Hypnosis has been around for centuries and has long been a staple of TV and movie plots. You may also have seen stage shows in which unassuming audience members were made to believe they were chickens or Robert De Niro. As entertaining as these depictions are, they are not an accurate representation of hypnotherapy, or even hypnosis in general. While people in movies are hypnotized and made to do all sorts of sinister things, in reality, you can’t make someone do something she really doesn’t want to do. Hypnotherapy is the much less dramatic process of helping someone relax deeply, and then making some positive suggestions or helping her remember something she might have buried deeply. Often people who undergo hypnotherapy don’t even feel like they’ve been hypnotized. Does hypnotherapy actually work? And can it be used to treat addiction? Many studies suggest that hypnotherapy does indeed work. It’s typically not used by itself, but rather as part of a larger therapeutic process. It has been shown to improve the effectiveness of therapy for conditions that include anxiety, phobias, post-traumatic stress, depression, sleep disorders, and grief. As these conditions and others are commonly related to substance use issues, hypnotherapy can also be useful in treating addiction. Most people who struggle with addiction also have another mental health issue. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain are both common in people with substance use issues and can be helped with hypnotherapy. One study found that hypnosis significantly reduced pain in patients following surgery. This suggests hypnotherapy might lead to less opioid exposure to begin with as well as being a safer way to help people suffering from chronic pain. Hypnotherapy may also help patients process traumatic memories that may be difficult to remember, although this use of hypnosis has been controversial. Some studies also suggest hypnotherapy may be used to treat addiction directly. Although it would not likely be enough to simply hypnotize someone and suggest that he’s no longer addicted to heroin, it may help him change his attitude toward heroin. Combined with other treatment methods, this may improve his chances of success. There is a catch though: not everyone is susceptible to hypnosis. About five to 10 percent of the population is highly susceptible to hypnosis, 60 to 79 percent are moderately susceptible, and the remaining 25 or 30 percent are minimally susceptible. Obviously, the highly hypnotizable people will get more benefit from hypnotherapy than the least hypnotizable people, but there doesn’t appear to be any harm in failing to be hypnotized, and you might even benefit from the relaxation. Another issue is that relatively few therapists are trained in hypnotherapy. There are special considerations in using hypnosis for therapy and it requires special training.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.