Drug Addiction - or Self Delusion?

A leading Sunday newspaper supplement distributed on 22nd May 2011 published an article about the war on cocaine.

I found this particularly interesting as I had treated a client with a heroin addiction a few days previously (with hypnosis) and my client displayed far less symptoms than the people I had helped with drug addiction a few years ago.

As a therapist it's usually quite easy to pick up on the agitation that someone who is dependant on drugs or is in the early stages of withdrawal has and yet this young man seemed quite calm and collected and was already 'getting over it'. (This is after being dependent on heroin for 3 years and smoking it at least once a day).

The article discussed how cocaine is 'diluted' to such a degree that most people who buy cocaine from street dealers haven't actually tried cocaine.

This is a breakdown of the report in the Sunday supplement:

50% of what is sold on the streets is dental anaesthetic (that's the stuff they use to numb your gums when you go for a filling - so the first thing this does for a drug taker is to numb the feelings in their mouth).

Just under a third of the cocaine that is purchased is a painkiller - (probably something like paracetamol or aspirin).

Which for most of us probably does little but ease the pain in our head or our joints.

And 13% is caffeine.

Now I know that coffee is quite expensive at the moment but why would your drug dependant clients pay something like £40 - £50 for one gram of cocaine which contains mostly dentists' anaesthetic, painkiller and caffeine?

Out of that one gram this leaves about 7% which is actual cocaine (benzoylmethylecgonine).

The report states that the drugs are 'about as stimulating as a cup of coffee (but not quite as cheap or convenient)'.



Placebos have been used for years in experimental conditions and for at least hundreds (possibly thousands) of years in everyday use.

Long before doctors were as respected (?) as they are now assumed to be, medicine men and women used to treat people with their herbal remedies, potions and lotions.

And their treatments worked in so many instances.

Primitive folk who suffered from warts might be told to perform some ritual or a kind person would tell them they would buy their wart for a penny (or less) and so they sold their wart - obviously wanting to believe - and - lo and behold - their wart disappeared shortly afterwards. (It might have disappeared anyway).

Some time ago, I hypnotized my youngest daughter as she suffered recurring episodes of verrucas caught from her school's choice of swimming lessons venue.

Both the virus and the treatment were agonizing for her (and for me watching her wincing with pain after her GP administered liquid nitrogen - which never worked).

As a Hypnotherapist I decided that I had to help her - and after a single session of hypnosis her verrucas cleared up and never returned.

She must have been a very good subject at 9 years of age because she also managed to overcome other childhood infections after 24 hours by using her imaginary internal warriors while my two other children (who weren't interested in being hypnotized) would linger with their infections for a week or more.

Experiments have proven that in many cases the success of a placebo is almost equal to that of taking drugs.

So - which is preferable - something that you believe in and which isn't going to damage your body - or a chemical that could ultimately cause your children to be born with a defect such as thalidomide?

(In the late 1950's and early 1960's mothers who were given the thalidomide drug to combat morning sickness gave birth to children without any arms and/or legs - and sometimes even more severe deformities).

This article may be digressing; however I feel the digressions are relevant to the discussion.

According to the news report aforementioned most 'addicts' these days haven't even taken cocaine - so - what are they actually addicted to?

My theory is that they are addicted to whatever they believe in. They think they are using cocaine, cannabis, heroin or whatever - their belief system is telling them that this is what they need - but - is it?

You may have seen, read or heard of stage hypnosis shows where the people chosen to perform are told that an onion tastes as sweet as an apple - and maybe you watched them crunch into that onion and relish the taste of it.

Or perhaps you saw a stage hypnotist giving a subject a glass of water and telling them that it was wine or whisky or whatever - and - because they were in the state of believing they performed as though they were totally drunk (after taking a long drink from the glass).

Which begs the question - were they really pretending?

If you hated onions could you really pretend that you were eating an apple?

If you were a good actor/actress you might be able to - but then there would be quite a few cuts in the filming - unless it was a live show.

If it was live then surely at least one person in the audience would be observant enough to notice that they were screwing their face up the moment that they bit into that onion.

In case I still haven't got my point across then I'll take this a step further and break the discussion down into points of interest.

  • Cocaine addicts - if they are receiving diluted drugs then are they really addicted or do they just think that they are and become dependent on them?
  • If they think that they need the drug then does this prove that it is a psychological dependence rather than a physical one?
  • If it is a psychological one then why treat drug addicts who are 'coming clean' with further drugs (i.e. methadone is used with heroin addicts). Will this create yet another dependency?
  • If the addict is suggestible enough to believe that the drugs they are taking are 'mind liberating' - helping them to deal with their internal stress or for whatever reason they use them then why not use their suggestibility to their advantage with a safer option such as hypnosis or another alternative approach.
  • For the medical profession (and taxpayers who support the NHS in the UK or pay insurance premiums in other parts of the world) this could save a small fortune.

More recent publicity from a Belgian hospital claims that they are using hypnosis with patients with a variety of issues with excellent results. Hospital stays are shorter and patient recovery and satisfaction is greater.

The information in this article isn't new insofar as hypnosis was used in certain hospitals by James Esdaile (and many others before) in the mid 1800's.

Before Ether became widely available as an anaesthetic Esdaile's success rate while using hypnosis with his patients reduced the mortality rate significantly.

The chemical substitute was deemed quicker in comparison to hypnotizing a subject and so fell out of favour.

In ancient Egypt and Greece there were some of the most famous sleep temples where visualization was employed to help their subjects recover from physical and psychological malfunctions.

In African territories (and other places around the world such as the Caribbean and Australasia), tribal dances and rituals where they wore masks, painted their bodies and faces with bright paint and drummed out their resounding, rhythmic music would put the village folk into a frenzied trance where the power of belief would help to free them from their burdens.

Maybe we are going back through life's natural cycle.

Perhaps the medical world will wake up and realize that the alternative view has a lot to offer.

This article is not intended to denounce the medical profession in any way;

With the advancements in medical science we really do owe a lot to the research and the work that they do and the results that they achieve.

However, there are spiders in my house, they weave their cobwebs all over the place and I have to destroy them or people may think I have a dirty house.

Now, these cobwebs, if you study them, are so intricate and perfect for the job they are designed to do that I feel guilty about destroying them but convention dictates that I must.

In the garden we accept them as normal because they catch insects that we don't want in our house - and when they are covered in frost they look so magical.

Isn't that a bit like how alternative therapies are viewed by society? As long as they can't be seen in my house they are acceptable, even useful.

I believe that alternative therapies should be viewed as mirrors which are there to reflect whatever we want to see and believe in. Also mirrors are a very common adornment in any house and most places of work, surgeries, hospitals etc.

In other words, we can work alongside and compliment each other - if you let us.

This article was supplied by Hypnotic World Ltd and is free to copy and republish on condition that no changes are made and full acknowledgement is given to the author.

One of the better scripts we have come across to help for drug addiction can be found at:

©2011 Hypnotic World Ltd.



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