If you suffer from anxiety, stress, alcohol-, drug- or even food-related addiction, hypnotherapy could be the treatment for you. There is indeed a wealth of anecdotal evidence to suggest that hypnosis is an effective treatment for these often debilitating conditions.
According to Anxiety UK, ‘Hypnosis allows the subject to experience…deep levels of relaxation and so helps to reduce levels of stress and anxiety.’ Betty, who suffered from panic attacks on the train to and from work, now, after several sessions, doesn’t ‘think twice about traveling on the train.’ In short, the therapy encourages subjects like Betty to imagine intensely stressful situations — in her case traveling on public transport — before inducing a deeply relaxed state of mind. It has clearly worked wonders for her.
But as already mentioned, hypnosis doesn’t just help to alleviate anxiety symptoms. Stuart Downing, a trained hypnotherapist, emphasizes the benefits of using it to treat drug and alcohol addiction, as well. ‘Hypnotherapy helps reprogramme the way your brain thinks,’ he says. ‘It reduces the likelihood that triggers for cravings will be initiated.’
Dr. Quinton Deeley of Kings College London agrees. He recommends hypnotic therapies for conditions such as food addiction. Indeed, ‘there is some evidence that it can help with weight loss,’ he claims. So although more detailed and large scale trials must be conducted to further explore its efficacy, especially with regard to smoking cessation, it is clear that hypnosis is a recognized, effective and increasingly popular therapeutic tool for combating anxiety, stress and many forms of addiction.
Hypnosis as a research tool
But let’s not forget the value of hypnosis as a research tool to enhance our understanding of mental health conditions. This cannot be overstated. With greater understanding comes better, more effective treatments, after all.
So how does this research work? Well, hypnosis is used to produce false, delusional beliefs in otherwise healthy patients, thus replicating those experienced by people suffering from various disorders. Through the neurological responses aroused in the subjects, researchers can better understand the conditions with an eye to finding more efficacious treatments. It is indeed an exciting development.
So whether you suffer from anxiety or addiction, or perhaps even both, hypnosis provides a potential remedy either directly as a treatment in itself, or indirectly as a research tool to be utilized to find a new, more effective solution in the future.