot Hospital in Lyons, France, reviewed 100 patients who were about to undergo a hand surgery. Of these, 50 patients underwent conversational hypnosis, where in they listened to the calming words by physicians while being given regional anesthesia. The remaining 50 patients received a medication used to treat anxiety before the induction of anesthesia.

An objective test – known as the analgesic/nociception index (ANI) – based on heart rate variability was used to assess the levels of relaxation in patients. The score stood at zero when patients were extremely anxious and stressed, while it was 100 when they were completely relaxed. Surprisingly, patients who underwent conversational hypnosis recorded an average ANI of 51 before and 78 after the process, whereas those who had medication exhibited 63 before and 70 after the medicine intake. Likewise, patients who received hypnosis showed the average comfort scale of 6.7 before and 9.3 after, while patients who had medication had a score of 7.8 before and 8.3 after.

“The anesthesiologist uses calm, positive words to divert the patient’s attention and help him or her feel more comfortable,” Boselli said. “It reflects a change in the way the physician interacts with the patient and takes just a few minutes,” he added.

According to the researchers, conversational hypnosis can be used prior to surgery in patients who need local or regional anesthesia. However, it can also be used in surgery patients before general anesthesia to decrease anxiety.

Changing patterns in anxiety treatment

With words showing more positive results than pills in reducing anxiety in surgery patients, chances of decreasing anxiety outside of the hospital setting might greatly increase. Anybody who is about to undergo a surgery will have anxious feelings, but focusing on ways to reduce anxiety without the use of medications can help the patient think more positively and reduce damaging levels of stress, prior to a surgery.

According to the study, conversational hypnosis may offer hope to 3.3 million American adults who suffer from anxiety disorders and can be very helpful in keeping anxiety patients calm and quiet. The psychotherapy session, also called cognitive behavior therapy, is especially beneficial for patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It brings a different perspective to ways of thinking, behaving and reacting to situations in a person.

Many people have been using a combination of medication and psychotherapy for regular mental illnesses. Counseling and professional help can treat anxiety in an effective way. The generalized anxiety disorder treatment centers are empathetic resources for patients needing therapists.

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