“Hypnotherapy: Tap Your Subconscious” by Jeffrey Rose, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Addiction Recovery Coach
Hypnotherapy can be a valuable adjunct resource for anyone in a program of recovery from a chemical addiction. To understand why this is you must understand the true nature of a chemical dependency and what nature intended. The person who has a chemical dependency is not just getting something bad for themselves, namely, a desire for a chemical that is extremely deleterious to their physical and mental health: They are also tapping into one of the body’s natural forms of creating an experience of pleasure: dopamine.
Nature has designed the body to generate dopamine from many healthy, survival-promoting activities. Nature views natural dopamine-generating activities as an overall good thing. The same goes for the pleasure that is derived from sexual activities. In that case, it promotes the continuation and survival of our race. Pleasure from dopamine and the activities to which we are drawn because of this pleasure is good and promotes health and survival under most natural conditions. It is only when man comes up with a way to bypass natural conditions to generate unnatural levels of dopamine that it becomes harmful to the individual. The natural system is distorted by our ability to generate large amounts of dopamine by ingesting a chemical, a way of generating dopamine far beyond that generated in normal day-to-day activities.
It is natural for the brain to desire as much dopamine as it can generate because it is such a pleasurable thing. We are designed via its pleasure to gravitate toward activities that generate such dopamine. There is natural tendency to become an addict when the brain is offered the opportunity to get as much dopamine as it can; that’s how the brain was designed. In the case of those addicted to drugs, they are getting too much of a thing that when within proper bounds is good both for the person and their physiological brain. That is why it is so difficult to break an addiction: In many ways it is using normal pathways of pleasure and activity choice.
Unfortunately, just like losing weight, for many people wanting to do something consciously–in this case, restricting your intake of a drug that is injurious both to your way of life and the health of your body–is not so easy. Asking people to successfully exert willpower in an area where their body naturally wants to continue–the experience of dopamine–is often just not going to be enough to free them from their addiction. Of course, it is the conscious mind that is recognizing the negative aspects of being a drug addict. And, of course, one wants the help of one’s conscious mind to exert willpower and make the appropriate selection of activities, such as not ingesting a drug, to be able to be drug free. Unfortunately, such is the power of dopamine and the pleasure it creates within the brain that, more often than not, the conscious desire alone to resist and abstain from dopamine-generating drugs is not nearly enough.
But, suppose you could access an even more powerful force within your mind? I am speaking of your subconscious. Often a person’s choices within life, although seemingly made through conscious and rational decisions, are actually determined by the beliefs within their subconscious mind. For example, if you sincerely want to overcome an addiction but hold the idea at the same time at the unconscious level that it is difficult to do so, and that you will have tremendous problems trying to stay drug free and there is a strong chance you will experience a relapse, your chance for success in staying drug free for life becomes very, very small. In fact, this subconscious belief can completely undermine your conscious wish to become drug free, often regardless of the strength of your conscious mind’s desire to do so. Many believe that no matter how much so-called willpower you have your subconscious desires will win every time. Again, think of how many dieters who, although successful at achieving a healthy weight, eventually put back on all the lost weight and more. However, by using hypnotherapy some are able to meet their weight loss goals with great success once the beliefs within their subconscious are changed to more helpful ones.
While drug addiction is an even more powerful addiction than food, it too is a problem that can be decisively dealt with and overcome through the use of hypnotherapy. Once the beliefs you hold about drug addiction are changed to more helpful ones, the chances for full recovery become much greater. Not only can you have a full recovery, but you can have a recovery that is achieved more easily and at the same time with less overall discomfort. Just as it is natural for the brain to want to experience pleasure through generating dopamine, it is also just as natural for the brain to avoid anything that undermines the health and, in the end, ultimate survival of the individual as a living, breathing organism on the planet. A hypnotherapist can tap into that survival mechanism, which can then be used to override the dopamine pleasure system within your brain and create an even more urgent, primary desire for you to avoid destructive drugs and increase your path toward health and future survival. Through utilizing hypnotherapy, a client will most likely be able to avoid those painful relapses in which they must re-experience all the suffering that is created while their bodies go through the physiological process of withdrawal all over again.
Often, addiction has to do with dealing with early traumas, unresolved issues from the past, stress and anger, and a general lack of resources to deal with your present world in a fully resourceful way. Hypnotherapy has the capability of resolving past hurts and giving the person new and powerful resources so that they can interact with their environment without feeling the need to resort to drugs. A skilled hypnotherapist will have several powerful therapeutic modalities to employ, including cognitive-behavioral therapy or any number of various neuro-linguistic-programming techniques to create changes so that drugs are no longer even needed to deal with being alive.
Those who are experiencing discomfort and struggling with their recovery should consider seeking out a certified hypnotherapist and incorporating this program for overcoming addictions into their own journey to a life free from addiction.