Hypnosis for addiction. Now we’re talking controversial.
Some researchers believe that hypnosis is effective to the degree that participants possess a hypnotic trait…something inborn and akin to your height, body size, hair color, etc. Others believe that there are strong cognitive and interpersonal components that affect an individual’s response to hypnotic environments and suggestions. Regardless of the theories of how our minds and bodies respond to the treatment, research is divided about whether or not hypnotic communication and suggestions effectively changes aspects of the person’s physiological and neurological functions.
Simply, the research evidence to support hypnotherapy is INCONCLUSIVE.
Early work in hypnosis by Anton Mesmer (1734–1815), James Braid (1795–1860), Hippolyte Bernheim (1840–1919), and Jean Martin Charcot (1825–1893) illustrated that the symptoms of certain patients could be altered by suggestions and that the mind could block out awareness of posthypnotic suggestions without in any way diminishing the patient’s need to follow the suggestions. Initial and partial results of a 2008 study by the Israeli Department of Health point to the possible potential of group hypnosis in the reduction of street drug use. But similar studies have failed to show that hypnotherapy has a greater effect on addiction quit rates than other interventions or no treatment at all.
Skeptics credit the placebo effect to explain the efficacy of some of the positive effects that can be achieved by hypnosis. (Neuroscience, second edition textbook 2001). But as a believer myself, I tend to scoff at the skeptics. What do you think? Are researchers going to perpetually find what they’re out to look for, whether it be to support or to discredit hypnotism? Can only people predisposed to the treatment benefit from the effects? What would it take to make a conclusive case for hypnotism, especially for addicts? How many studies? How many people?
Interested in being hypnotized? Check out these clinical trials for hypnosis and discover first-hand whether or not “mesmerization” works for you!