Hypnosis Success in Addiction Treatment

In the nineteenth century, medical professionals began using hypnosis to help cure addiction with great success. The success rate at the time was approximately 80%, (Potter, p. 21). In the early 1900’s though, hypnosis started to become a form of entertainment and ethical professionals started to steer away from using this method. Since 1920, hypnosis has begun to make a comeback in efforts to help addicts recover. Since its return, the success rate has declined to 57% success (Potter, p. 21).

A hypnotic image framing the word addiction.

Hypnosis – Therapy for Addiction

Cues Trigger Cravings

“They (the addicts) reported emotion-laden memories of past positive drinking experiences become associated with cues. Exposure to these cues can activate the reward center, potentially leading to craving during abstinence. They can change these experiences to experiences that promote abstinence and reduce craving by using suggestion, reframes, metaphors, and positive imaging in hypnosis” (Potter, p. 22). This method is usually done in a 15-20 session plan consisting of one hour each session. After assessment of the addict, positive imagery, anchoring, affirming messages and relaxation techniques are usually explored. “Addiction contains spiritual, mental, social and biological components. Hypnosis is a treatment modality that can address all of these issues” (Potter, p. 22). Hypnosis remains “a viable treatment for alcoholism and other addictions” (Potter, p. 21). That being said, studies have also shown that hypnosis, coupled with the aforementioned twelve step program involvement also promotes a greater success of recovery from addiction.

A photo of Prescott House Primary Therapist, Chris Sobel.

by Chris Sobel – Primary Therapist BHT

Chris has been part of the Prescott House team since 2005 and an active member in the recovery community in Prescott since 2002. In his work with each client, he brings forthrightness, inspiring life experience, and a commitment to helping men recover from addiction. Chris has many passions including golf and NY Mets baseball, and most importantly, spending time with his wife and two daughters.
Chris is also an amazing cook! Try some of his recipes: Easy Posole | Watermelon Salad

*Potter, G. (2004). Intensive therapy: Utilizing hypnosis in the treatment of substance abuse disorders. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 47(1), 21-28.

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"I help families and men struggling with addiction by reassuring them that they are not alone throughout this process. I am always here to talk." - Tim Scanlan
A photo of Prescott House Admissions & Outreach Coordinator, Tim Scanlan.


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