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Hypnotherapy Psychotherapy Counselling Reiki


Addictions

Addiction: A persistent, compulsive dependence on a behaviour or substance.

Addictions cover a variety of things, some of which are chemically induced (e.g. drugs, alcohol, painkillers and cigarettes) known as substance addictions and others which are perpetuated by the stimulation of reward centres within the brain when a particular activity or function is carried out (e.g. eating, gambling and spending) known as process addictions.

Both chemical addictions and process addictions and their dependency are controlled by the unconscious mind, so in terms of treatment using hypnosis, they are often dealt with in the same way.

When a poisonous chemical first enters the body, our bodies respond in such a way so as to alert us to this. We may be sick, feel dizzy, hallucinate, etc. If we continually ignore these warnings, over time the unconscious mind changes the way it deals with the chemical and decides that because we keep on doing it, it must be something we require for our survival. It therefore starts to send out different messages which is what we refer to as a 'craving'. Eventually, that person may become addicted to the substance involved and gradually requires more and more in order to get the same effect.

Smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products in my opinion, falls into the category of 'habits' not 'addictions'. Associations are made between the perceived ‘pleasure’ smoking gives someone, in other words what they get out of smoking and the process of holding, lighting up and particularly taking that first drag on the cigarette. For more information on becoming a non-smoker, please click here.

Process addictions can be hugely diverse...shopping, gambling, porn, chocolate, internet; almost anything where someone can't stop themselves from partaking in a particular activity which in some form or another induces feelings of pleasure. It has been shown that when someone experiences pleasure in these situations, reward centres within the brain are stimulated. This ‘feel good’ experience is then wanted again and again and a habit or addiction has been created.

In some ways, this is very similar to habits, where for example someone who may be stressed or feeling a bit low has a drink or some chocolate or goes out on a massive shopping spree and feels better for doing so. Over time, an association is made by the unconscious mind that what they are indulging in is linked to pleasure or a ‘reward’, however short-term this may be. The connection becomes strengthened each time this is repeated until it becomes a habit or in some cases an addiction. The difference between a habit and an addiction is that a habit can be consciously controlled (albeit possibly hard to do so), whereas an addiction is an unconscious response that is out of that person’s control.

Addictions may be treated using a combination of hypnotherapy and NLP techniques. Positive triggers can be created to negate the effect of any cravings; any negative associations from the past can be desensitized; and powerful negative feelings can be created so that the client no longer wishes to indulge in the act or substance.