There is plenty of evidence to suggest that hypnosis can help people break away from bad habits such as smoking cigarettes. This technique is also showing some success in the treatment of other addictions such as alcoholism. Hypnosis might not be enough to allow people to break free of addiction on its own, but it does seem to be an effective tool in many cases.
The hypnosis that most people are familiar with is when used for entertainment purposes. These shows can be funny and a little scary at the same time as it appears as if participants are not only doing crazy things after being hypnotised but also appear to be under the total control of the hypnotist. This scary type of mind-control is actually an illusion because hypnosis can never make a person do what they do not want to do. The reason some agree to doing strange stuff while under hypnosis is that they are very relaxed, less self-conscious, and more susceptible to the idea of doing something fun on stage.
Hypnotherapy is another word for hypnosis. This type of therapy needs to be performed by somebody who is fully trained. It involves leading the client to a trance-like state where he or she becomes more open to suggestion. This hypnotic state is similar to deep mediation, altering the brain so that the person is better able to use their imagination and solve problems. While in deep hypnosis, the client is better able to absorb information about coping strategies.
One of the drawbacks with hypnotherapy is the person needs to be sober in order for it to be effective. If hypnosis is attempted on those who are inebriated, they are likely to fall asleep or just forget what happens during the session. For this reason, hypnotherapy may be a better option for those already in early recovery but need help to deal with cravings and cope with the challenges of this new life.
Hypnotherapy requires that the person is able to concentrate, which is the other reason it is unlikely to be effective for those still drinking. If individuals are in the withdrawal stage, their thinking may be a bit fuzzy but they may still have enough concentration to gain some benefit from the hypnosis. In order to get the most benefit from this technique though, it is probably best to wait until after the initial stage of withdrawals.
There are now many books, audio sessions, YouTube videos, and smart phone apps that promise to hypnotise people and produce positive results. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of these products, but it is generally understood that face-to-face hypnotherapy with a qualified therapist is far more effective. This is because hypnosis is as much about a level of trust between the client and therapist as it is about anything else.
Hypnosis does not seem to work for everyone, but it can be an effective tool for those trying to break free of addiction. It can be particularly useful for persons in the early months of sobriety and are looking for something to ease cravings. The first few months of sobriety can be stressful; this technique can also be effective for helping people cope with this stress. Hypnosis is probably less useful for those currently caught up in addiction, as it requires good levels of concentration.