Breaking the cycle of addiction
Alcohol, chocolate, food, sex, drugs, gambling, shopping, even smoking……why is it so hard to break?
What ever you have hooked onto, you may think of these as habits or cravings. Yet the truth is that when you become hooked on these activities, there’s more than a dependence going on, there’s a deep down need.
There’s a part of you that is trying to fill a void or block something out or numb you.
We all have emotional needs, but many people try to fill these needs with sex, drugs, gambling, alcohol or smoking.
It is now known 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 taking cocaine, you may recall that at first it seems easy. You may for a day; even two days feel like you have broken the addiction. Perhaps feel empowered that you have stopped the vice.
However that’s when the craving kicks in, like an inner voice getting louder, whispering in your ear, giving you all the reasons why it’s OK just this once.
When you first decide to take action and stop doing something, all is well….for a few hours. Until a part of the brain, the amygdala, notices that something is amiss. It is the job of the amygdala to notice when something is out of place and raise the alarm. So when you haven’t had that morning cigarette, that chocolate bar, that glass of wine for example, the amygdala goes on high alert. A sequence of chemical events takes place in the brain, which results in your body being flooded with arousing emotional memories of other ‘fixes’ you have had, and how good they felt, and then before you know it, you have succumbed and are out buying a bottle of vodka, or ringing your cocaine dealer or shopping for a tray of doughnuts.
In these moments you forget how your 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 you don’t know, or the credit card bill.
You only remember the feeling of pleasure associated with the addictive behaviour.
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.
Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy also help to pin down why you ever started in the first place. In many cases, there are unresolved emotional traumas that need to be worked through, so that you don’t need to keep numbing yourself.
Combined with this, working with a Human Givens Psychotherapist, you will learn how to meet your emotional needs in a healthy balanced way, and discover ways to cope with future stress, without relapsing into old ways.
You can learn more about the human givens basic needs in this article.