In order to fully understand the benefits of hypnosis for the treatment of addiction or co-occurring disorders such as  an eating disorder, you must first understand what hypnosis is – and what it is not.

Hypnosis, according to the University of Maryland, is a relaxation technique that can place the person being hypnotized into a kind of trance, or altered state of mind. The hypnotist, or hypnotherapist, cannot do certain things, including make you do anything that is against moral code, like rob a bank or harm another person or make you do anything that is against your free will. Hypnosis simply allows the hypnotherapist and the client to become more focused on certain aspects of the therapy objectives.

The purpose of hypnotherapy is to retrain the body’s conscious and unconscious responses to certain activities. By taking you back to a certain time and place in your mind, you can relive your reactions to that event so you don’t continue to repeat the same behaviors. If you are terrified of the dark, for instance, because you learned that your favorite pet passed away while you were sitting in the dark, a hypnotherapy session can separate the darkness from the death of your favorite pet.

Is Hypnosis Physical or Just Mental?

The brain is a powerful tool. It controls many different aspects of our entire being, from telling our hearts to beat to telling our lungs to breathe. Our brain communicates how we feel. Are we in pain?  Are we happy?  Are we tired?  The question about whether hypnosis is a trick of the mind or a physical manifestation of suggestion was the subject of a study conducted at the University of Geneva in Switzerland in 2009. A group of 12 men were hypnotized under the following conditions:

  • They were each connected to a brain scan device.
  • They were each told that their hand was incredibly heavy.
  • They were each told that their hands were glued to the table upon which they rested.
  • They were each instructed to move their hypnotically disabled hand.
  • None of the participants could move their hand upon instruction to do so.

According to the researchers, it was not as though the participants did not hear or chose to ignore the commands. The message was created in the brain cortex and registered on the brain scan device. The message, however, was sent to a different part of the brain with which the cortex does not normally communicate. One theory the lead researcher suggested was that the hypnotic suggestion was so strong that the brain immediately knew that hand couldn’t move so it wasn’t going to waste its time trying.

Hypnosis Shows High Success Rate for Substance Use Disorders

When we think of hypnosis, a part of us might think of lounge acts that turn otherwise normal people into clucking chickens. Unfortunately, it is this type of entertainment that kept many therapists from using this very valuable tool for quite some time, according to researchers published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s PubMed. The study found that the use of hypnotherapy for the treatment of substance abuse disorders, such as addiction, had a 77-percent success rate after a full year of recovery. Addiction, as described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is a chronic disease that is marked by relapse. For a study to find that 77 percent of the participants had successful recovery due to hypnosis is significant. At Futures, we incorporate hypnotherapy into our treatment plans to help our clients better their chances for recovery and relapse prevention. We offer specialized programs for addiction and a separate program for co-occurring conditions because we understand the significance of tailoring services to the needs of the client. If you would like to learn more about how hypnotherapy and personalized treatment programs can help you, or someone you love, please call us today.

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