Hypnosis for Addiction — Does It Work?

Tentatively described as an altered state of consciousness involving electrochemical changes in brain activity, hypnosis seems to increase a person’s suggestibility and ability to recall previously forgotten events. Contrary to widespread belief, hypnotized people are not unconscious or sleeping. In fact, hypnosis creates a hyper-responsive, hyperactive mental state that greatly reduces the likelihood of spontaneous or random thoughts to interfere with what the hypnotist is suggesting to a hypnotized person.

Neuroscientists still can’t provide a good answer for the question, “How does hypnosis work?,” but they theorize it has something to do with suppressing the conscious, subjective mind by temporarily rendering it inactive. Neural correlates supporting the phenomenon of hypnosis remain a mystery. However, study after study has shown that allowing the more pliant, objective subconscious to emerge during hypnotherapy benefits people struggling with everything from smoking cessation and weight loss to substance addiction.
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A concrete example of how hypnosis works goes like this: If someone told you that you loved spinach, and you hate spinach, your conscious mind would immediately dismiss this distasteful suggestion. Under hypnosis, however, your highly subjective, resistant-to-suggestion conscious mind isn’t in control. Instead, your subconscious categorically considers and accepts what a hypnotherapist tells you, a suggestion later accessed by the patient.

A concrete example of how hypnosis works goes like this: If someone told you that you loved spinach, and you hate spinach, your conscious mind would immediately dismiss this distasteful suggestion. Under hypnosis, however, your highly subjective, resistant-to-suggestion conscious mind isn’t in control. Instead, your subconscious categorically considers and accepts what a hypnotherapist tells you, a suggestion later accessed by the patient.

  • Drugs and alcohol no longer appeal to you. You refuse to use drugs or drink alcohol from this moment on in your life.
  • Thinking about taking drugs or drinking makes you feel slightly nauseous and uncomfortable.
  • If you are feeling stressed and are fighting the urge to drink or do drugs, you will immediately imagine yourself standing beside a sparkling, flowing river rushing by you. That river is removing your cravings and anxiety and taking those unwanted feelings far, far away.

Hypnotherapy can be an effective tool for treating addictions as well as for relieving depression, panic disorder and chronic pain. However, only experienced, qualified hypnotherapists should perform hypnosis techniques on people seeking alternative therapies for addiction and other mental or physical problems.

Does Hypnosis Work for Everyone?

It is true that some people are more easily hypnotized than others, although the “why” behind this phenomenon isn’t well understood. Researchers have discovered that hypnotic responsiveness doesn’t depend on personality characteristics such as submissiveness or gullibility. Instead, hypnotically responsive people are people who tend to “lose” themselves in daily activities and hobbies, such as reading, drawing or playing a musical instrument.

In general, about 25 percent of the population is easily hypnotized, about 25 percent can be hypnotized if they develop a rapport with their hypnotherapist, and 45 percent of the population can only be hypnotized by skilled hypnotherapists. The remaining five percent simply can’t be hypnotized because they strongly resist the hypnotherapist’s suggestions.

If you are a long-term drug user who has tried other recovery programs without success, 12 Keys Rehab holds the answer to your addiction problems. To learn more about our personalized recovery programs and alternative treatment plans, contact our center today.

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