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Breaking the cycle of addiction

by Sara Maude on July 26, 2017

in Hypnotherapy Edinburgh

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Alcohol, chocolate, food, sex, drugs, gambling, shopping, even smoking……why is it so hard to break?

You might think of these things as habits or a craving, but the truth is that when you become hooked on these activities, there’s more than a dependance going on, there’s a deep down need.

There is a part of you that is trying to fill a void or block out something that is missing in your life.

We all have emotional needs, but many people fill these emotional needs with sex, drugs, gambling, alcohol or smoking.

What can start as a few glasses or wine or some chocolate following a breakup, divorce, loss of a loved one or a job can quickly spiral into using these activities to fill something within us that is empty.

It is now know that all addictive behaviours work through the same common pathway in the brain – the expectation pathway.  In short it’s the illusion of pleasure that addiction falsely feeds.

If you have tried to stop an activity, be it binging on cake, eating chocolate, watching pornography or smoking – anything that you are partial to, you may recall that at first it seems easy.  You may for a day, even two days feel chuffed with yourself.  Feel empowered even.

It is when time goes on that the craving grows, like a voice urging you to have it, giving you reasons why it’s OK just this once.

When you first decide to take action and stop doing something, all is well.  You can feel calm and empowered.  However there is a part of the brain, the amygdala, whose job it is to notice when anything out of the ordinary is out of place and raise the alarm.  On this occasion, when you haven’t had that morning cigarette, that chocolate bar, that glass of wine, or what ever your fix is, the amygdala goes on high alert.  A sequence of chemical events takes place in the brain, which results in our being flooded with arousing emotional memories of other fixes we have had, and how good it felt, and then before we know it, we have succumb.

In these moments we forget how our clothes don’t fit anymore, what the bathroom scales say, the hangovers, the fear of lung cancer, the self loathing from having sex with someone we don’t know, or the credit card bill.

We remember only expectations of pleasure.

How does hypnosis work at breaking addiction?

Hypnosis helps you to change your expectations of the addiction by relaxing the mind and guiding you to break the illusion of the addiction.  Using visualisation to speak to the subconscious mind, you will see the downside of the addiction – the wake up call.

After a period of time, when the old voice pops up, the mind remembers the downside to partaking in these addictive behaviours and accesses the fears instead of the false pleasure memories, and the craving ceases altogether.

Combined with this, working with a Human Givens Psychotherapist, we help people to learn how to meet their emotional needs in a healthy balanced way, and teach people ways to cope with future stress, without relapsing into old ways.

You can learn more about the human givens basic needs in this article.

 

 

About: Sara Maude 

Sara Maude is a hypnotherapist, psychotherapist and EFT practitioner based in Edinburgh providing both 1 - 1 and Skype sessions internationally. Sara provides problem-free therapy which goes deep into the heart of the subconscious mind to create powerful long lasting change.Follow Sara on Google+

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