Combating Addiction With Hypnosis

Hypnosis is more than what you have seen on television or part of a magic show. Despite the stigma, hypnotherapy has been used to treat insomnia, fear, anxiety and has been considered a breakthrough in addiction treatment.

Addiction has gotten a reputation as a disease that cannot be cured. It’s common knowledge that once an addict, always an addict. Even if an addict has been sober for years, there is a relatively strong chance they will relapse at some point.

We see evidence for this all the time. Those of us who have suffered from addiction, or are close to someone who has, know that rehabs are crowded with second, third, or fourth-timers.

If you don’t personally know someone who has struggled with addiction, you’ve at least seen high profile celebrities fighting it. Demi Lovato is a recent example of a celebrity who, although sober for six years, relapsed and had to be hospitalized after an overdose.

But, having worked with addiction, I am somewhat more hopeful than most.

The way I see it, addiction does not have to lurk over an addict’s shoulder for the rest of their lives. It’s not that the problem is incurable, but that the prevalent cures are not that effective. Millions of people have benefited from the 12 Step program, and I am totally supportive of it. However, it clearly does not work for everyone. And there are powerful alternatives.

As a hypnotherapist, I have seen many addicts overcome addiction, despite having found no luck with the 12 Step program. Hypnosis can be a powerful tool in getting and staying sober.

How Hypnotherapy Works

There is, unfortunately, an aura of mystery around hypnosis. Some see it as a magical, ephemeral, quick fix. Others see it as pseudoscience, not grounded in fact.

But the reality is that hypnosis is not mysterious at all. It is grounded in the power of the mind, which we’re all very familiar with. After all, we live according to how our minds interpret the world. Life is perceived through the mind.

Hypnosis harnesses the power of the mind to achieve what the individual has already decided to achieve. It simply aligns the subconscious with the conscious determination to stop using substances.

The Power of the Addict

There’s a reason that hypnosis is effective in combating addiction. Addicts are commonly seen by outsiders as “weak” or morally deficient. However, in my experience, addicts are some of the strongest, most determined, people on earth. Having to beat a physical dependence, while dealing with the underlying issues that may have led to using substances, is a mammoth task. It is more difficult than anything most people will have to manage throughout their entire lives.

For an addict to recover, s/he has to be incredibly determined to do so. And it is that determination which makes them the ideal candidates for hypnosis. Hypnosis only works if the person undergoing it wants to make a change. Those who have the desire to change are likely to succeed with hypnotherapy.

Many addicts will take a long time before they have the will to stop using substances. Despair is very powerful, and life can seem hopeless without their drug of choice. Quitting often appears to be an exercise in futility. Addicts who are forced to go to rehab are therefore less likely to succeed. Hypnosis certainly can’t force them to see the value of getting clean.

However, good recovery centers will work towards helping even the most stubborn residents make the choice to work towards their sobriety. Sometimes, that task is just not possible, but often a spark is ignited that will eventually lead to success.

Ultimately, every addict has the potential for recovery. Hypnosis requires a powerful commitment, and addicts are some of the most powerful people I’ve known.


Dr. Nancy Irwin is co-author of “Breaking Through, Stories of Hope and Recovery” and a Primary Therapist at Seasons in Malibu World Class Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Center.


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10 Responses to Combating Addiction With Hypnosis

  1. Hypnotherapy works 100%, good read; Thanks.

    – John Carter

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  4. Jay says:

    If hypnosis is all about feeding some ideas in our sub conscious mind. Then cat it be related to the trance like states during exorcism? I have seen some traditional Indian exorcisms. Some of them seemed realistic. However I am skeptical may be people just feed such thoughts to their sub conscious. Being emotionally attached to them it had a great impact on them.

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