There are many avenues to substance abuse treatment – cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, medication-assisted, alternative – it’s hard to know what to choose and what might work for you. You might be uncertain about trying certain less than traditional means, but some of them have proven surprisingly effective. One practice that many people are dubious about it hypnosis. You might be tempted to think that it’s akin to someone reading a crystal ball, all flash and no substance. While it is true that no one is likely to make you cluck like a chicken or hop on one leg, hypnotherapy can be useful as a relaxation and a way to unblock memories and change perspectives or ways of thinking.

When a person is hypnotized, he or she enters a state in which they feel awake yet completely relaxed. The heart rate and blood pressure may decrease and there could be a difference in brain wave activity. You are more susceptible, or easily influenced, while in a hypnotized state, but that doesn’t mean that you can be controlled or that you have no free will while under. What it does mean is that your subconscious comes to the forefront, and you’re more likely to believe suggestions. This might include the hypnotherapist telling you that illegal drugs are bad or too much drinking is bad for you. When you return to your normal state, you’ll have these beliefs in the back of your mind, making it more likely that you will alter your behavior as a result.

Hypnosis may be particularly useful in the early days of treatment, when you’re first beginning to accept that you have a problem. It can help with symptoms of withdrawal, anxiety, muscle tension, spasm, and pain. It can also be used as a persuasive tool to convince patients to attend and participate in meetings, and to remain committed to sobriety in general.

Hypnosis isn’t therapy in and of itself. It’s simply one aspect of a larger treatment program that can include medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy. People can even learn to hypnotize themselves at home to deal with some of the causes and symptoms of addiction, like pain or addiction or depression. Hypnosis has been used for centuries to help control pain. There are reports of field surgeons during the U.S. Civil War performing hypnosis on patients before amputating a limb.

Studies suggest that 15 percent of the population is highly susceptible to being hypnotized. On the other hand, 25 percent of all people cannot be hypnotized by another person. In some people, the process may do more harm than good, depending on the memories it dredges up. Sometimes the memories that emerge as a result of suggestion are not true or have been distorted in some way.

If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.



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