Addiction is a physical and/or psychological dependence on a chemical substance.
When the drug upon which an individual is dependent is suddenly removed, it may cause physical discomfort e.g. nausea, headaches, and other aches and pains. In contrast, psychological dependency is a dependency of the mind, and leads to psychological withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, irritability, insomnia, depression etc.
According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), “physical dependence is not the primary concern because, first, even the more severe withdrawal symptoms of heroin and alcohol addiction can be managed with appropriate medications. Secondly, and more important, many of the most addicting and dangerous drugs do not even produce very severe physical symptoms upon withdrawal. Crack cocaine and methamphetamine are clear examples. Both are highly addicting, but stopping their use produces very few physical withdrawal symptoms. What does matter is whether or not a drug causes what we know to be the essence of addiction: compulsive craving, seeking, and use of drugs that persist even in the face of negative health and social consequences.”
Conventional counselling based on Twelve Step Programmes can be successful, but according to most statistics their success rate is only about 22 percent. However, many studies show that using hypnotherapy in addition results in up to 87 percent success.
People become addicted for a reason. They turn to drugs to relax, to escape from an unpleasant reality, to relieve pain, to energise themselves, to bond with friends, or to give them a little treat at the end of the day. The purpose that underlies the addiction is not bad. Everyone needs to relax once in a while. Everyone needs a treat sometimes. People need to feel independent and they also need to feel a part of a group. People sometimes need an escape.
While these needs are natural and normal, the addict’s way of taking care of them is unhealthy. By understanding the underlying and often hidden reasons for their behaviour addicts are able to replace old habits with new and healthier ways to relax, unwind or whatever it is that they need to change.
Hypnosis can be used effectively to reinforce behavioural changes. It can be used to help people with a range of issues from high stress and low self-esteem to motivation and self-improvement. Hypnosis can be very useful in addiction treatment as individuals strive to learn new behavioural responses and to cope with the stresses of withdrawal and the development of a life free from their addictions.