What is an addiction?
A behaviour or habit that you have little or no control over.
Why do we have addictions?
They often start as a ‘comfort’ behaviour. Something we do to make us feel a bit better, less stressed or to enable us to unwind. For a child it can be a favourite toy or blanket, or maybe they suck their thumb. As an adult maybe it’s a cigarette or drink, or maybe it’s a habit like pulling eyelashes out or biting nails. In the moment that you are doing it, it feels like there is some relief or comfort from the behaviour.
When does an addiction become an addiction?
When the addiction itself needs to be met, rather than it being something to ‘ease’ something else ie someone who is addicted to alcohol, may have started drinking when they were going through difficult times, the difficult times have stopped, but the addictive drinking has continued and in fact grown worse. Now they are drinking for drinking’s sake not for the original reason. They can’t imagine life without a drink.
Why does an addiction take hold?
Addictions are just habits that create a program in the brain. Anything we do repetitively becomes a program and the more we do it, the better we get at it – this could be good or it could be bad, we can learn to be good at very bad habits!! The brain therefore needs to break the cycle and to have a new program installed. It takes a week to begin to break an ‘old’ habit and 2 weeks to begin to create a ‘new’ habit. It’s a bit like changing the hand you write with, in the beginning it seems strange and uncomfortable, but after doing it again and again and again, you learn how to do it with the opposite hand.
Hypnosis is a way of introducing a new program and changing patterns of thinking and behaving. It introduces the program at a subconscious level which is where all automatic habits and behaviours are stored.