In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote:
“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
Fitzgerald didn’t come up with that quote entirely on his own. It was a variation of a saying that was popular during his lifetime.
Nevertheless, the meaning behind the words carries a lot of truth. The demon drink, as it’s often called, can totally destroy your life.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to reverse the process. And one of those things is hypnotherapy for alcohol use disorder.
There’s more information on how that works in the article below. But why is it that alcohol can have such a negative impact on your life?
Some people believe that alcohol is a stimulant, able to increase your heart rate, boost your energy and remove your inhibitions. Yet that’s only part of the story.
Because alcohol is mainly a depressant, slowing down your body as well as slowing down all of its functions.
The way it affects you depends on a number of different factors, such as how much you drink, how quickly you drink it and your particular tolerance to alcohol.
It’s also true that moderate consumption of alcohol might result in some health benefits. According to this Mayo Clinic article, small amounts can reduce the risk of developing heart disease and lower your chances of contracting diabetes.
The problem is with those terms “moderate” and “small”, which are by their very nature general and non-specific. What’s small or moderate for a 95-pound female won’t be the same for a 200-pound male, for example.
As a depressant, alcohol dulls the areas of your brain that control how your body works. This NI Direct article states that the more alcohol you consume, the more likely it will be to affect your thoughts and your actions.
You’ll also find it harder to make decisions and to stay in control. And because you’re not in control, you can experience mood swings and won’t behave like your usual self, which can result in your being depressed or even aggressive.
Initially, however, a drink of alcohol can give you a buzz, as they say. The trouble is that one drink is often not enough.
And that’s when things start to become a lot more serious.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
If you struggle to manage your intake of alcohol on a regular basis, you may be suffering from alcohol use disorder or AUD.
Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition that refers to a person’s inability to control their alcohol use. It’s a sort of all-inclusive term that applies to alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence and alcohol addiction, what you might informally call alcoholism.
Research shows that AUD is actually a brain disorder which ranges from mild to severe. Alcohol changes the way your brain receives messages and sends them back out again. It’s a powerful drug that leaves you vulnerable and that makes it difficult to kick.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the likelihood of developing AUD is linked to the amount you drink, how often and how quickly. The risks of AUD leading to heavy or binge drinking include the following:
- Drinking problems in family history – genetics can determine your disposition to become a heavy drinker. It may also be influenced by your parents’ drinking habits and by other factors in your environment.
- Early age drinking – studies show that people who start drinking before the age of 15 are far more likely to develop AUD, while the risk is even higher for females.
- Other mental health problems – people who suffer from severe anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or ADHD are at increased risk of developing AUD. The same is true for people with a history of childhood trauma.
As you can see, there’s mounting proof that where drinking alcohol is concerned, the negatives outweigh the positives by an enormous margin. So what about having a quick drink to calm the nerves, before an important or seriously tense event?
It’s true that a drink or two may help to reduce your anxiety at that particular moment in time. But there is also a downside.
When the effect wears off, the feelings come back again, and they usually come back with a vengeance. Then you need even more alcohol to suppress them again, and the cycle goes on and gradually escalates.
If you are worried about the amount of alcohol you or someone you know is consuming on a regular basis, it might be time to step back and examine what’s happening. One way to do that is by checking your symptoms against the extensive list below.
The Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorder
You can decide on whether an alcohol issue is mild, moderate or severe depending on how many of these symptoms you experience.
1. Unable to limit your intake of alcohol
2. Unable to cut down on the amount or frequency of alcohol you drink
3. Constantly craving a drink of alcohol
4. Spending more and more time either obtaining alcohol, drinking alcohol or recovering from its effects
5. Drinking so much that it’s affecting your work and your home environment
6. Finding excuses to drink rather than engaging in social activities or hobbies
7. Carrying on drinking despite the impact it’s having on your health and relationships
8. Drinking in dangerous situations such as while working or driving
9. Finding the need to drink more and more alcohol to get the same buzz or stimulation
10. Feeling the effects of withdrawal (nauseous, sweating or shaking) even when you aren’t drinking
The definition of alcohol use disorder is meant to include times when you are intoxicated as well as any withdrawal periods.
Intoxication is measured by the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. The higher the concentration of alcohol in the blood, the greater the chance that you will experience adverse effects, such as being unable to make decisions or having problems focusing or concentrating.
Too much alcohol can result in poor coordination, behaving inappropriately, possible slurred speech and lapses in memory. Extremely high levels of alcohol in the bloodstream can even lead to coma, brain damage and death.
Withdrawal refers to the way your body has to readjust itself when the effects of the alcohol gradually wear off. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, withdrawal effects can occur in anything from several hours to several days later.
If you experience withdrawal symptoms, you can expect to notice some or all of the following:
- Problems sleeping
- Increased heart rate
The more severe the withdrawal, the more likely it is to lead to a possible seizure. The effects can be debilitating enough to prevent you from working or from functioning normally in any situation.
That gives you a good idea of some of the harmful effects alcohol can lead to. But what can you do to counteract them?
How Hypnotherapy Can Help You Deal With AUD
The Roman poet Ovid lived from approximately 43 BC to 18 AD, some 2000 odd years ago. But alcohol abuse was an issue even back then.
He’s been quoted as saying that “there is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.” So instead of reaching for a drink or two, just take a short nap, which according to him will be of just as much benefit.
And if that doesn’t work, you should consider trying hypnotherapy. It’s been proven to be highly effective, especially when combined with other therapies such as CBT.
Why is hypnotherapy such a powerful weapon against alcohol use disorder? It has to do with the nature of AUD, which is, of course, a form of addiction.
Wherever there is an addiction, you will usually find a number of underlying issues. Addictions don’t simply develop out of thin air. There are always events that led up to them.
Those events are related to experiences in a person’s past, possibly trauma or other significant incidents that have caused stress to build up over time. Eventually the stress gets too much and you need to find some way of dealing with it.
Some people turn to drugs, others to alcohol, still more to actions such as self-harming. But the underlying issues are still there, eating away, and nothing gets resolved.
Hypnosis has a long and successful track record of helping people cope with and manage their addictions. That’s because it makes it possible for you to tap into your unconscious mind, the part of your brain that normally works away in the background taking care of you.
The thing about the unconscious mind is that it does whatever it thinks you want it to do. If you can convince it that you don’t need alcohol to be happy, then it will help you achieve that objective.
>> If you’re interested in hypnotherapy or want to improve your practice, check out our live and online hypnosis training events.
What To Expect During An Alcohol Use Disorder Hypnotherapy Session
The hypnotherapist will work with you to help you change the way you think and behave by using techniques such as positive suggestion. You enter a hypnotic state where you feel deeply relaxed and are able to shut out the everyday world.
In this completely natural state, your unconscious mind is more open to suggestions, which are usually tailored to meet your specific requirements. For alcohol addiction, that might involve changing the way you see alcohol, changing the way you act around alcohol and helping you find other ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
There will be certain things that trigger your desire for alcohol and that make you want to satisfy your craving. The hypnotist will help you identify those triggers and give you techniques you can use to reduce the craving or eliminate it altogether.
A typical session might go something like this:
1. You’ll discuss what you want to achieve with your therapist, whether it’s to cut down your drinking, to stop binge drinking or to quit drinking completely.
2. Your hypnotherapist will explain what will happen to make sure you understand, and to make sure you feel comfortable.
3. They will then guide you into a hypnotic trance state where you’ll be awake but feeling deeply relaxed. You may be asked to focus on your breathing or to close your eyes and imagine a favorite place.
4. When you’re fully relaxed, you’ll be prompted to recall specific occasions involving alcohol that were positive, such as times when you felt good but hadn’t had a drink. Or times when you were in a stressful situation and resolved it without resorting to alcohol.
5. You might also be asked to look ahead to your future self and imagine a time when you are able to survive perfectly well without alcohol and when you have eliminated your dependence on alcohol completely.
6. Then you will be brought back out of your hypnotic trance to a normal waking state, at which point most people feel refreshed, rejuvenated and more relaxed than they can ever remember.
Your hypnotherapist will probably also teach you how to do self-hypnosis so you can use it to keep yourself calm and focused in between sessions. Everything you undergo in a hypnosis session with a hypnotherapist can be applied equally well during your own self-hypnosis sessions.
This has the added bonus of letting you enjoy the benefits of hypnosis without the inconvenience of having to travel to and from a hypnotherapist’s office, which for many people may be a long way away from their homes.
Research shows that self-hypnosis is an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety as well as helping you to avoid alcohol. Studies suggest that self-hypnosis works better if you’ve already undergone a session with a professional hypnotherapist.
Find out more about how easy it is to hypnotize yourself whenever you need to de-stress and get rid of your anxieties by reading this Hypnosis Training Academy article:
The Benefits Of Hypnotherapy For Treating AUD
As mentioned above, hypnotherapy has a proven track record for helping people overcome addictions. Where AUD is concerned, the use of hypnosis can help in a couple of unique ways:
1. It helps ease withdrawal symptoms to aid recovery – the hypnotherapist can implant suggestions that will discourage you from unwanted behaviors and encourage helpful ones.
2. It helps tap into your own internal resources to beat the addiction – the hypnotherapist will help you to break down any barriers that are preventing you from making changes in your life.
A recent study looked at an AUD inpatient program for 31 adults. They were assigned to two groups, one receiving their usual motivational interview therapy and the other hypnotherapy.
The hypnotherapy group was asked to visualize themselves overcoming their urges to drink alcohol in various situations, such as:
- When a stressful situation makes them want to reach for a drink
- When passing a liquor store and choosing not to go in
- When refusing a drink at a social event or party
Researchers followed up the study one year later and were amazed at the results:
- All those who responded stated a reduction in alcohol use
- Subjects in the hypnotherapy group stated they experienced less emotional distress
- Several subjects from both groups claimed total abstinence from alcohol
It’s a well-known fact that hypnotherapy is a bona fide treatment for a wide range of conditions including:
- Pain management
- Fighting phobias
- Overcoming anxiety
- Kicking compulsive behaviors
- Breaking bad habits
- Managing weight
- Side effects from cancer treatment
Hypnotherapy’s benefits include its ability to help you deal with any mental health issues. For example, if you use alcohol in order to cope with stress, anxiety or depression, then hypnotherapy can help you address those problems in a more effective and much safer way.
It’s also true that hypnosis is a powerful technique for helping you make behavioral changes, thanks to its ability to communicate with your unconscious mind. So it can be used to enable you to deal with your drinking habit directly, to cope with potential withdrawal symptoms and to manage any physical or psychological side effects.
Alcohol use disorder is a general term for alcoholism, binge drinking and other forms of alcohol abuse.
It’s a medical condition, a brain disorder that makes it difficult to control your alcohol intake. The condition’s effects can range from mild to severe and can change how your brain sends and receives messages.
Hypnotherapy lets you communicate with your unconscious mind so that you can make subtle changes to your lifestyle from the inside out.
It refers to using hypnosis in therapy and is one of the fastest and safest ways to break bad habits and battle addictions of any kind.
You’re more likely to develop AUD if there’s a history of drinking problems in your family, if you started drinking at an early age or if you suffer from mental health issues.
Symptoms include drinking too much, excessive craving of alcohol, constantly thinking about drinking or acquiring alcohol, as well as suffering withdrawal effects even when you’re not drinking.
You might also be more anxious more often, have difficulty sleeping, have an increased heart rate or experience restlessness.
Hypnotherapy helps you relax so you can address your problems calmly and efficiently, using positive and targeted suggestions designed to let you overcome your dependence on alcohol.
You can make use of self-hypnosis techniques between sessions whenever you need to refocus your efforts on what you’re trying to achieve.
However you experience hypnosis, it’s nice to know that hypnotherapy is a powerful weapon in the fight against alcohol use disorder.
>> If you’re interested in hypnotherapy or want to improve your practice, check out our live and online hypnosis training events.
Want to know more about hypnotherapy, but not sure what certification program is the right choice for you? Book a DISCOVERY CALL today to learn more about Hypnosis Training Academy’s hypnotherapy programs.