Can Self-Hypnosis work for Cocaine Addiction?

In this blog post, I want to speak about some unusual research that has been done on hypnosis and self-hypnosis to help people to overcome drug addiction. I will begin with an amusing story that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. An unusual case is presented where hypnosis was used by a woman to stop a $500, 5 grams per day, cocaine addiction. The woman, in her 20s, purchased a commercial weight loss hypnosis tape that she used to quit smoking cigarettes by substituting the word "smoking" instead. She also discovered that she could use this method to help manage the comedown from her cocaine-induced high so that she able to fall asleep. After approximately 8 months of her cocaine addiction, she decided to use the same approach to tackle cocaine addiction herself. So over the next 4 months, she played the CD three times per day and mentally replaced any suggestions for stopping overeating with the word "coke". Her unusual approach caused her to stop taking cocaine, and she has been free from her cocaine addiction for the past 9 years. What is remarkable about her unorthodox method is that hypnosis, or in this case, self-hypnosis was the only thing that she did, and she did not require any support network to accomplish her remarkable recovery.

Another piece of research by Bauman used a self-hypnotic technique with teenage drug abuses that consisted of the following:

  • The revivification or remembering of a previous happy drug experience, a good trip.

  • Having them associate into good-trip and then use hypnosis to hallucinate a drug experience which in their own opinion felt more intense, more rewarding, and more profitable than the original drug experience.

A similar approach has been used weekend courses with female drug addicts. In this research, each group included 32 women. The method involved having them lie down comfortable mats with pillows and blankets. The women then closed their eyes and were then taken to a progressive relaxation induction evolved deep breathing exercises. They were then told to visualise a scene produced in them a feeling of peace and contentment, to allow the scene to become as vivid as possible and to associate into the scene by entering into it and being entirely surrounded by it. The women were then instructed to really experience everything about the scene, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, etc. until they found themselves feeling filled with good feelings from been part of the scene. They were then told to continue experiencing that particular scene, and that's some suggestions would be given to them that would be very beneficial. They were instructed not to pay too much specific attention suggestions just to allow them to float into their minds without any conscious effort. They were then given some positive ideas to strengthen their ego. They were then instructed to go back, and we experience the last good trip they had had and to relive it completely.

The hypnotists told the woman that every minute of clock time would seem like an hour on their trip. The women were given 10 minutes of clock time experience their trip and were told that it would seem ten hours. 10 minutes later they were instructed that they were going to be counted out of the trance state and that afterwards, they would feel a new sense of mental clarity and physical well being. The results with people were very encouraging.

A similar approach has been used weekend courses with female drug addicts. In this research, each group included 32 women. The method involved having them lie down comfortable mats with pillows and blankets. The women then closed their eyes and were then taken to a progressive relaxation induction evolved deep breathing exercises. They were then told to visualise a scene produced in them a feeling of peace and contentment, to allow the scene to become as vivid as possible and to associate into the scene by entering into it and being entirely surround

ed by it. The women were then instructed to really experience everything about the scene, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, etc. until they found themselves feeling filled with good feelings from been part of the scene. They were then told to continue experiencing that particular scene, and that's some suggestions that would be given to them that would be very beneficial. They were instructed not to pay too much specific attention suggestions just to allow them to float into their minds without any conscious effort. They were then given some positive ideas to strengthen their ego. They were then instructed to go back, and we experience the last good trip they had had and to relive it completely.

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© 2020 by Andy MacArthur, Clinical Therapist.