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An addiction is an obsessive, uncontrollable and often harmful attachment to an activity, behaviour or substance. People can become addicted to all sorts of things, but it is most commonly associated with drugs, alcohol, the internet, nicotine and food. According to the NHS, around two million people in the UK are struggling with addiction.

If you are dependent on a particular substance or acitvity to get through daily life, it is quite likely that you have an addiction. You may be finding it increasingly difficult to control your urges, and your relationships, work life and overall well-being could be starting to suffer.

Recognising you may be addicted is an important step towards getting help.  Addiction help is available in many forms, but a number of people find hypnosis for addiction particularly beneficial. On this page we will explore signs and causes, and exactly how hypnotherapy for addiction works.


What is addiction?


If you have an addiction, it means that you have no control over taking, doing or using something. Typically an addiction begins as a habit - a behavioural pattern that is not particularly damaging.  Over time it can become more powerful and advanced, eventually interfering with a persons's quality of life. Habitual behaviour is a natural part of our lives, and many of us will have what are referred to as "bad habits". These can be broken because they are typically unconscious or passive actions. Once we get a conscious handle on them, we can stop them. Addictions, however, are conscious and implusive responses that can be very difficult to control.


Signs of addiction


Warning signs of an addiction are:

- It overrides your feelings and emotions.

- It distracts you from normal life and day-to-day responsibilities.

- You've abandoned activities you used to enjoy.

- You have physical withdrawal symptoms if you attempt to stop. These include irritability, anxiety, nausea and shakes.

- It is causing problems at work and in your relationships.

- It is having negative effects on your health, mood and self-respect.

You need to perform the habit more regularly to experience a "high".


What causes addiction?


There is no known cause, but there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing an addiction. These factors are split into two catergories:

- behavioural.

- chemical.


Behavioural factors


Certain behavioural traits (shaped by environmental and genetic factors) can increase the possibility of trying addictive substances or activities. These include:

Genetics - there is evidence to suggest a genetic link of addiction. If you have a family history of addiction, you are more likely to develop one too. Certain genetic traits could also delay or speed up its progression.

Background - Traumatic experiences during childhood such as neglect or abuse can increase the risk of developing addictive behaviours. Early use of certain substances or particular activities can also be linked.  

Mental health - Experts believe that people who experience anxiety and nervousness in their approach to daily life are more vulnerable to addiction. Individuals struggling to cope with stress may also lean towards addictive behaviour patterns.


Chemical factors


Experts believe there is a link between the repeated use of certain substances and activities, and how the brain experiences pleasure. An addictive behaviour triggers the creation of the hormone. dopamine, which causes feelings of pleasure and satisfaction (a mental "high"). The brain remembers this rush of pleasure and wants them repeated. Over time, repeated use of a substance or activity changes how brain feels pleasure, so a user has to increase the dose or frequency in order to recreate the desired "high". When tolerance increases, withdrawal symptoms become more severe and this increase the likelihood of addiction.

A key aim of hypnosis for addiction is to identify and work the underlying causes of addiction. This empowers patients to see their addictive behaviour or something they can control and overcome. 



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