Does Hypnosis Work to Stop Drinking?

Does Hypnosis Work to Stop Drinking?

Using hypnosis to stop drinking is an uncommon but potentially impactful practice. Alcohol addiction is a habit that requires support, discipline, and often professional help to break. Alcohol dependency is a continuously growing issue in the United States. Since each person needs a unique route to recovery, hypnosis to stop drinking may help you or your loved one. 

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, is a tool used in a range of fields of scientific study. Hypnosis is essentially a method used to put someone in a relaxed state of mind. The hypnotic state can be compared to a meditative state. This state can be beneficial to turn the subject’s attention internally, bringing mindfulness benefits. 

The primary goal of hypnosis is to relax the conscious mind, letting the subconscious move more into focus. By doing so, the likelihood of the person gaining psychological insight is increased. Studies show hypnosis has been effective in helping people stop smoking. The studies in-depth explain that hypnotherapy can help curb bad habits and influence healthy changes in individuals. 

Many researchers believe hypnosis can be effective for other addictions aside from tobacco. This includes hypnosis to stop drinking and using other substances. However, hypnotherapy is used to treat several conditions, including:

  • Pre-surgery anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Hot flashes in breast cancer survivors 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic pain 

Does Hypnosis Work to Stop Drinking?

Those looking for assistance for severe addictions should speak with an addiction specialist. Hypnotherapy is currently used in treating addiction, substance abuse, and alcohol dependency. Successful hypnotherapy may help an individual address problem drinking, binge drinking, or simply stop drinking altogether. 

Only qualified individuals should perform hypnosis for healthcare. Qualified individuals may include physicians, nurses, psychologists, or licensed therapists. Trained hypnotherapists should not be confused with stage hypnotists. Hypnotherapy is a medical treatment and should be conducted by a medical or clinical professional. 

How Does Hypnosis Work to Stop Drinking?

does hypnosis work to stop drinkingHypnotherapists generally make sure their patient is entirely calm and comfortable before beginning the process. During the session, the patient can expect to discuss their goals and problems. When ready, the hypnotherapist will guide the patient into a relaxation state. This process may include the patient closing their eyes or focusing on a specific visual stimulant. 

The state of relaxation may turn into a hypnotic state or trance. When the hypnotherapist recognizes this state, they may then ask their patient to visualize specific situations.  The therapist may give a patient encouragement to make positive changes in their behavior. The patient may even relive through uncomfortable symptoms. 

Once the therapist is done conducting their exercises, they will gradually guide their patient out of the hypnotic state. The fundamental goal of these sessions is to encourage the patient’s unconscious mind to integrate healthy behavior suggestions from the therapist. In some cases, this is enough for someone to change their habits or stop drinking altogether. 

Benefits of Hypnosis for Alcoholism

Potential benefits of using hypnosis to stop drinking includes:

  • Increased relaxation, short-term and long-term
  • Relief of depression, stress, and anxiety
  • Stronger immune system
  • Long-term substance abuse recovery

It is more likely for people to experience benefits than adverse effects when it comes to hypnosis. In some uncommon cases, short-term adverse effects are possible.

Adverse Effects of Hypnosis for Alcoholism

does hypnosis work to stop drinkingPotential short-term adverse effects or negative consequences include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety or distress
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Unsuccessful addiction treatment

Individuals that experience psychotic symptoms, such as delusions or other forms of hallucinations, should avoid hypnotherapy. Risks for individuals with severe mental health disorders may include:

  • Stupor 
  • Seizure
  • Dissociation 
  • Worsened mental illness
  • Stress from previous trauma 

Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Drinking alcohol regularly causes the brain to learn to have a high supply of glutamine. After long-term use, people develop a high tolerance for alcohol, leading to the brain needing to adapt. When someone is dependent on alcohol, issues can arise when they take a break from drinking. This is referred to as alcohol dependence in a physical and psychological sense. 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even deadly in severe addiction situations. Therefore, it is essential to work with a professional and detox in a controlled environment. Addiction is a cycle, and once tolerance develops into dependency, severe withdrawal symptoms may occur. 

Research shows high levels of glutamine worsen withdrawal symptoms. Many facilities utilize hypnosis to not only help people stop drinking but also to manage symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms and Excess Glutamine

The primary role hypnosis plays in alcohol addiction is to deter the person from ingesting alcohol. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain that allows different parts of the body’s system to communicate. GABA’s central role is to regulate the body’s nervous system.

Successful GABA function means the neurotransmitter helps decrease anxiety and other mental health symptoms. Unfortunately, GABA and alcohol do not mix well. Alcohol consumption can lead to GABA withdrawal, which may be expressed in persistent worrying, intrusive thoughts, and other mental health issues. Excess glutamine builds up in the body through the cycle of addiction and is a significant factor regarding withdrawal symptoms. 

Effects of alcohol withdrawal may include: 

  • Nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling and bloating – specifically in the arms, legs, feet, and hands 
  • Constipation or diarrhea, gastrointestinal issues
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache, dizziness, or confusion
  • Dry throat and mouth
  • Flu-like symptoms, increased perspiration, and elevated temperature 
  • Joint pain often in the shoulders or back
  • Muscle spasms
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures

Treatment Options for Alcoholism

does hypnosis work to stop drinkingHypnosis to stop drinking is one element of the journey of sobriety. At Intrepid Detox, we offer several programs. These programs are designed to cater to many different circumstances. Some may have success using hypnosis to stop drinking, while others may require a combination of treatment for alcoholism.

Multi-Phased Methods

Intrepid cultivated a multi-phased treatment method over time that has proven successful to be for our clients. The method is meant to help gradually introduce our clients to a healthy, sober lifestyle. 

The continuum of care starts with the foundation of recovery:

  1. Medical Detox
  2. Residential Treatment
  3. Partial Hospitalization or Intensive Outpatient Treatment
  4. Outpatient Treatment, Sober Living, and Aftercare

Medical Detox for Alcoholism

At Intrepid Detox, our first step towards recovery is detox. Our medical detox program includes a clinical and medical assessment, addiction education, and physical stabilization. During medical detox, each client rids their body of toxins left over from substance use. This ensures each person in treatment will have a sober body and mind. The length of a medical detox depends on the patient. Some patients work through this step faster than others, but the principle goals remain the same:

  • Healthy coping tools
  • Relief from mental compulsion
  • Physical stabilization 
  • Essential life skills 

Residential Treatment 

Residential, or inpatient treatment is a more intensive level of treatment. Residential treatment is early on the continuum of care but is a core pillar of substance use recovery. Residents will live in our South Florida facility with access to our amenities and countless programs. During treatment, our clients can expect to build a vast knowledge of the 12-step program. We offer alternative forms of treatment as well, helping residents learn about spiritual connection and healing the whole self. 

Residential care includes many comprehensive treatments at Intrepid Detox. When fighting addiction, it is vital to develop tools for physical, mental, and emotional battles you will face during recovery. The following approaches may be used alongside hypnosis to stop drinking:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Family or couples counseling
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Skill-building opportunities
  • Alone time
  • Meditation therapy
  • Holistic therapy

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are an alternative to residential treatment. We recommend clients with a more severe substance addiction join our residential program since it offers a higher level of care and 24/7 support. IOPs work well for our clients with less severe substance addiction. IOPs offer similar programs, like 12-step. But in an IOP, clients live off of the facility in sober living homes. Clients in an IOP can expect to attend daily treatment sessions and other therapeutic programs. 


Aftercare programs are often personally customized to fit the needs of the individual. The journey of recovery does not stop after the completion of treatment. At Intrepid Detox, we will work with you to develop a plan going forward. We often help our clients find stable employment, plan to return to school, or find other opportunities. Aftercare is essential in minimizing the risk of relapse and a continued support system. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Many individuals that join treatment have co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnoses. Dual diagnosis refers to a combination of mental health issues a person experiences. Most commonly, someone with co-occurring disorders suffers from addiction and another mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder, or schizophrenia.

Many addiction issues begin as a coping mechanism for another aspect of life. Unfortunately, when dealing with complex mental disorders, substances may seem to help cope with the disorder’s symptoms. The coping is short-lived and creates an easy path for addiction to sneak into every aspect of the struggling person’s life. 

We offer specialized treatment for patients with a dual diagnosis. Treatment methods for co-occurring disorders help the individual cope with mental illness while beating addiction. Co-occurring disorders are a battle no one should fight alone. 

Get Help Today at Intrepid Detox

Whether you are looking for hypnosis to stop drinking or other treatment methods, Intrepid Detox can help. We base our programs around relapse prevention and help you or your loved one break down the unhealthy habits that lead to addiction and substance use. Each person deserves a chance to fight their addiction, and it does not need to be done alone. Please call us today for more information.

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