Hypnotherapy Treatment For Substance Abuse

Many of us struggle with or know someone who struggles with substance abuse. It is an illness that has profound negative effects not only on the individual and those close to them, but on society as a whole. In seeking suitable treatments for addiction, one of the many promising fields is that of hypnotherapy treatment.

No, it does not turn people into mindless robots that are at the mercy of the therapist. Instead, hypnotherapy is an adjunct to substance abuse treatment. Some of America’s best addiction therapy clinics, such as Mountain Springs Recovery, are incorporating hypnotherapy treatment into their larger addiction treatment plans.

What Is Hypnosis?

Despite a relatively new interest in the practice, hypnosis is an ancient form of therapy that has been used for thousands of years. It is not at all as dramatic as the movies and in some ways can be compared to guided meditation.

Hypnosis is a trance-like state of deep relaxation in which a patient is far more suggestible than they would be in a normal state of consciousness. It is a sort of top-down regulation of conscious awareness that allows patients to block much of the “mental static” that has come to plague our society today. Hypnosis allows people to override learned physiological and psychological behaviors, essentially bypassing what we commonly call “conditioning” and “habits”.

What Is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a combination of hypnosis and therapy. Like traditional therapy, it is administered by a trained hypnotherapist in a clinical setting and involves little more than speaking and intention. A therapist sits the patient in a comfortable position in a comfortable environment and uses verbal cues to help the patient achieve a state of profound relaxation.

There are two accepted forms of hypnotherapy: “Traditional Hypnotherapy” and the “Erickson Hypnotherapy”.

Traditional Hypnotherapy

Traditional hypnotherapy involves therapists inducing a state of deep relaxation in a patient and that therapist then issuing a set of directives. Directives given to in this state can cause patients to change their perspective on their addictions.

Some examples of directives are:

  • “You no longer crave alcohol”
  • “You are more aware of the effects your addiction is having on your family and those around you”
  • “When you begin to feel lonely or sad you will seek alternative ways to alleviate those feelings instead of opioids”

Erickson Hypnotherapy

Some patients do not respond well to directives, and Erickson Hypnotherapy is designed to address that. Like traditional hypnotherapy, patients are put into a hypnotic state. Instead of directives however, Erickson Hypnotherapy uses extreme suggestibility and leading questions to change the way patients view their addiction. Some examples of this are:

  • “Aren’t you tired of feeling sick after using opioids?”
  • “You know your addiction is hurting your relationship with your daughter. Don’t you want a good relationship with your daughter?”
  • “Don’t you feel like it’s time for you to take the next step in life? You and I both know your addiction will hold you back from that”

How Is Hypnotherapy Used To Treat Addiction

Contrary to the movies, hypnotherapy does not “force” any behavior changes. It is also not a “miracle” cure for addiction; hypnotherapy treatment is part of both clinical and holistic approaches to helping patients overcome their substance abuse problems.

Hypnotherapy allows patients to view their addiction from a different perspective because they are able to let their “guard down” and quiet their ego. Often times this allows them to view the negative effects their addiction has on their lives from an entirely yet-unseen objective view.

Some other ways hypnotherapy may help with addiction:

  • Soothing withdrawal symptoms in heavily addicted patients
  • Help to alleviate physical and mental pain associated with addiction
  • Contribute to stronger self-esteem and emotional health
  • Helps to adjust indirect behaviors that may contribute to addiction (poor physical fitness, poor social life, etc)

How Successful Is Hypnotherapy In Treating Addiction?

Studies on the treatment of addiction with hypnotherapy signal it has a strong to very strong effect on the efficacy of addiction treatment. Two years after their hypnotherapy treatment, a study showed that 78% of opioid addicts were still opioid-free despite the absence of clinical intervention in those two years.

 Another study looked at the efficacy of addiction treatment in conjunction with hypnotherapy and determined treatments that incorporated hypnotherapy showed a 60-70% success rate, which is phenomenal success within the addiction treatment field.

Remember, Hypnotherapy Treatment Is Not A Miracle Cure

Every hypnotherapist will tell you hypnotherapy will not lead to an instant reprogramming of your brain. Instead, it is a tool used by psychiatric professionals to supplement and enhance various addiction treatments.

This means overcoming addiction with hypnotherapy treatment will still be hard work. You’ll still need to exercise, eat right and take care of the things you didn’t take care of while you were addicted.

And that’s a good thing. Because the hard way is almost always the right way. By seeking out professional help and making necessary lifestyle adjustments, hypnotherapy can be very effective at treating substance abuse and is certainly worth investigating for you or your loved ones.

Article submitted by Patrick Bailey, Professional Writer

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1 Comment

  1. April Braswell, CHt, CPC on June 1, 2019 at 12:15 AM

    As a fellow hypnotherapist and long time student of the mind I really respect and appreciate how you cite that not everyone even when hypnotized or in a light alpha brain wave states likes to be directed to. On the influence and persuasion side of things, posing those outcome based thinking prompting questions is just so terrific. It really does prompt dear people to respond in the affirmative when posited that way. Love the articles!

    Cheers and blessings,


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