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Brainwave Tuning for AddictionsAddiction, a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behaviour or substance, can come in many forms and can be overcome with the use of brainwave tuning to change the dominant brainwave frequency.
Alcohol and drugs are what most people acquaint with addiction, but activities like excessive gambling and distorted eating habits also fall into this category. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction, including alcoholism and "process" addictions like gambling, is "a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry."
Addiction seems to be rooted in the brain. Studies have found that addicts have trouble reaching and staying in the slower brainwaves of alpha and theta, frequencies that stimulate the brain to release self-soothing neurotransmitters like serotonin. Just as "night eaters" eat large quantities of carbohydrates at night to produce serotonin, addicts imbibe in alcohol, drugs, food, or gambling to produce this state of relaxation. Addicts may have too many fast brainwaves, like beta and too few slow waves. Too many fast brainwaves tend to create mental chatter and quieting of the mind may be what addicts are seeking. Drinking or drug-abuse is a way of slowing down the brainwaves and self-calming.
Contrary to popular belief, it's not the "high" that necessarily hooks you but the ability to simply feel OK that spurs on an addiction. Medical researcher Dr. Gene W. Brockopp believes that behaviour modification and addiction recovery is enhanced when the subject's dominant brainwave frequency is lowered into slower, more receptive brainwave frequencies and he believes brainwave tuning is an effective way to do this.
How Brainwave Tuning Helps with AddictionSlower brainwave frequencies like alpha and theta, when introduced to the brain, reduce the craving because of the release of serotonin, a feel-good hormone. Brainwave tuning may be able to help you bring your brainwaves in to a functional range so you no longer need your unwanted habit to feel calm and focused. It may facilitate your ability to allow more variations in your functioning through breaking up patterns at the neural level. Theta brainwave frequency is the transition zone between the conscious and subconscious where you can absorb new information in an uncritical, non-analytical fashion, thus, re-programming your mind. Brainwave tuning stimulates new neural pathways in the brain, allowing you to change your self-concept, permanently.
Modification of habitual behaviours can occur easily during the theta brainwave frequency. Brainwave tuning is an effective tool that can be used in conjunction with other behaviour therapies - including hypnotherapy. Studies show that it prevents relapse because the change in the brain that it produces, is permanent.
Individuals that used brainwave entrainment as a means to overcome addiction, were found to have a decrease in depression, anxiety and craving, facilitating a personal transformation. Brainwave entrainment can help with addiction at the core level, by re-wiring the brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry without the use of drugs.
How Hypnosis can help you become Smoke-freeIn this article I'm going to discuss the ways in which hypnotherapy can assist people in their goal of becoming smoke-free. When people talk about their emotions around smoking they describe feelings of comfort and balance. Smoking has the ability to soothe away anxieties and gives them a reason to take a deep breath of oxygen. It also provides an opportunity to take time out from the stresses of life or uncomfortable situations and provides a social outlet spending companionable time with fellow smokers.
Another benefit people cite with smoking is improved concentration and focus. This on the surface would seem to contradict the relaxation response described above. Never the less these emotions and the comforting rituals of smoking can make it difficult to give up. The smoking habit is hard-wired into the brain so smoking becomes the default setting that the subconscious puts into place and we act out accordingly.
So now let's look at how the two responses of relaxation and focus are possible using smoking for self-medication.To begin with, let's look at the brain wave patterns that are generated by nicotine. The most common wavelength that is generated by nicotine use is known as SMR (Sensory Motor Response). SMR brain waves frequencies (12-15 Hz) sharpen your focus and calm your mind. They enhance concentration, and at the same time help with stress, anxiety, mood issues and insomnia. We generate these SMR waves whenever we are engaged in simple tasks or hobbies that require a small amount of focus and are enjoyable. For example activities such as knitting, model making, doing jigsaws or crossword puzzles can all generate these relaxed yet focused brain waves. Smoking tobacco also generates SMR patterns. [Note: other forms of self-medication such as alcohol, cannabis, amphetamines etc have different signature brain waves associated with them].
Studies show that people with nicotine addiction often have less SMR activity within their brains than non-smokers. Whether this is a genetic propensity or caused by environmental factors, such as stress or fatigue, it means they have trouble physically relaxing and turning off their thoughts. Our brains will always crave balance, so one way of bringing a sense of balance back to the brain is to use an external substance such as cigarettes, which temporarily make us feel more balanced and relaxed. Nicotine increases relaxing SMR brain waves and produces an instant calming feeling and increased concentration.
Put simply, if you are stressed smoking will calm you, if bored it will focus you.
So how does hypnosis help becoming smoke-free?Hypnosis is a state of focused relaxation characterised by an increased suggestibility of the subconscious mind. It is simply the slowing down of brain waves into a pattern somewhere between 11 and 7 Hz. We can use the hypnotic state to address the subconscious mind more directly than during normal waking states. Based on my experience with neurofeedback brain wave training I have developed an SMR brain wave protocol to be used during hypnosis sessions, which is very effective for the treatment of nicotine addiction.
The technique works by presenting positive suggestions while the subconscious is in a receptive state. This suggestion can take the form of a phrase, which is used to trigger the desired SMR brain wave pattern (14 Hz). This helps regain a feeling of internal balance when you get the urge to use the external substance to either calm or focus you ie. smoking. You simply close your eyes and repeat your phrase. Over time you will have less and less need of the phrase as you program in new coping skills, reinforced by each success you have in controlling your nicotine addiction. As you feel more balanced neurologically and emotionally, you will find you will simply have less desire to smoke, as it will start to go against your natural feelings of balance.
There are plenty of reasons to give up smoking as I'm sure everyone knows, so I don't tend to waste too much time going over them. We know it's bad for our health and our wallet and aversion-type treatments tend to make us more nervous, which is counter-productive. When people feel healthy and emotionally balanced they naturally walk away from activities that no longer enhance their lives.
Repetition, repetition, repetition is the key ingredient in any good hypnosis outcome. This is because the brain needs to neurologically build up a new network to become the default setting for the subconscious mind. Listening to a reinforcement recording that is provided for you for 21 days without a break is very important. Over time this new habit pattern will become hard-wired into the brain, so that smoking becomes a thing of the past.
There are a few actions you can also take as you ease yourself into becoming smoke-free such as keeping a Quit Journal. Use it to write down your list of reasons to quit smoking eg. the pros and cons of smoking, goals you have in your life, benefits you can envisage as a nonsmoker. Once you quit you can use that journal to log your daily progress. If you make an effort to write in it once a day it will help with the reinforcing process, which is essential when undertaking any hypnosis treatment. Use it to remind yourself of how far you've come and as a tool to help you continue towards your goal if you start to forget.
Finally I also suggest making your quit day a significant date or connected to some ritual (which the subconscious mind loves). All of these things you can do for free to prepare yourself for making that transition to a smoke-free future.