Does hypnotherapy work for addiction?

Posted by James Thomas

Drug and alcohol addiction.
How hypnotherapy helps you break the habit.

What’s an addiction?

An addiction is something that,  put simply,  has become out of control. In many cases, your addiction started off as something positive - a desire to run,  to lose weight,  to relax.

But it becomes an addiction when you no longer have control over what you’re doing, taking or using. 

It has a negative effect not just on you, but on your family, on your work, on those around you.

So,  how can hypnotherapy help with that?

It's all in the mind ...

It all starts with dopamine.

Dopamine release is triggered when you engage in activities you find pleasurable, such as eating chocolate or playing sports, and it teaches your brain what actions to repeat, and eventually, to crave.

Dopamine is a chemical that sends signals between brain cells.dopamine

It’s called the "feel-good hormone" and is associated with feelings of euphoria, bliss and happiness.

But dopamine has a more sinister side. Drugs such as cocaine, nicotine and heroin cause huge boosts in dopamine. The high you feel when you use drugs comes partly from this dopamine spike.

This is what makes you seek out those drugs again and again — even though they are harmful.

This “reward” the brain feels is the high that addicts look for time and time again.

Common addictions.

Beautiful young women enjoying a glass of wine after work at a bar.Alcohol addiction.

Drinking is a part of life for many people. When is it common in society, it can be hard to tell the difference between someone who likes to have a few drinks now and then and someone with a real problem.

Alcohol addiction can show itself in a variety of ways. The severity of the disease, how often someone drinks varies from person to person. Some people drink heavily all day, while others binge drink and then stay sober for a while. Regardless of how the addiction looks, someone typically has an alcohol addiction if they heavily rely on drinking.

Alcohol abuse creates a complex imbalance of dopamine in the brain. Over time, you have to drink more to get that dopamine hit – causing your body to crave more alcohol. That’s alcohol addiction.

Nicotine addiction.

Nicotine. The addictive ingredient in tobacco. When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine is rapidly absorbed by the lungs and taken to the brain.

You’re hooked. More than two thirds of Americans who tried smoking became dependent.

And our good friend dopamine? Nicotine helps release it so you, the smoker, feels good.

Heroin addiction.

Heroin causes the level of dopamine in the brain’s reward system to increase massively. Tests on animals have found a 200% increase in dopamine levels.

Cocaine addiction.

Cocaine meddles with the brain's use of dopamine to convey messages from one neuron (brain cell) to another. This means cocaine stops neurons turning off the dopamine, leaving the brain thinking it's being 'rewarded' unconditionally.

In animal experiments, cocaine caused dopamine levels to rise to more than three times the normal level.

Hypnotherapy for addiction.

With Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy I focus on two things:cocaine

(1). Stopping addictive behaviours

(2). Reducing the fear of relapsing


Working with you we look at changing your identity and beliefs.

What do I mean by that? Together we work on creating a positive identity of being healthy, in control, powerful and free.

In other words to end this habit you don’t have to stay the “addict” or “ an “alcoholic”. You’re the opposite.

Starting hypnotherapy for addiction.

Typically, I work with a client to look at their core beliefs: memories that make the person weak and fearful. We interrogate the years of feelings of failure, fear and hopelessness. 

What are we doing? We're chancing the way the brain thinks, feels and acts about these memories to stop the cravings for drugs and/or alcohol.

How does it work?

alcohol addictionBy working together we’re surrounding you with positive beliefs about being healthy, having the power to stay strong and in control.

Hypnosis works by helping you own these new ideas about yourself.

We’re creating a new, better you, both for now and the future. Let’s meet this new healthy, clean and powerful you. Free from addiction.

Here you have healthy relationships, doing work you love, living a healthy life and enjoying a powerful feeling of self-worth.

We’re replacing the old beliefs and habits with a new ones and a new healthy identity.

Addiction, hypnotherapy and cognitive behaviour. An example.

In the past if you saw your favourite pub, or a friend pouring a glass of wine, your brain would trigger emotions, needs, pleasure and cravings for alcohol. Get ready for the dopamine hit. In other words, you'd be struggling not to drink.

With hypnotherapy, we can actually re-wire your response, giving you new thoughts, feelings and actions. Your brain doesn't automatically respond to the old way because it now feels stronger an healthier.

So that what used to cause you cravings and a relapse, now actually reinforces why you don't drink.


James Thomas is a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist based in Lincolnshire. He runs The Gentle Mind Hypnotherapy Ltd.

He believes we are what we tell ourselves. That when we relax we are kinder to ourselves.

0778 756 3099
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Topics: Hypnotherapy, Addiction, Drugs, Alcohol

In a Nutshell



It means you can’t control what you’re doing, taking or using.


A chemical that tells your brain you’re having a good time. 

Heroin. Cocaine. Nicotine. Alcohol.

Bad mothers. They fool your brain into releasing dopamine, thinking you’re having a good time.

Hypnosis + addiction.

Gives you positive beliefs. Being healthy, staying strong and in control.

Hypnotherapy + addiction.

Rewires your brain. Stopping addictive behaviours, reducing relapses.

Addiction, hypnotherapy + cognitive behaviour.

Changes how you think, feel and act about an addictive substance.


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When we’re not ourselves we burn ourselves out. Physically and mentally. I want to help you be kind to yourself. Be a better version of yourself. In effect have a relaxed and gentle mind.