The main addictions hypnotherapy can help with are:
- Sex and Pornography
- Behavioural Problems
I am more powerful than the combined armies of the world; I have destroyed more men than all the wars of the nation; I have caused millions of accidents and wrecked more homes than all of the floods, tornadoes and hurricanes put together; I am the world’s slickest thief. I steal billions each year. I find my victims among the rich and poor alike, the young and old, the strong and the weak; I loom up to such proportions that I cast a shadow over every field of labour; I am relentless, insidious, unpredictable; I am everywhere – in the home, on the street, in the factory, in the office, on the sea and in the air; I bring sickness, poverty and death; I give nothing and take all; I am your worst enemy; I am addiction.
Hypnotherapy has a proven track record in understanding and stopping addictive behaviour.
There is currently a world-wide epidemic of addictions blighting the lives of millions with disastrous consequences. For example the United States government reported in 2008 that 13 million people over the age of 12 have used methamphetamines and 529,000 of those are regular users. The skill of the hypnotherapist is essential in finding the most successful ways of rapidly breaking the patterns of addiction.
Significantly more methadone addicts quit with hypnosis
94 Percent Remained Narcotic Free
“Significant differences were found on all measures. The experimental group had significantly less discomfort and illicit drug use, and a significantly greater amount of cessation. At six month follow up, 94 percent of the subjects in the experimental group who had achieved cessation remained narcotic free.”
A comparative stuffy of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy in the treatment of methadone addicts.
American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 1984; 26(4): 273-9.
Facts and Statistics about Addiction
- In 1966 the American Medical Association classified alcohol abuse as a disease. In 1974 the American Medical Association classified drug abuse as a disease.
- The National Centre on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that over 80% of those incarcerated in adult & juvenile penal institutions were there directly or indirectly as a result of the disease of addiction.
- Drug overdose is the number 1 killer of offenders released from prison. Cocaine is the most common drug involved in the overdose.
- The United States accounts for only 5% of the world’s population. However, two-thirds of illegal drugs are consumed in America.
- Twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners are incarcerated in America, and again Americans only account for 5% of the world’s population.
- Between 1995 and 2005 treatment admissions for dependence on prescription painkillers grew more than 300%.
- More than 29% of the teenagers in treatment are dependent on some form of prescription medication, some of which include tranquillizers, sedatives & opiates.
- Approximately 14 million Americans, 7.4% of the population, meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or alcoholism.
- More than half of American adults have a close family member who has or has had alcoholism.
- In the United States approximately 1 in 4 children younger than 18 years old is exposed to alcohol abuse or dependence in the family.
- Parents’ drug abuse often means chaotic, stress-filled homes and child abuse and neglect. Such conditions harm the wellbeing and development of children in the home and may set the stage for drug abuse in the next generation.
- Children with an addicted parent or parents are at a significantly greater risk for mental illness or emotional problems, such as depression and/or anxiety. There is also greater risk for children to have physical health problems and learning disabilities including difficulty with cognitive and verbal skills, conceptual reasoning and abstract thinking.
- Children of addicts or alcoholics are almost 3 times likely to be verbally, physically, or sexually abused; and 4 times more likely than other children to be neglected.
- Adults who abuse drugs often have problems thinking clearly, remembering, and paying attention. They often develop poor social behaviours as a result of their drug abuse, and their work performance and personal relationships suffer.
- In the United States alone more than 100,000 deaths each year are attributed to alcohol and drug abuse.
- Among the Nation’s alcoholics and problem drinkers as many as 4.5 million are adolescents and adolescents are disproportionately involved in alcohol-related automobile accidents; the leading cause of death among young Americans 15 to 24 years old.
- 1 in 4 deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug use.
- More than 75% of domestic violence victims report that their assailant had been drinking or using illicit drugs at the time of the incident.
- Adolescents who abuse drugs often act out, do poorly academically and drop out of school. They are at risk of unplanned pregnancies, violence and infectious diseases.
How do you know that you are an alcoholic?
- Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
- Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
- Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
- Is drinking affecting your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
- Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of drinking?
- Do you turn to self-destructive companions and unhealthy situations when drinking?
- Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
- Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
- Do you crave a drink at a definite time each day?
- Do you want a drink the next morning?
- Does drinking cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
- Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
- Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
- Do you drink to escape your job or business?
- Do you drink alone?
- Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking?
- Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
- Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
- Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drinking?
According to John Hopkins University Hospital, if you answered YES to any two questions above you are probably an alcoholic. If you answered YES to three or more questions above you are definitely an alcoholic.
Hypnotherapy has a proven track record with addictions because the subconscious mind can be accessed in trance hypnosis to help conquer both the physical and psychological aspects of the disease.
To overcome alcoholism, an alcoholic must undergo a basic change of attitude and lifestyle. This means dropping defensiveness, because it prevents self-treatment. The person with a drinking problem who wants to change must open themselves up, look inward, admit their bondage to alcohol, and their deeper problems of pride, selfishness, insecurity and distrust. People who recover from alcoholism have faced these aspects of themselves and so must your patient.
Above all, alcohol is a disease of self-deception. That is the prime reason it takes an average of 13 years for an alcoholic to reach out for treatment to a hospital, doctor, therapist or Alcoholic Anonymous. This self-deception is further reinforced by society, which avoids facing the magnitude of the problem.
Drug abuse and addictions
How do I know if I have a drug abuse problem? If you answer YES to any of the following questions it is possible you may be addicted.
- Do you lose time from work due to drug-taking?
- Does drug-taking interfere with other activities in your life?
- Do you spend more money or time getting or taking drugs than you think you should?
- Is drug-taking harming your health?
- Does your drug-taking harm your family or friends?
- Do you turn to self-destructive companions and unhealthy situations when taking drugs?
- Has your ambition decreased since taking drugs?
- Do you crave drugs at a definite time each day?
- Does drug-taking cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
- Has your efficiency decreased since taking drugs?
- Is drug-taking jeopardizing your job or business?
- Do you take drugs to escape form worries or trouble?
- Do you take drugs to build up your self-confidence?
- Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drug taking?
According to a survey in Ireland in 2008, 60,000 people have taken cocaine within the last year and 700,000 admitted to having taken one or more of the following at some point in their lives: cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamines (speed), ecstacy, ketamine, magic mushrooms. Gambling addiction has reached epidemic proportions with more than 2,000 addicts attending therapy. 60,000 people self harmed in 2010 and 12,000 people were treated in Accident & Emergency Departments. According to a coroner “too many suicides and deaths are linked to depression tablets.” 600,000 children were exposed to parents hazardous drinking. Psychologists estimate that 3% to 5% of people are sexaholics and possibly more given recent ease of access on the internet. Almost anything a person takes into their body can be considered a drug including visual stimulants. For example cybersex and pornography has been called the crack cocaine of sex addiction. Recent research using brain scans has proven that the same addiction centres in the brain that are associated with heavy drug use are also associated with sex addiction.
Addiction is physical and/or emotional dependence upon a chemical substance. An addict believes he or she cannot physically and/or mentally function – that life would be unendurable – without that particular substance. Alcoholism and drug use are two of the most common addictions in our society.
Any addictive or habitual problem can be treated effectively and permanently with hypnosis – even a chemical dependence.
A habit becomes an addiction when you can’t stop without experiencing symptoms of withdrawal such as irritability, anxiety and jumpiness. You may feel physical discomfort similar to getting sick such as headaches and other aches and pains. You may obsess about the behaviour or substance and feel a constant and intense desire to return to the behaviour or substance.
While physical addiction is a contributing factor, it is only part of the problem. If it was the only cause of the addiction, a gradual reduction of the dosage would be enough to end the addiction. In addition to the physical addiction, the underlying emotional reason for an addiction must be addressed. The physical withdrawal is gone after a few miserable days. The habit is gone in about twenty-eight days. However, the emotional (and spiritual) aspects are the most important, longest lasting and often the most under-treated.
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 to twelve step programmes results in up to 87% success.
I tend to think of gambling addiction as a compulsive impulse to ease the build up of anxiety within the person. Similar to smoking as it is usually self-medication for anxiety, the gamblers excitement or adrenalin rush is eased once the bet has been placed.
Symptoms of gambling addiction
Symptoms of gambling addiction include feeling a compulsion to gamble and continuing to do so in spite of the adverse consequences, the inability to control use, and both physical and psychological cravings. If you recognise the above in your life, then you are probably addicted to gambling.
Consider the following behaviour
- Do you seem to be having problems with money but dismiss these or get angry if questioned about it?
- Are you preoccupied with gambling and tend to do it a lot at the expense of relationships and other commitments?
- Do you stay out all day or night at casinos or betting shops, or spend a lot of time on your computer at the cyber-equivalent?
- Do you take others money or valuables with no explanation and use the money for gambling activity?
- Are you pre-occupied with obtaining money to gamble?
- Do you have an irresistible urge to gamble or get a ‘buzz’ by gambling activity?
- Is your gambling increasing in frequency, financial cost or risk in order to keep experiencing the feelings of excitement and escape?
- Have you lost control over the time and money spent on gambling eventually risking more than you can afford?
- Have you developed an emotional dependency on gambling as a strategy to cope with anxiety, worry, tension or stress?
- Are you denying that you have a gambling problem?
Sex, like food, is a primary need for humans. With the advent of the internet, it is available on tap in the forms of pornography, cybersex or quick local hookups via certain ‘dating’ and prostitution sites.
Pornography on the internet has been labelled the ‘crack cocaine’ of sex addiction and this is due to its availability and addictive qualities. For example Cambridge University found with MRI scans revealed the same brain activity present in both alcoholism and heavy porn use.
A further study found that 17% of people who viewed pornography on the internet found it to be addictive. One survey found that 20% – 60% of a sample of college aged males who used pornography found it be addictive.
The problem with porn addiction is that the subconscious mind suspends reality in a porn-induced trance in the same way that we become engrossed in a movie. However pornography addiction is usually accompanied with sexual gratification and the release of ‘feelgood’ chemicals such as oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine etc. These feel good chemicals are released in normal sexual relationships and create a bonding effect with ones partner. However in porn, the bonding is done with the computer screen and the habit. In porn, sex is all in the mind and when divorced form real relationships it becomes addictive in nature and one needs more and more of it to feel aroused. This is obviously to the detriment of normal, healthy sexual relationships.
When pornography becomes problematic and addictive
- If the ‘feelgood’ brain chemistry is being continually activated by fantasy, unrealistic sex rather than real relationship sex, then over time porn sex becomes more pleasurable than the real thing. Whatever you focus on becomes bigger and this is a fact of life in the constitution of ones brain chemistry.
- It can lead to erectile dysfunction.
- It lowers testosterone.
- It can cause social anxiety and feeling uncomfortable around the opposite (or same if preferred) along with feelings of shame and guilt.
- It can erode self control and will power.
- It can make you feel dejected and angry if deprived of porn due to circumstances.
- It can be used as a means to relieve stress, loneliness and anger.
- It can become time consuming and one loses track of large chunks of time.
- It becomes obsessive viewing despite the negative consequences such as a broken relationship or job loss.
- It becomes addictive and one is unable to stop using pornography despite attempting to do so.
- It becomes mood altering in that one becomes angry, hostile or irritable if asked to stop using porn.
- It becomes a “secret life” and it is as though you live a double life.
- It can cause one to neglect family, social or work obligations and one continues to use despite the negative consequences.
- It causes one to need to increase the risk or view more extreme material in order to acquire the same satisfaction as the brain desensitizes, another trait common to all addictions.
- It may cause one to act out their sexual fantasies with dangerous financial, criminal or health implications
- If you are spending many hours each day compulsively chasing sexual fulfilment on the internet combined with sexual gratification then you may be an addict.
- If you are feeling guilty about becoming possessed with an all-consuming desire to engage in your addiction to the complete exclusion of everything else then you are probably addicted.
- If you are engaged in sexual activity and find no satisfaction or fulfilment in an emotional relationship and the sexual act becomes all consuming then you are probably an addict.
- If you are suffering from intense feelings of grief, shame and despair due to your sexual acting out which may include masturbation, prostitution, anonymous sex, voyeurism, exhibitionism, sexually explicit phonecalls etc
- If you are suffering relationship, legal or financial difficulties due to your sexual activities.
- If you are feeling isolated, alone, suicidal, preoccupied with sexual matters, using sexual activity as means of behaviour control mood and cope with emotional turmoil.
If you answer yes to any of the above then you are probably suffering from some form of sex addiction.
Why is sex so powerful
In my view there are two reasons why this compulsive sexual behaviour is addictive.
- The person involved goes into a trance, albeit a sex trance, and that’s why hypnosis is so powerful in creating change because it is able to target those negative trance states.
- The mind becomes addicted to the brain chemicals being produced such as oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin.
In normal sexual relationships and experiences, the brain releases four important neurochemicals:
- Dopamine which creates a feeling of ecstasy and arousal and a bonding experience with ones partner.
- Norepinphrine which burns the sexual experience into ones mind.
- Oxytocin which is a bonding chemical.
- Serotonin which gives the calm feeling after climax. In a normal sexual experience these four chemicals bond human beings together which brings about happiness, joy and fulfilment. This is the science behind ‘making love’. However in sexual addiction this process is inverted and when these chemicals are released by the body one bonds with impossible fantasy creating confusion in the deeper mind and this can erode or destroy the bond with ones partner and family.