Addiction and Dopamine
Addiction can be one of the hardest things in our lives to turn round. We may be able to rapidly “switch off” a phobia using hypnosis. And we may be surprised how quickly and effectively it is possible to release ourselves from anxiety and stress once we have the right tools to do so.
So why do addictions often take more time to resolve?
One reason is the complex neural and mental programmes working beneath our awareness and continuing to drive us however hard we try to resist.
We all live with addiction of some sort. Food, TV, Facebook, Video games, Alcohol etc. These are not bad habits as long they are under a certain amount of control. But when they are accompanied by negative changes in our daily life then it really is time to address them.
Do you recognise a warm relaxing feeling of pleasure and reward that your addiction gives you?
That feeling is the brain chemical dopamine and it plays a large part in the reason we get addicted. Addiction will follow the easy way to get dopamine hits. A dopamine hit that we have to earn is not as attractive as a dopamine hit we can get instantly. And soon we are locked into a cycle that takes over the brain and literally starts rewiring it!
Think this dopamine model doesn’t apply to you?
To change an addictive behaviour it is important to recognise what is happening on an unconscious level and bring it to a conscious level. For instance I just walked away from my computer to take some washing out of the machine. Nothing abnormal about that but…I then realised that emptying the machine gave me a little more dopamine reward than writing this post. When I have finished this post I will get a feeling of satisfaction and reward. But I will have to wait for that reward until I have finished.
Emptying the washing machine gives me feeling of satisfaction and reward that I can get NOW! And the point is that it is fractionally more than I get from relentlessly typing on the computer keyboard!
Just start to notice these subtle triggers in your daily life
Now is the time to start controlling any destructive habits. Hypnosis, NLP, EFT and EMDR are powerful tools to help you kick the old habits. As you start to recognise these subtle triggers you may be very surprised at what is happening.
Knowledge is the first key to achieving change. The second is having the tools to make the change. A good professional therapist will have the tools and knowledge to help guide and support you all the way.
Roger Foxwell MBSCH Dhyp DHP
Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, NLP, EMDR