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Person dealing with addictions

Hypnotherapy for addictions

Hypnotherapy can treat a wide range of symptoms, including addictions. They are more intense than habits in that they serve a higher purpose for the subconscious mind in it attempts to protect the self.


In hypnotherapy we seek to understand the root pain underlying an issue and the protective strategy that the subconscious has been employing in response to that pain.


No matter what you require, Birmingham Hypnotherapy provides a safe, effective and powerful way for you to move beyond your difficulties, achieve your goals and unlock your true potential. 

How does hypnotherapy heal addictions?

In the words of Dr Gabor Mate, renowned expert in addiction:

“...addiction is neither a choice nor a disease, but originates in a human being’s desperate attempt to solve a problem: the problem of emotional pain, of overwhelming stress, of lost connection, of loss of control, of a deep discomfort with the self. In short, it is a forlorn attempt to solve the problem of human pain. Hence my mantra: ‘The question is not why the addiction, but why the pain?’ ”


Beyond Drugs: The Universal Experience of Addiction via

Healing trauma, meeting core emotional needs and restoring a sense of connectedness are key areas of focus when doing hypnotherapy for addictions.

What drives addiction?

Addictions are activities that make one feel less of the emotional (bad feelings) and psychological (negative or intrusive thoughts) pain resulting from one’s trauma. The underlying drive of addictions is to find relief from the bad feelings resulting from past unmet needs, which can include traumatic memories. Escaping bad feelings can be accomplished through various addictive practices.

What are typical addictive practises?

1. Redirecting one’s focus away from the self through and onto externalities, such as:

  • Staying busy with work (workaholic)

  • Staying distracted (social media, dating, TV/movies, games, hobbies)

  • Shopping

  • Frequent pleasure travel

  • Being a people pleaser, neglecting the self while being in service of others.

2. Engaging in activities that activate the reward centre of the brain, which results in a change in one’s internal biochemistry through the release of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin. By increasing the production of these chemicals, relief from bad feelings is achieved. Common addictive activities include:

  • Exercise

  • Travel

  • Dating, romance, sex

  • Shopping

  • Gambling

  • Nesting with one’s partner, time with therapy pets, time with friends or family

  • Eating comfort food

  • Peak experience seeking - including spiritual bypassing [What is Spiritual Bypassing?]

3. Consuming substances that activate the brain’s Reward Centre, which alters one’s internal biochemistry, distracting from or soothing the sensations of the bad feeling. Typical substances include:

  • Alcohol, which causes release of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin; alcohol is similar to oxytocin

  • Nicotine (cigarettes, e-cigarettes / vapes), which causes release of serotonin, dopamine, endorphins

  • Sugar, which causes release of dopamine and increased serotonin in the brain

4. Engaging in repetitive activities that are self-soothing, self-reassuring, or give the feeling of being in control. These activities categorize as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and include:

  • Hair pulling - trichotillomania

  • Skin picking - dermatillomania

  • Nail biting

  • Checking doors, locks, stove, switches

  • Washing hands, cleaning the environment

  • Perfectionism

  • Counting and arranging

  • Hoarding

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