Drug and alcohol addiction treatment comprises many elements aimed at helping individuals develop the skills and strategies they need to achieve sobriety and maintain a healthy lifestyle. These typically include individual and group therapy, family and/or marriage counseling, classes, support meetings, and follow-up care.
“Alternative therapies” also make the list, and can include everything from mindfulness to yoga. One additional complementary therapy with the potential to support the addiction treatment process? Hypnotherapy. Here’s a closer look at the role hypnosis can play in recovery.
About Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy
“Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is a trance-like state in which you have heightened focus and concentration. Hypnosis is usually done with the help of a therapist using verbal repetition and mental images.
When you’re under hypnosis, you usually feel calm and relaxed, and are more open to suggestions,” says the Mayo Clinic. Done under the guidance of a trained professional, hypnosis can lead to scientifically-backed changes in consciousness.
Many people mistakenly think hypnosis isn’t real. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, it can be used to help people control undesired behaviors as well as to cope better with pain and anxiety. Insomnia, smoking, and overeating are among the behaviors hypnosis has successfully been used to treat.
Hypnotherapy and Addiction Treatment
Hypnotherapy is also an evidence-based treatment for a number of psychological difficulties, including addiction. In fact, in helping the person being hypnotized become more passive, compliant and open, it is a natural fit for addiction treatment.
Explains Verywell Mind, “This relaxed and suggestible state can help people to get a different perspective on their addictive behaviors. What normally seems impossible — quitting a substance or behavior that is central to one’s existence — can seem achievable and desirable.”
While not everyone responds the same to hypnosis, it has been proven to be effective in helping some people develop the willpower and capacity to break free of certain behavior patterns — even when they return to the waking state.
“The hypnotic state decreases a person’s peripheral awareness, heightening attention to effectively alter the neurophysiological networks capable of rewiring certain patterns and conditioning. This means a person’s feelings and behaviors continue to be influenced even after they have come out of a hypnotic trance,” continued Verywell Mind of this phenomenon.
In addition to helping people better understand their addictions, it can also help patients be more likely to stay in a treatment program, attend meetings, and work with sponsors. In short: it can make patients more willing and amenable to various elements of the addiction treatment continuum.
Furthermore, hypnosis’s pain-relieving properties can also be used to mitigate the physical barriers to recovery, including symptoms like withdrawal, anxiety, muscle tension, spasms, and pain.
One last thing to keep in mind? Despite its potential, hypnosis is not a magic bullet. No single session will lead to an instant fix. Nor is it effective for everyone. However, it can be an effective tool that for some people can be used toward the process of addressing the complexities and challenges of addiction.
Leading St. Louis rehab center Harris House has been providing comprehensive addiction treatment programs for more than 50 years. Call us to learn about admissions today.