When it comes to hypnosis for addiction, most people think about its effectiveness when used to quit smoking.
But in the same way hypnosis can be used for smoking cessation, it can also be used to help people overcome a variety of addictions.
According to Medical News Today, an addiction is “a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance” despite the fact that it may be causing you harm.
You can be addicted to lots of different things. Someone who is unable to stop taking drugs, alcohol, or nicotine, for example, has a substance dependence. Someone who is unable to stop eating or gambling has a behavioral addiction.
If you have an addiction, by definition you are unable to control your use of a substance or your unhelpful behavior, because you believe you need these things to help you cope.
Hypnosis For Addiction: The Role Of Hypnotherapy
Where addiction is concerned, hypnotherapy involves the use of hypnosis to relax the client, to help them access their unconscious mind, and to guide them away from harmful behaviors and towards more positive and helpful ones.
When you’re in a hypnotic trance, you naturally become more open to suggestions. And that means the hypnotist can help you access your internal resources.
It’s a chance to let yourself go, use your imagination, and even explore fantasies.
There’s also an opportunity (e.g. using revivification) for you to relive past memories, going back to a time when you didn’t need the addiction to get you through.
These techniques let you see your addiction from a different perspective. And if you’re suggestible, and willing to try hypnosis, it’s possible that it can help you change your behavior, even if it’s a long-standing issue.
In our article, Hypnosis For Weight Loss: A Complete Guide To The 5 Key Reasons People Gain Weight & The Techniques You Can Use to Overcome Them ,master hypnotist Igor Ledochowski explains 5 key areas that need to be addressed when it comes to successfully using hypnosis for weight loss and food addiction.
Evidence exists that hypnosis has the power to help rewire neurological networks, physically changing the brain through repetition and exposure to keywords and phrases.
And that also means it’s more likely that you’ll be able to sustain your new behavior patterns even after the session is over. Although more than one session may be needed to achieve this.
How Hypnosis Can Help With Different Forms Of Addiction
Studies show that hypnosis is a powerful force in the overcoming of drug addiction because it enables the therapist to:
When hypnosis is combined with other more traditional treatments, the success rate for beating addiction is very encouraging.
In one study with heroin addicts, 100% of participants who completed the treatment remained clean after 6 months, while 78% remained clean after 2 years. Results like this are possible because of the nature of hypnosis.
Typically, a hypnotherapist might use hypnosis in order to:
1. Help ease withdrawal symptoms to aid recovery
Implant suggestions to create an aversion to unwanted behaviors and bypass the conscious mind to access innate resources hidden deep within the client’s unconscious.
2. Help the client use these powerful internal resources and previous successes to conquer their addiction
During the work with a hypnotherapist, the client is in control, and can’t be made to do anything they would not normally do, including anything illegal, immoral, or disturbing.
But what hypnosis will enable them to do is to break down barriers that are preventing them from making changes in their life.
And so, for people who asked “does hypnosis for addiction work”, they already get to recognize the potential of hypnosis as a complementary treatment to a painstaking addiction they’ve been battling for a long time.
Another alternative is self-hypnosis.
With self-hypnosis, you’re totally in control. There’s no outside person leading you in one direction or another.
That might seem preferable in one way, but it also means that you have to be able to make use of the technique.
On top of knowing how to do self-hypnosis, you need somewhere quiet and peaceful where you can practice.
Then, try to get as relaxed as possible. Focus on your breathing and repeat positive suggestions aimed at changing the behavior you want to change.
This is a very brief summary of self-hypnosis and you can find out more by checking out the infographic below:
Will Hypnosis Help You Change Your Behavior?
The word “addiction” refers to long-term ingrained behavior, and changing that kind of behavior can be difficult.
Imagine, for example, trying to stop drinking when you keep getting invited to parties, or at Christmas time or New Year’s. It can be impossible to avoid situations where alcohol is on offer.
The other thing to remember is that nothing else around you is going to change. You’re still going to be doing the same kind of work, mixing with the same people, and worrying about the same concerns.
Even though you may have decided to try to curb your addiction, the rest of the world will continue to carry on just as before.
That’s where hypnosis could help. A post-hypnotic suggestion could be given during a hypnotic trance, to be acted upon at a later time when you’re out of hypnosis.
A post-hypnotic suggestion is a powerful instruction implanted in your unconscious mind to get you to act a certain way.
It’ll be a feeling or overwhelming urge to complete some tasks.
For someone trying to give up smoking, the suggestion might be something like this:
“Every time you see a stop sign when driving, you will take a deep breath and realize how good the clean air feels in your lungs as you stop the car.”
These types of suggestions can work for a number of reasons. In the first place, they define a clear behavior that you want the person to take. In this case, the behavior is breathing in clean air. It’s also coupled with the feeling of the clean air filling the lungs.
Another reason why post-hypnotic suggestions work is that they attach the behavior to a trigger.
When the person sees, hears or feels the trigger, the new behavior automatically kicks in.
Another name for this trigger is cause and effect, so that when a certain thing happens then something else will follow. So for a man who wants to feel confident around women, an appropriate trigger would be:
“Whenever you see an attractive woman, you’ll smile and radiate confidence.”
Most professionals agree that a number of factors need to be in place in order to manage an addiction successfully, such as:
- An organized program of addiction treatment, including hypnosis and other traditional therapies
- A good support structure to help you adjust and cope in the long term
The ability to attend as many sessions as necessary to get the addiction under control.
Self-hypnosis can provide useful top-ups in between sessions, helping you to stay calm and focus your mind on other things.
There are other possibilities available as well, and this next section demonstrates just how versatile hypnosis can be when it comes to kicking the habit.
>>Related Article: 11 Secrets To Creating A Powerful Post Hypnotic Suggestion
Woman Uses Hypnosis To Beat Cocaine Addiction
The authors in the above study concluded that the female’s recovery was extraordinary for two reasons:
1. She used only hypnosis and no other therapy or intervention
2. She had no support network to fall back on
So hypnosis can be used to overcome addictions, although this is an isolated example.
It may be that not everyone has the willpower and strength of mind to be able to do what she did. But that’s what hypnotherapy and related treatments are for, after all.
Even so, why are addictions so difficult to break? And does hypnosis for addiction really work?
Addictions trigger your brain’s reward system which then sends out feel-good hormones such as dopamine.
Once triggered, it feels so good that you want to do it again, and again, and again. This can lead to the reward system being overstimulated, producing a “high”.
Gradually, your brain adjusts to what’s going on and sends out less dopamine, building tolerance in the addict. But they want to feel that same depth of pleasure that a high produces, which they can only enjoy by exposure to more of the substance or activity.
Certain substances such as drugs or alcohol can cause changes in the brain if taken over a long enough period.
All addictions have the potential to make the addict feel isolated and as if they’re living on the fringes of society. Such feelings can eventually lead to increased anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, aggression, and depression.
Back in 1972, an article appeared in the Journal of the National Medical Association that featured research done on the use of hypnosis to treat drug addiction.
Using hypnosis, a hypnotherapist can help sufferers of addiction get back their energy and access resources that will enable them to enjoy life and get a natural high from things that won’t do them any harm.
And since hypnosis is totally safe, non-invasive and non-addictive, it is a powerful weapon against addiction that can change and save lives.