Drug and alcohol addiction.
How hypnotherapy helps you break the habit.
What’s an addiction?
An addiction is defined as when you no longer have control over what you’re doing, taking or using.
You don’t care how much time or money is spent or how it affects your family. Your behaviour is out of control.
Typically you lie, cheat or steal. You often end up with health and money problems.
It all starts with dopamine.
Dopamine is a chemical that sends signals between brain cells.
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.
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 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.
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.
You guessed it. Alcohol causes dopamine to be released. But, over time, you have to drink more to get that dopamine hit – causing your body to crave more alcohol. That’s alcohol addiction.
Hypnotherapy for addiction.
With Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy I focus on two things:
(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?
By 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.