“It’s just one more, I can handle it”
“I just need to get through this day”
Not being in control is hard, denial is even harder because the broken pieces left to be cleaned up afterwards can be overwhelming.
A habit is a learned and ingrained association between a stimulus (or incentive) and a response (or behavioral reaction) manifested consciously or subconsciously to achieve a goal.
Addiction is more complex than habitual behavior. The disease of substance abuse manifests the physical symptoms of intense craving, loss of impulse control, and behavioral flexibility. Addictions are physiologically developed and reinforced in the brain each time a substance and/or behaviour is used with the underlying desire to numb, escape discomfort or endure emotional turmoil. Pleasure-seeking patterns such as drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes can create neural pathways in your brain connecting the relief of negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, and depression with craving and and impulsive desire. While harmless in moderation, any behavior that successfully, consistently, and physiologically numbs or “quiets” emotion, trauma or depression, can develop into an addiction.
- Addictions involve physical and/or emotional dependency on a substance.
- Is your behavior having a negative impact, directly or indirectly, on your life?
- Are you repeatedly putting yourself in risky situations?
- When you stop drinking or using for any length of time, do you experience withdrawal symptoms like anxiety or stress?
- Have you taken steps to hide your behavior or have you repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, tried to stop drinking or using on your own?
- Have you adopted new habits believing this will minimize the health impacts only to discover these have become secondary addictions with an even greater negative impact?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you likely suffer from addiction.
Addictive substances are generally used to overcome what is perceived to be a physical, emotional or intellectual pain over which the addicted person perceives they have no control.
An addict is someone who operates in an emotional survival mode; who believes that he/she simply cannot function physically and/or mentally without their addictive substance or that life would be unbearable without it.
Alcohol and drug use are two of the most common addictions
The most common non-substance addictions are pornography, the Internet and gambling
To be effective, treatment for substance addiction can require a multi-disciplinary approach, of which hypnosis can play an integral part; namely, to break the pattern of addiction by helping the subconscious mind to accept more positive strategies, form better choices and to identify and seek closure on the feelings behind the event(s) that first initiated the spiral into addiction.