Hypnosis vs drugs

Does hypnosis have a placebo effect? Does hypnosis really work? 

How does it work? 

Is it not all just in the mind?

These are questions I am frequently asked and I am sure other hypnotherapists are often asked too. Take depression for example. How can a few sessions of hypnosis help lift depression when many people remain on medication long term – perhaps even for years trying to get rid of it? Here in the western world we traditionally assume that medical intervention is the only way to treat our ailments and issues.

We do not consider other alternative therapies as we see them as ‘mumbo jumbo’ forgetting that our grandparents relied more on natural remedies as medication as we know it today wasn't around. Less than 100 years ago the doctor was more likely to prescribe a shot of brandy than a pill as they were expensive or not even invented back then and the Welfare State had not been brought into practice at that time.


Medication is important and medical advice should always be sought before embarking on any alternative therapies, however, therapies such as hypnosis are completely safe and should not interfere with your doctor’s recommendations. Many patients begin a course of medical treatment without any afterthought as to how long the treatment will last. Very soon, it can become a crutch and they believe they cannot do without it. If the underlying cause is not addressed then the issue will remain.

Medication deals with the symptoms, whilst hypnosis can help deal with the root cause. Hypnosis works by changing the mindset enabling the patient to be healthier mentally which in turn can help alleviate the symptoms.    

Hypnosis uses a form of mindfulness to aid relaxation to benefit the therapy. We, in the western world, unlike some eastern cultures, as a rule, do not practice mindfulness and meditation. Our eastern cousins more or less live stress-free lifestyles, enjoying the many health benefits that go hand in hand with a healthy calm mind. They suffer from fewer ulcers, coronary problems, anxieties, cancers, suicides etc. that we experience in abundance in the west.

You see the mind is a powerful instrument which we do not give enough credit to. That is why placebos often work – the mind believes that the medication is working, so it does. Just like prayer - the person who believes in the power of prayer is able to overcome whatever obstacle that is in their way.

Take smokers for instance who believe that the nicotine they inhale helps calm their nerves despite the fact it is well known that it actually raises anxiety levels and increases the risk of developing panic disorders. They believe it works for them on some level, thus continues a vicious cycle. 

Nowadays, more and more people are open to learning more about hypnotherapy and other holistic therapies to aid any ailments troubling them. Hypnosis is a stand-alone treatment to help with a wide range of issues but can also be used hand in hand with more traditional, medical treatments. It is completely harmless and can complement medication until the person feels strong enough to wean themselves off prescription drugs with their doctor’s blessing.

So why choose hypnotherapy? Hypnosis works by bypassing the conscious mind and stimulating the unconscious mind which responds to the positive suggestions of the hypnotist. The psychology behind hypnosis allows the unconscious mind to work out the presenting problem without the interference from the critical, disbelieving conscious mind.

Let’s take a phobia for example – let’s choose fear of flying. There is no pill available to stop someone being scared of flying, only pills to aid relaxation and lessen the anxiety during the flight but they will still be scared of flying each and every time as the root cause has not been addressed. Hypnosis works on the underlying cause of the fear as to why they are afraid in the first place and helps them to resolve the issue in their mind. With hypnosis, the fear of flying will be gone as it addresses the symptoms and the underlying cause.

Find a good therapist who specialises in the problem you want resolved and ask for testimonials from satisfied clients. Hypnosis is an all-natural state which is gaining popularity in those who want an alternative choice or to complement traditional medication. More and more doctors are open to their patients seeking hypnotherapy as a viable alternative to medication in helping alleviate their problems.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Glasgow G2 & London W1H
Written by Biodun Ogunyemi, Certified Master Hypnotherapist ANLP,BNLP,SNLP,C.H,Dip.Hyp
Glasgow G2 & London W1H

Biodun Ogunyemi is the founder of Optimind, one of the leading hypnotherapy practices within the UK. He has practiced on Harley Street and is an experienced hypnotherapist, trained to the highest level in Advanced Hypnotherapy and NLP and is the author of over 180 hypnosis products.

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