Addiction or a chronic habit?
I am generally opposed to the concept of "addiction" which implies that we are completely at the mercy of our biology - and prefer to focus on the concept of "habit" and conditioned response, which we can control and change with increased awareness, knowledge, skills and practice.
The approach of relaxation, hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness (becoming more self-aware) are all recognized as effective treatment programme for addictions and chronic habits, even tho success rates very greatly from person to person.
A Multi-Component/Toolbox Approach
A very similar programme to the Smoking Cessation programme this treatment programme has been effective with many clients who have drinking habits or drug habits that they wish to change ... tho again unfortunately it doesn't work for everyone.
This is what is called a "multi-component" approach - it combines many different techniques into a coherent effective programme to change habits and prevent relapse
Addictions are habits and conditioned reflexes
A habit is simply an automatic way of responding to a given stimulus - an automatic reflex. Usually a positive experience has become associated with a particular action; this is nearly always a reduction in stress, anxiety, emotional distress, agitation or boredom/restlessness - and a consequent feeling of relief.
Triggers for negative habitual behaviour are usually agitation, boredom, uneasiness, emotional distress, mild or medium levels of anxiety or stress.
Relapse is avoided by making sure that clients have the resources - positive habits and new experiences and understanding - to stay on their chosen path of being free from the habit. The whole programme fosters a deep sense of self-belief and this is essential for change and relapse prevention.
My goal is for clients to become 'addicted' to positive habits... in particular deep muscular relaxation. When one is able to experience deep muscular relaxation at will then the mind is calm and negative habits lose all meaning and purpose. In addition all reflex responses are lowered when our muscles are more relaxed (e.g. reflex response at the kneee.)
- Becoming more aware of trigger situations and emotions and keeping a diary of the habit.
- Learning rapid deep relaxation techniques to lower stress, anxiety, agitation, etc.
- Learning hypnosis and self-hypnosis to increase relaxation and build confidence (relaxation and confidence go hand-in-hand).
- Mapping out and challenging negative beliefs
- Replacing negative beliefs with positive beliefs.
- Developing a daily schedule that avoids trigger situations
- While in hypnosis imagining negative trigger situations/emotions and rehearsing alternative positive responses (note: we repeat this enough times to create a new reflex/automatic response).
- A powerful hypnosis session where you experience the negative and positive benefits of making the decision on whether to continue or stop your habit.
- Hypnosis to consciously develop a more positive self-image and imagine yourself changing and developing the qualities and behaviours you wish for yourself.