Hypnotherapy for Addiction and Eating Disorders

Alcohol addiction treatment or treatment associated with eating disorders involves several elements that help individuals develop skills to maintain a healthy lifestyle. These typically include therapy, counselling sessions, or follow-up care services. Alternative therapies such as hypnotherapy may also potentially support the treatment process.

This article is intended to answer common concerns and questions regarding the application of hypnotherapy for treating addiction and eating disorders.

Hypnotherapy for Addiction

Scientific studies indicate that hypnotherapy can potentially help with several psychological difficulties, including addiction. Hypnotherapy for addiction induces a trace state of mind where the person becomes more open to suggestions directed by the therapist.

Certified therapists often use this relaxed and suggestible state to help patients seek a different perspective on their addiction and bring about a desirable behavioral change.

How does Addiction Hypnotherapy Work?

Addiction is usually associated with alcohol, smoking, and gambling. Qualified therapists can apply hypnotherapy techniques to treat different forms of addictions.

Alcohol Hypnotherapy

Alcohol has been consumed for recreational purposes for centuries. Most people that consume alcohol do not have an issue setting a limit on how much they drink. However, for some people, alcohol can detrimentally affect their lives. In some instances of alcohol addiction, alcohol hypnotherapy can help patients relax their conscious minds and focus on the subconscious state.

Alcohol hypnotherapy usually uses guided imagery associated with alcohol, such as drinks, when the patient is in a state of deeply relaxed physical calm. At this point, the therapist helps patients realize why their alcohol consumption may qualify as abuse and help them understand how to implement good behavior in place of their old habits. During the hypnosis, the patient may also reflect on their whole life and pinpoint areas that need to be changed for a better life.

Hypnotherapy to Quit Smoking

Like alcohol addiction, smoking is a deadly habit that can increase the risk of lung cancer, heart attacks, and strokes. Clinical hypnosis can get the patient in a more relaxed state where their minds are open to reconsidering their behaviour. The therapist may ask the patient to imagine unpleasant outcomes of smoking or use a model that alters the patient’s understanding to believe that cigarette smoke smells like truck exhaust or smoking can leave their mouth parched. Based on the patient’s condition and goals, hypnotherapy for smoking can also focus on affirmation techniques to change the patients’ belief that they should respect their body, smoking is poisonous, and they need their bodies to live.

Hypnotherapy for Eating Disorders

Similar to hypnotherapy for addiction, therapists may apply hypnotherapy for eating disorders such as fear of actual food, fear of visiting a restaurant, or over-eating. Often eating disorders are associated with mental disorders that pose a significant risk to the patients. Hypnotherapy can be tailored to meet each patient’s individual needs and be a powerful method to alter disruptive behaviour by changing beliefs.

Hypnotherapy for Eating Habits

Hypnotherapy can empower the patient to focus on their unconscious and conscious beliefs that interfere with their lives. By moving through the treatment process, a patient can acquire the confidence to eliminate or reduce addiction or eating patterns over time. Here are some ways in which hypnotherapy can be applied to treat an eating disorder.

Working Phase

Clinical hypnotherapy can be applied to re-establish a connection with the unconscious mind and help the body restore to how it knows to do things all along. Once the patient is in a relaxed phase, the therapist can ask them what their idea of a perfect day is. The therapist can further develop a perfect day in the subconscious state of mind while also establishing the sensory elements of the day. Once the patient learns to store this experience in their memory, it can regulate their mood and eating disorders even in stressful situations.


An eating disorder may not be a problem on its own. Most patients who show eating disorders have powerful underlying emotions that drive them not to eat, over-exercise or binge eat. If required, the therapist may apply regression techniques in the hypnotic trance state to help the patient identify any past events that may have caused them trouble and led to their eating disorder. However, when applying regression hypnotherapy for an eating disorder, the therapists must be cautious not to overwhelm the patient with surrounding emotions or suggest anything for them to see.

Verbal or Imaginative Restructuring

Another hypnotherapy technique that can help patients deal with their eating disorders is by applying stories or narratives through verbal and visual forms that help patients view themselves, their bodies, and their life experiences in a new way. For example, if the patient has an eating disorder caused by how they feel their body appears, the therapist can use the relaxed state to guide the patient to view their body in a positive state of light. Using positive affirmations and feelings of gratitude can help the patient feel strong and courageous in their own body.

Hypnotherapy for Gambling

Hypnotherapy for gambling uses the power of suggestion to alter how a patient views gambling as a form of stress relief. The therapy technique used to treat gambling varies depending on the patient’s past experiences, the gambling problem, and possible triggers. However, most hypnotherapy sessions aim to access the unconscious state of mind and alter negative thought patterns that have triggered a gambling addiction in the first place.

Bottom Line

Hypnotherapy is definitely not a magic pill to treat addiction or eating disorders. However, hypnotherapy can surely help people address their addiction and associated problems. If you have any form of alcohol, drugs, gambling, or smoking addiction or are currently suffering from an eating disorder, contact a certified therapist to understand the effective treatments for your condition.

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