I thought it would be an appropriate month to write about addictions and the role hypnotherapy plays in helping to overcome them.
There is no one cause of addiction. There have been many studies on the subject citing genetic or other biological factors that may contribute to the condition, social, psychological, and environmental factors have also been shown to have a powerful influence on addiction.
Addiction can involve the use of a substance such as alcohol, inhalants, opioids (including pain killers), cocaine and nicotine, or behaviours like gambling or excessive use of the internet.
There is solid scientific evidence suggesting both addictive substances and addictive behaviour activates the brain pathways of reward and reinforcement producing a dopamine spike.
Dopamine is the culprit here – and the double edge sword is that we humans kinda like it. Dopamine affects our mood and things that are rewarding tend to make us feel good.
A distinguishing feature of addiction is that individuals continue the activity despite the physical or psychological harm it does. And typically, tolerance to the substance or behaviour increases as the body adapts to the presence of it.
Because addiction affects brain function, people who develop an addiction are usually unaware that their behaviour is causing problems, not just for them but for those around them also.
So how can addiction be treated?
Self-help (group meetings), Rehab, medication, talking therapy such as CBT, family support, detox, abstinence, mindfulness training, will power, hypnotherapy.
As addiction is primarily a mental health issue hypnotherapy should absolutely be considered for addiction treatment. There have been many studies on its effectiveness, the majority of which has shown very positive results.
However, contrary to popular believe, a hypnotherapist can not force a person to do something against their will. Hypnosis can only suggest that a person behave in a certain way by making the mind open to the behaviour and preparing it to make positive change, which is why hypnosis is often considered an alternative or supplemental therapy for addiction, albeit one that is extremely effective.
Gail Marra D.Hyp MNCH (Acc) LAPHP is a GHR registered Clinical Hypnotherapist accredited by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, National Register of Psychotherapists and Counsellors and the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council
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