Hypnotherapy for Addiction

Hypnosis for addiction in BradentonPsychology Today

Addiction is complicated. Assessment of its causes are not set in stone, despite advancements in modern medicine and science.  When individuals participate in a pleasurable activity, but cannot stop doing it, despite the detriment of finances, family, work, etc., where health and well- being suffer, this is an addiction. An individual who drinks alcohol and alienates family, friends, and loses jobs, but continues to drink alcohol, likely is addicted. In the same way, an individual who gambles uncontrollably and spends his or her life savings is probably addicted. Many people suffer from food addictions, and cannot stop eating sugar and/or other foods once they start. Fortunately,  Hypnotherapy is an alternative, natural, evidence based treatment for addictions with no negative side effects.

The word addiction is in white all capital letters against a black background

Addiction is real

In an addiction,  the brain has been reprogrammed to associate the high from compulsive behavior with the feelings of reward and pleasure, and the anticipation of more reward.  Negative consequences of the behavior are not considered.

Healthy activities are eventually discarded with addiction progression. Brain imaging techniques, such as positron emissions scans and magnetic resonance imaging show the reward centers of the addicted brain are corrupted by long term abuse.

Emotional stress is at the root of addictive behavior. Issues that are buried within a person’s subconscious mind are too overwhelming to address. In order to ease these emotions, and make them go away, a sense of well being is found in excesses–making an expensive bet, a drunken night out, or binge eating junk foods, for example.

According to Sinha and Jastrebeff, 2013, emotional stress is a key factor in addiction.  Poor coping skills and emotional stress impact addiction by increasing the tendency for self-medication. Finding ways to manage emotional stress is paramount.

Stress hormones like cortisol are increased when stressful events occur. The fight or flight response sets in, and the muscles are readied for action. Chronic emotional stress increases the risk for tension headaches,  depression,  colds and influenza.

Early childhood trauma makes individuals more vulnerable later in life, according to a scientific study by Keating, in 2017. Early adversity alters genetics, causing people to live in a constant state of emergency.

Work-related stress can also contribute to chronic emotional stress. Individuals who believe they don’t have control in their jobs are susceptible to depression and anxiety (Marmot, 2006). While the stressful emotional event is not harmful in itself, the person’s reaction to the event is what matters. When individuals view a situation differently, for example, by thinking it’s not a huge problem, emotional stress is reduced.

Individuals can also cope with stress by drinking alcohol excessively, chain smoking, gambling uncontrollably or binge eating.  These behaviors provide a sense of ease and comfort for the addict.

Hypnotherapy combines the process of therapy with Hypnosis, and can be used to treat a variety of psychological conditions. Hypnotherapy is an evidenced-based treatment for addictions that access the unconscious mind, where habits and addictions are housed. Ideally, Hypnotherapy is completed by a Psychologist or credentialed professional with permission of the client or patient.