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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.

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