Skip to content

    Mental Health Center

    Font Size

    Presurgery Anxiety? Hypnosis May Help

    Easing Anxiety May Make for a Smoother, Less Painful Recovery

    Soothed by Hypnosis

    Hypnosis can be used for many purposes, such as weight loss and smoking cessation, notes Saadat.

    "For our study, we were looking to decrease anxiety," she says. "We [gave] them the suggestion of well-being and relaxation while they were in a trance."

    Patients who got caring attention got encouragement and attentive listening from one of Saadat's colleagues -- but no hypnosis.

    Next Steps

    Hypnosis was "effective" at treating presurgery anxiety, writes Saadat's team. They call for more studies to confirm their finding.

    Saadat and colleagues are already working on another study to see if presurgery hypnosis curbs pain, nausea, and vomiting after operations.

    Those results will "hopefully" be available in a year or so, says Saadat.

    Medication or Hypnosis?

    Saadat says she's often asked about calming anxious patients facing surgery with medications instead of hypnosis.

    "The answer that I always give is that first of all, most hospitals in the United States don't give medications to relieve anxiety routinely because there is no one there to monitor the patient," she says.

    "The other thing is that the medications that they use [are] very short acting, and it doesn't have any postoperative effect for the patient," Saadat continues.

    She says her team is working to extend antianxiety effects before, during, and after surgery.

    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    senior man eating a cake
    woman reading medicine warnings
    depressed young woman
    man with arms on table
    man cringing and covering ears

    WebMD Special Sections