Overcoming addiction from drugs or alcohol is a lifelong battle. Every day, individuals must fight against the urge to relapse. Recovery isn’t a one-time event, it’s something that people have to consciously pursue every single day. There are a number of treatment methods to achieve recovery, and many people are turning to hypnotherapy in their fight against addiction.
To many, hypnotherapy may seem like an unlikely option for addiction treatment, but it is actually a scientifically proven way to fight addiction. Every addiction is different, but understanding this treatment method is the first step in determining if hypnotherapy is the right treatment therapy for the individual case.
What is Hypnotherapy?
The human mind has an incredible ability to control the body when we focus and concentrate. Hypnotherapy is a treatment method that uses relaxation techniques to alter the unconscious mind in a positive way. During a state of hypnosis, the mind imprints on new unconscious commands and sensations.
During a hypnotherapy session, the therapist will use relaxation techniques that put the patient in a trance state of extreme suggestibility. It can be described as a state between asleep and awake, where the individual is aware of their surroundings but unable to consciously direct their focus. During this state, the unconscious mind is more pliable and open to suggestions.
There are two types of hypnotherapy commonly used to treat addiction, the first one being traditional hypnosis. This method is usually used first as it is easiest to implement. It involves giving direct commands to the patient during their trance state. An example of this would be “you no longer want to use drugs” or “you no longer desire to drink alcohol”. Some people find it difficult to accept these direct orders, which is when the second method is used.
The second method of hypnotherapy is Ericksonian hypnosis. This method still uses the same trance state technique but uses suggestions and ideas instead of direct commands. People who are very analytical often struggle with traditional hypnosis, but do very well with the Ericksonian method. The simple suggestions that the therapist may use during the session are things like “doesn’t drinking make you sick to your stomach?” or “aren’t those drugs are harming your body?”. These allusions get the mind to react negatively to a situation.
Hypnotherapy and Addiction
With addiction being primarily a mental health concern, hypnosis can be an extremely effective treatment tool. Several studies have shown just how successful hypnotherapy can be for those struggling with addiction. Hypnotherapy should not be used as a singular method for addiction treatment, but instead as a powerful support tool for other rehabilitation techniques.
Hypnotherapy helps treat addiction and increase success rates of treatment by:
- Easing withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal side effects can be extremely uncomfortable and sometimes unmanageable. Unfortunately, many people find them so uncomfortable that they continue to use in an effort to ease them. Hypnosis can help alleviate the severity of these effects to make them more manageable.
- Helps soothe the physical and mental pain. Many addictions start due to individuals attempting to self-medicate a variety of physical and mental pains. Hypnotherapy aids in decreasing these symptoms in addition to traditional pain management.
- Changing addictive behaviors. Behavioral adjusting is often necessary to overcome addiction. Hypnotherapy works on the unconscious to change these deep-rooted behaviors at their core.
- Strengthens mental health and a stronger balance of emotions. Depression and anxiety are common among those battling addiction. Focusing hypnotherapy treatment sessions on this can help treat these co-occurring disorders, making it easier for a person to stay strong and 100% focused on recovery.
Hypnotherapy offers very real benefits to the fight against addiction. Just like every other treatment method, it is best to be educated and fully understand it before committing. With the full commitment and dedication, hypnotherapy serves as an effective tool to overcome drug and alcohol addiction.