Hypnosis for Alcoholism Treatment: Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis has existed since ancient times. And also in many ancient countries. They included Sumeria, Persia, China, India, Egypt, Greece, and the Roman empire. The Egyptians and Greeks also used hypnotherapy. However, there is no evidence that they used hypnosis for alcoholism.

          Overview

I.   Hypnosis for Alcoholism

II.  Myths about Hypnosis

III. Effectiveness of Hypnosis

IV.  Resources

I. Hypnosis for Alcoholism

In using hypnosis for alcoholism treatment, the hypnotist leads the alcoholic into a trance-like state. The alcoholic “can become more imaginative and better at problem solving. In short, they’re in prime position to sort out strategies for conquering their own addictive behaviors.”1 The person must also want to stop drinking and must be sober at the time of hypnosis. That’s because clear thinking is essential.

II. Myths about Hypnosis

Some myths about hypnosis might make a person hesitant to try hypnosis for alcoholism. But the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis reports that a person who is hypnotized is

  • Totally conscious.hypnosis for alcoholism
  • Not asleep.
  • Very relaxed.
  • Not weakened.
  • Won’t do anything against their will.
  • Won’t reveal any secrets.
  • Is in control of their behavior.2

The effectiveness of hypnosis for alcoholism treatment might depend on a number of things.

  • How long the patient has abused alcohol.
  • The level or degree of alcoholism.
  • The effectiveness of any prior hypnosis.
  • How suggestible the patient is.
  • The quantity of alcohol consumed.
  • Whether drinking is alone or with others.
  • How committed the patient is to abstinence.3

Hypnotherapists sometimes teach their clients how to hypnotize themselves. They believe that self-hypnosis for alcoholism can be helpful in overcoming urges to drink. This should help in reducing relapses.

III. Effectiveness of Hypnosis

Hypnosis has shown its ability to greatly influence a person’s perceptions and behaviors. Hypnotherapy is sometimes used to treat pain, anxiety and phobias. Also to reduce irritable bowel syndrome. Evidence is encouraging for its possible value in treating anxiety, stress, hypertension and insomnia.

Hypnosis is widely used in treating nicotine addiction. The goal is smoking cessation. Unfortunately, the evidence is clear that it’s completely ineffective for this purpose. Hypnosis is no more effective on rates of quitting tobacco than no treatment at all.

So we know that hypnosis fails to help people quit smoking. Thus, it should not be surprising that hypnosis for alcoholism is also ineffective. There is no scientific evidence that hypnosis for alcoholism helps alcoholics. It doesn’t help them either achieve sobriety or maintain it.

IV. Resources on Hypnosis for Alcoholism

Websites

International Society for Hypnosis.
American Board of Medical Hypnosis.
British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis.
American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
Australian Society of Hypnosis.
American Board of Psychological Hypnosis
European Society of Hypnotists.
American Hypnosis Board for Clinical Social Work.
Society for Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis

Readings

Abbott, N., et al. Hypnotherapy for smoking cessation. Cochran Group. Pub online 2010. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001008.

Floyd, A., et al. Alcoholism treatment outcome studies. Addict Behav, 1996, 21(4), 413-428.

Stoil, M. Evaluation of hypnosis in the treatment of alcoholism. J Sub Abuse Treat, 1989, 6(1), 31-35.

Wadden, T. and Penrod, J. Hypnosis in the treatment of alcohol problems. Am J Clin Hypnos, 1981, 24(1), 41-47.

Webb, A., et al. Hypnotherapy for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, Cochrane Group. Pub online 2007. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005110.pub2.

References

1. Hypnosis as an Addiction Treatment.

2. Myths about Hypnosis.

3. Does Hypnosis Work For Alcoholism?