This is a subject that is highly relevant to my work at the moment as I am involved in a pilot project in Aberdeenshire working with drug and alcohol addiction, so I have been re-reading these research papers again myself. There are many levels to addiction and also influence from and transference from other presenting issues in an addicts lifestyle that can complicate the recovery process.
So What is the difference between a habit and an addiction?
Addiction – there is a psychological/physical component; the person is unable to control the aspects of the addiction without help because of the mental or physical conditions involved.
Medical News Today wrote a great article about addiction.
People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. Their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful. Addictions do not only include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include virtually anything, such abstract things as gambling to seemingly harmless products, such as chocolate – in other words, addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. gambling addiction).
Habit – it is done by choice. The person with the habit can choose to stop, and will subsequently stop successfully if they want to. The psychological/physical component is not an issue as it is with an addiction.
This is a fascinating topic that I hope you will again find interesting reading in terms of the application of and the success in the use of hypnosis.
Study 1: Hypnosis and Cocaine
Hypnosis For Cocaine Addiction Documented Case Study
Notes: Hypnosis was successfully used to overcome a $500 (five grams) per day cocaine addiction. The subject was a female in her twenties. After approximately 8 months of addiction, she decided to use hypnosis in an attempt to overcome the addiction itself. Over the next 4 months, she used hypnosis three times a day and at the end of this period, her addiction was broken, and she has been drug free for the past 9 years. Hypnosis was the only intervention, and no support network of any kind was available.
American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1993 Oct;36(2):120-3
By: G. W. Handley, Ohio State University, Lima, OH USA 45804
Study 2: Hypnosis and Methadone
A comparative study of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy in the treatment of methadone addicts.
Notes: Significant differences were found on all measures. The experimental group had significantly less discomfort and illicit drug use, and a significantly greater amount of cessation. At six month follow up, 94% of the subjects in the experimental group who had achieved cessation remained narcotic free.
American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1984; 26(4): 273-9
By: A. J. Manganiello
Study 3: Hypnosis and Marijuana, Cocaine and Alcohol
Intensive Therapy: Utilizing Hypnosis in the Treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders.
Results: All subjects were given 20 daily hypnosis sessions and then followed up a year later where it was found that using hypnosis in this fashion led to a 77% success rate.
Notes: This paper reports on 18 cases over a 7-year period where hypnosis was used to treat a variety of addictions. Fifteen cases involved alcohol, two involved cocaine and one involved marijuana. All subjects were given 20 daily hypnosis sessions and then followed up a year later where it was found that using hypnosis in this fashion led to a 77% success rate.
Tools: The following tools and suggestions are given for use in hypnosis;
(A) Direct Suggestion. Direct suggestion can be used for creating a positive expectancy. The therapist can also use direct suggestion to inspire confidence, commitment, motivation, and perseverance in the client to achieve the stated goals, as well as encourage the proper behavioral changes.
(B) Anchors. In hypnosis, anchoring happens when a posthypnotic suggestion is paired to a feeling state. Therefore, when an individual has a craving for the drug, the posthypnotic suggestion is used to bring about the anchored feelings
(C) Metaphors A metaphor used in therapy usually consists of a story that has a short metaphor embedded within. The whole story is not metaphoric, but captures the client’s attention so the metaphoric message can be subconsciously embedded. For example, Wallas’s (1985) “The Boy Who Lost His Way.” All metaphors are altered, paraphrased and structured to fit the individual’s situation in order to make a therapeutic impact. For example, for female clients “the boy” in the metaphor becomes a girl.
(D) Reframes. There may be many issues that arise while working with addictions that can be reframed. For example, the way a person views New Year’s Eve; or what it means to go fishing or boating. Any situation in which the client has consumed alcohol or used their drug of choice can be reframed to exclude the substance.
(E) Affect Bridge. The affect bridge (Watkins, 1971) is used with clients who have particular emotions associated with the use of drugs. By following the emotion through the affect bridge to the first time the client felt that particular emotion before using the drug, the client can become more aware of and break the connection with that emotion and the drug.
(F) Self-hypnosis Self-hypnosis is routinely taught to all clients. It is left up to the clients as to how they use it.
American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Jul 2004 vol.47(1) :21-28
By: G. Potter
Study 4: Self-Hypnosis for Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Self-Hypnosis Relapse Prevention Training With Chronic Drug/Alcohol Users: Effects on Self-Esteem, Affect. and Relapse.
Results: While the rate of relapse for all four groups was roughly the same (13%), those who were taught self-hypnosis and who listened to self-hypnosis recordings at home 3 to 5 times a week were more serene, had higher levels of self-esteem, and had greater control over anger and impulsive behavior.
Notes: This study recruited 261 veterans who were admitted into a residential program for substance abuse. The aim was to find out if self-hypnosis could help chronic abusers of drugs and alcohol improve their sense of self-esteem, control their emotions and prevent relapses. Participants were broken into four groups and were assessed before and after they entered the program and then again 7 weeks later.
American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 2004 Apr;46(4):281-97
By: R. J. Pekala, R. Maurer, V. K. Kumar, N. C. Elliott, E. Masten, E. Moon, M. Salinger, Coatesville VA Medical Center, Coatesville, PA 19320-2096, USA
Study 5: Case Study – Hypnosis for Chemical Dependency (and future related Imagery)
Refraining of an Addiction via Hypnotherapy: A Case Presentation
Notes: “A chemically dependent man was treated using hypnotherapy and related psychotherapeutic techniques The majority of the sessions focused on age regressing the patient to events correlating to drug and alcohol abuse. During these events I introduced myself via hypnosis as “the voice from the future” to redefine the events and extract the useful learnings. With a new-found positive self-image, the patient was hypnotically age progressed to review future scenes. In each scene he successfully abstained from drug and alcohol use. The patient remained drug and alcohol free during treatment and the 6-month and one-year follow-ups.”
American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Volume 33, Issue 4, 1991, pages 263-271
By: David J. Orman
Study 6: Hypnosis and Heroin
The use of hypnosis with an injecting heroin user: brief clinical description of a single case
Notes: This paper describes the use of hypnosis with an injecting heroin user. This client was finding it very difficult to keep to his methadone prescription and was frequently using heroin ‘on top’. He received three sessions of hypnosis in order to facilitate relaxation and visualization, and resolution of ambivalence concerning his drug use. The results suggest the client has responded well to treatment. Details both of the client and of the three hypnosis sessions are given and the outcome is discussed.
Contemporary Hypnosis, Volume 13, Issue 3, pages 198-201, October 1996
By: Bill Drysdale, Clinical Psychologist, Barnet Drug and Alcohol Service, Woodlands, Colindale Hospital, Colindale Avenue, London, NW9 SHG