What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a state of mind in which a person's peripheral awareness decreases and it is focused more on the subconscious mind and is susceptible to suggestion. In layman's terms it is referred to as putting a person in a trance.

What is Hypnosis?

What is Hypnotherapy?

The science of using hypnosis as a treatment for curing various disorders, ailments and addictions is called hypnotherapy. It is generally used as an aid to psychotherapy. This treatment uses the technique of hypnosis for putting suggestions in a patient's mind to cure them of their addictions.

How Does Hypnosis Work?

How Does Hypnosis Work?

Usually a hypnotist, hypnotizes a person or puts them in a trance. He then tries to put suggestions in the patient's mind to cure him/her of the disorder or addiction. But a trained hypnotherapist uses hypnosis to affect a person's subconscious mind to know the reason behind a person's disorder and then cure it more effectively. As such, there are two ways in which it could be used-

Suggestion Therapy:

Sometimes to cure some behavioral disorders such as smoking or alcoholism, hypnosis is used as an aid to give suggestions to the patient's subconscious mind which is considered more effective in treating the disorder. Such a use of hypnosis is called suggestion therapy. It can also be used to cure or lessen pain in the patients.

Analysis:

Sometimes, the cause for a particular disorder lies in the childhood or adolescent memories or incidents of the past. These memories, more often than not, are forgotten by the patient. Using hypnosis to unlock those memories and know the cause of the disorder helps in effectively treating that disorder usually by psychotherapy. Such a use of hypnosis to analyze the past comes under the heading, analysis.

Effectiveness of Hypnosis in a Treating a Disorder

Hypnosis alone is rarely effective in treating and eliminating a disease or disorder but when it is used in combination with more traditional therapies and medicines, it can tremendously increase its chance of success.

Disorders That Hypnosis Can Cure

There are lots of ailments and disorders that can be cured by hypnosis. Some of them are listed below:

Phobias

Phobia literally means fear. Irrational fear of something or someone comes under the heading of phobia. Phobias can be of various types such as Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), Agoraphobia (fear of crowded spaces), Acrophobia (fear of heights), etc. Phobias can be of anything and are quite varied in their types. Hypnosis can be used to calm the person and reduce or altogether eliminate the phobia in a person.

Anxiety Disorders

It is a cognitive disorder in which the person has an irrational and quite extreme dread of some situations in life. This can cause them to experience the feeling of anxiety. Anxiety is the worry over future events as opposed to phobia which is fear of present events. Some common anxiety disorders are Generalized anxiety disorder, Social anxiety disorder, Post-trauma anxiety disorder etc. Hypnosis can be used to cure this problem especially post-trauma anxiety disorder.

Sleep Disorders

Hypnosis is quite effective in inducing sleep in those patients who are suffering from sleep disorders such as Insomnia etc. Too little sleep can cause various problems such as fatigue, irritability, concentration loss, depression etc. which can be quite problematic if it persists long term and hypnosis can help in curing such things. Patients can also be taught self-hypnosis to induce sleep.

Depression

It can be defined as a feeling of hopelessness with no apparent reason and can affect a person's day to day life. It affects a person's sense of worth and well-being. Since most of the anti-depressants can be quite harmful if taken for a long time period, alternative approaches in treating the disorder are becoming quite common. Hypnosis can be used to alleviate depression to a large extent.

Stress

It is quite a common problem nowadays. Even children suffer from this. It can be caused both by our personal as well as professional problems. Hypnosis is considered a powerful tool in eliminating stress. Self-hypnosis can work wonders in this situation.

Grief Counseling

Hypnosis can prove to be a powerful tool in grief counseling as hypnosis can help a lot in dealing with grief and loss. The feeling of sadness and loss due to traumatic situations such as losing a loved one can become quite debilitating. Hypnosis can be used by grief counselors to enable a person to cope with that.

Addiction

Hypnosis can be used to rid a person of their addictions of various substances such as drugs and cigarettes etc. Hypnosis can be used by therapist to give suggestions to the person when they are in trance.

These are some of the disorders in which hypnosis is most widely used but recently hypnosis is being used in certain other fields as well, such as-

Childbirth

Hypnosis can be used during childbirth to reduce anxiety, pain and stress in the mother. It can even be used during pregnancy to prepare the mother for childbirth.

Pain-Relief

Hypnosis can be used in reducing and sometimes, even eliminating acute pain disorders. This technique is becoming quite popular though some precautions are required before using hypnosis in this condition.

Hysteria

It is the state in which a person experiences excessive and uncontrollable emotions, thus overwhelming a person and causing them to lose control. Even though hypnosis is being used to cure this disorder since Victorian era, it is gaining in popularity again.

Surgical Procedures

Hypnosis can also be used to enhance recovery after a patient undergoes surgery. As such, hypnosis is quite effective for non-psychological conditions as well.

Eating Disorders

Hypnosis can be quite effective in treating eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia etc.

What are the Disadvantages of Hypnosis?

As with any procedure, there are some drawbacks associated with hypnosis as well. Some of them are listed below-

  • One of the disadvantages of Hypnosis is that it can cause hallucinations and delusions in some patients especially those who are exhibiting some psychotic symptoms. If hypnosis is being used by patients to control pain, then they must get evaluated by a doctor to see if they are suffering from any disorder which requires surgical procedure or medical treatment.
  • Hypnosis can sometimes prove to be less effective than other traditional treatments for some disorders such as psychiatric disorders.
  • Yet another disadvantage of Hypnosis is that the information that is being recalled by hypnosis in a patient is not always trustworthy.
  • Sometimes the suggestive and leading questions asked by a therapist during hypnosis can implant false memories in a patient leading to various problems.
  • Use of hypnosis in some mental disorders such as dissociative disorders is especially sensitive and controversial and should be used with great care.
  • Hypnosis should only be done by trained hypnotherapist as hypnosis can be quite superficial and temporary, if not done properly.

That being said, hypnosis is not a dangerous procedure. It cannot cause a person to do something embarrassing or untoward, as it is often depicted in the movies. The greatest risk is of false memories. Nonetheless, hypnosis is emerging as an innovative and quite effective method to treat various problems.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 13, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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