How Does Hypnosis Work for Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

In hypnosis, a person naturally enters a relaxed, hyper-responsive state, where their subconscious mind is highly open to suggestion. The person is not asleep or unconscious but instead focused intently on what the hypnotist is saying.

The two kinds of hypnosis, Analysis and Suggestion:

Analysis finds the root cause of an addiction or disorder that is hidden in unconscious memory. Once found, this can be addressed with therapy.

“Hypnosis avoids the critical censor of the conscious mind, which often defeats what we know to be in our best interests.  The effectiveness of hypnosis appears to lie in the way in which it bypasses the critical observation and interference of the conscious mind, allowing the client’s intentions for change to take effect,” says the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

In suggestion therapy, the patient is more open to suggestions meaning their behaviors (eating, drinking, etc.) can be changed.

Stages of Hypnosis
During hypnosis, a person’s blood pressure and heart rate lower and though  physically relaxed, the mind is fully awake. The University of Maryland Medical Center lists these stages of hypnosis:

  • Reframing the problem
  • Becoming relaxed, then absorbed
    (deeply engaged in the words or images presented by a hypnotherapist)
  • Dissociating (letting go of critical thoughts)
  • Responding (complying with a hypnotherapist’s suggestions)
  • Returning to usual awareness
  • Reflecting on the experience

Does Hypnosis Work?
Like many forms of treatment, the success of hypnosis ultimately lies with the person. In other words, if they believe it will work and are open to it, they are more likely to have success.

In an American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis study of drug and alcohol-addicted patients, the success rate (drug or alcohol-free for one year) was 77% for an intense treatment using hypnosis.


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