Can Hypnosis Help You Stay Sober After Addiction Treatment?
Guest post by Patrick Bailey.
The first step to overcoming addiction is often seeking treatment. However, holistic addiction treatment doesn’t end when you complete a substance abuse program. It’s something that you will need to continue to work on to prevent relapse. It’s important to use all the tools you have access to in your recovery journey. Some people find that hypnosis is one of the tools they need to stay clean and sober.
You may have heard about using hypnosis to help people to stop smoking, lose weight, or gain more confidence. Hypnosis can do all these things and more.
The Role of the Subconscious
It’s important to know that the subconscious doesn’t view things as good and bad. It doesn’t rely on logic. It isn’t able to identify a desire as good or bad. It simply knows when something is pleasurable or painful, and will go to great lengths to seek pleasurable experiences, even if they are followed by negative consequences.
According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, researchers showed men who were addicted to cocaine a video that included a short flash of cocaine-related photos. The flashes were so fast that they weren’t registered by the conscious mind, but they were registered in the subconscious parts of their brains.
MRI imaging showed that these quick flashes caused activity in the reward center of the brain. When this reward center is activated, the subconscious can create urges to use the drug.
When you enter hypnosis, you are in a state of heightened suggestibility. Hypnosis bypasses the conscious mind and implants suggestions into the subconscious. The conscious mind is bound by many rules and beliefs that are often rooted in the subconscious. It’s believed to make lasting changes, you must get beyond the conscious mind and change the subconscious beliefs and thought patterns.
Your conscious mind understands the consequences of addiction, and can easily decide that it’s not worth it. Despite these thoughts, you might still face an overwhelming desire or longing for your drug of choice. This doesn’t come from your logical mind, but deeper. It comes from your subconscious.
One of the tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous is that you must let go of old people, places, and things. Even if you do that, you might still encounter a place or situation that triggers thoughts of using. This is because you have a subconscious association with the situation or place and your drug use.
Changing Thoughts and Behavior Patterns with Hypnosis
Hypnosis only works if you want to follow the suggestions given. Someone under hypnosis will not follow suggestions if they have a strong moral objection to it, for example. Hypnosis is most effective when you want to change, but know you need some help to do so. There are many ways hypnosis can help you overcome addiction.
You may have started using drugs as a way to self-medicate to avoid painful feelings. Hypnosis is sometimes used alongside psychotherapy. This is known as hypnotherapy. Combining the two practices can help you work through deep-seated feelings and fears.
If you have experienced trauma, for example, hypnosis can help the therapist guide you through your feelings and help you find peace. If you suffer from a lack of confidence or feelings of inadequacy, hypnosis can help you change the beliefs about yourself that create these feelings.
In addition, hypnosis can help you break positive associations. Your subconscious might view drug use as a positive experience due to the initial pleasure you experience. Hypnosis can help change the way your subconscious thinks about using, so the thought of using substances might produce negative feelings instead of positive ones.
Another study about hypnosis discussed a woman who was addicted to intravenous heroin use, which involves using needles to inject heroin into a person’s body. For this woman, hypnosis created a negative association with the use of needles, making her physically ill at the thought of a needle injection. She had one instance of relapse, and the negative association was so strong, she had no desire to repeat the experience.
Other studies have found that Oxford study, among many others, shows that hypnosis can increase motivation. If you struggle to maintain attendance in support group meetings, work with a sponsor, or maintain positive habits, hypnosis might help. Subconscious suggestion can provide the motivation needed to stay on the right track and continue working on your recovery.
If you began using drugs to medicate pain or anxiety, hypnosis can help you find relief. Studies have shown that hypnosis can be effective in reducing pain, anxiety, and other conditions.
There are many ways hypnosis can help you stay in recovery. It’s a safe technique that can be used as a holistic treatment alone or along with other treatments or therapy. It can help you overcome subconscious associations and issues that can create a temptation to relapse, and it can help you work through physical and emotional issues that led you to drug use in the first place.
Dr. Liz has special certification in Addiction and Hypnosis. If you want some professional help to stay sober, I work with people all over the world. If you want a transformed life, grab your Free Consultation with me to get the deets on working together (the how, the when, the where, and the how much)!
Yours in health,
nih.gov – Subconscious Signals Can Trigger Brain’s Drug-Craving Centers
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – The Use of Hypnosis in the Treatment of Drug Addiction
academic.oup.com – Conscious Hypnosis as a Method for Patient Motivation in Cervical Headgear Wear — A Pilot Study
About the guest author
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. See more about him at http://patrickbaileys.com