For people who have experienced trauma or attachment wounding in early life, the risk of developing addictions in later life is much higher. From my own experience, I know that addictions and addictive behaviours are more often an attempt to self-medicate difficult emotions, rather than a stand alone problem themselves. This is why when I help people to recover using hypnotherapy for addictions in London, I believe it is important to focus on healing the root cause of the problem first.
What Classes as an Addiction?
Addictions can come in many forms and are not always drug or substance related. An addiction is characterised by an inability to refrain from any activity or behaviour, regardless of the harmful consequences experienced as a result. When the urge to indulge in immediate pleasure seeking takes over the need to do what you know is right for you, that’s an addiction.
Addictions can come in the form of:
- Drugs, medication or other chemical substances
- Food or overeating
- Sex or sexual behaviour, including overindulgence in porn and/or masturbation
- Gaming, mobile phones or other digital devices
- Shopping or overspending
- Love, dating apps, romance novels, fantasising or obsessing over a person or relationship/s
When we become addicted to a substance or behaviour, we become dependent on the hit of dopamine (a neurotransmitter chemical that gives a sense of pleasure/reward) that it supplies the body and brain. This means that any substance or activity can become addictive, especially if we are using pleasure as way to numb pain.
Trauma and Addictions
Research has shown that people who have suffered early life trauma, are 3 times more likely to develop addictions later in life. In this report published by PubMed , a study by the National Survey of Adolescents found that more than 70% of young people receiving treatment for substance misuse had a, “history of trauma exposure”.
The link between trauma and addictions is becoming more established, and thanks to specialists such as Gabor Maté, Johan Hari, Pia Mellody and many others, we are developing a better understanding of how to treat addiction as a symptom of trauma.
But what classes as trauma, and what about those of us who’ve never experienced the “big T” stuff, yet still struggle with addiction or addictive behaviours?
Up until not long ago, scientists saw trauma as a result of a singular distressing event that lead to sever shock or overwhelm of the nervous system. Typically, this was thought to be big life threatening events such as war, natural disasters, rape, terrorism etc. We now know that this is not always the case, and that trauma can also be the result of instability in our childhood environment.
The Three Main Types of Trauma
According to medical science, there are 3 main types of trauma:
- Acute trauma: resulting from a single stressful or dangerous event
- Chronic trauma: resulting from repeated and prolonged exposure to highly stressful events such as abuse, bullying or domestic violence
- Complex trauma: resulting from exposure to multiple traumatic events
Chronic or complex trauma (also known as CPTSD), can occur as a result of extreme challenges in our early home environment. It is often a result of parents who are struggling with their own trauma and emotional challenges, making them unable to provide adequate safety, support and stability to their children.
Some Causes of Chronic and Complex Trauma can be:
- 1 or more parents or primary caregivers suffering with a longterm illness, mental or physical health condition
- One or more of the primary caregivers have a longterm addiction to drugs, alcohol or any behaviour which is causing instability in the home
- Frequent displays of aggression or domestic violence in the primary relationship
- Any kind of physical, mental, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect towards a child
- A parent or caregiver dying or committing suicide
- Death of a sibling or other close family member, friend or pet
- Incarceration of a parent or primary caregiver
- Abandonment by a parent or caregiver
- Exposure to extreme violence or inappropriate sexual behaviour
The more of these you experience as a child the more likely you are to develop complex trauma (CPTSD). And the higher your chances of developing an addiction.
For myself, having several of these experiences in my early formative years up to my teens, I found drugs and alcohol provided a welcomed escape from the painful truth of my reality.
How I help People Using Hypnotherapy for Addictions in London
It is possible to recover from addictions and live a life free from the powerlessness of urges and compulsive behaviours that come with them. I work with people using Cognitive Hypnotherapy for addictions in London and online, helping them to overcome what lies beneath the addiction.
Cognitive Hypnotherapy is a process of dealing with the root cause, and resolving deep beliefs that are keeping you stuck in the problem behaviour. When you have a low sense of self-worth, it’s not surprising that you would treat your body and mind in such a harmful way. When you can begin to love and respect yourself and your body, you wouldn’t dream of putting such harmful toxins into it, or putting yourself in such risky situations.
I understand this first hand as I have been to some of the lowest rock bottom places you could think of. I couldn’t imagine a life or version of myself without drink or drugs and thought of life without them as boring and dull.
But by doing this work I was able to rebuild my sense of self, confidence and vision for the future. I am now living and loving a life free from addiction, and am now 3.5 years sober and happier than I’ve ever been.
If I can do this then so can you, but you need to be ready. It took hitting rock bottom many times for me, and coming to the realisation that I was powerless over my addictive behaviours. It doesn’t need to get to that point for you, but you do need to want to be free enough to let go.
What to Do Next if You’re Looking for Hypnotherapy for Addictions in London
Get in touch to learn more about how I can help you using Cognitive Hypnotherapy for addictions in London, or online. I offer a free 30 minute telephone consultation so we can explore whether this is the right route for you and if we can work well together.
You can book a free telephone consultation if you’d like to discuss how I can help you on your journey. You can also contact me other ways, via my contact page. If you’re ready to live a life free from addictive behaviours, I can’t wait to hear from you!