Habits & Addictions

The list of habits and addictions is enormous, varied and can be as individual as the sufferer. Nail biting, thumb sucking, hair pulling, self-harming, to name just a few. Smoking, alcohol and drug abuse are perhaps the extreme.

You can call me for a free no obligation telephone consultation to discuss how I may be able to help you. 07867 115 774

Habit formation is the process by which behaviour, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual

This is modelled as an increase in automaticity with number of repetitions up to an asymptote. This process of habit formation can be slow It has been suggested that the average time for participants to reach the asymptote of automaticity was 66 days with a range of 18–254 days.

As the habit is forming, it can be analysed in three parts: the cue, the behaviour, and the reward. The cue is the thing that causes your habit to come about, the trigger to your habitual behaviour. This could be anything that your mind associates with that habit and you will automatically let a habit come to the surface. The behaviour is the actual habit that you are exhibiting and the reward, a positive feeling, therefore continues the “habit loop. A habit may initially be triggered by a goal, but over time that goal becomes less necessary and the habit becomes more automatic.

A variety of digital tools, online or mobile apps, have been introduced that are designed to support habit formation. For example, habitrpg is a system that uses gamification, implementing strategies found in video games to real life tasks by adding rewards such as experience and gold. A review of such tools, however, suggests most are poorly designed with respect to theory and fail to support the development of automaticity.
With hypnotherapy there are techniques that are used to successfully treat and remove the habit.

Addiction is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. It can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviours. The two properties that characterize all addictive stimuli are that they are (positively) reinforcing (i.e., they increase the likelihood that a person will seek repeated exposure to them) and intrinsically rewarding (i.e., they activate the brain’s “reward pathways”, and are therefore perceived as being something positive or desirable)., a gene transcription factor, is now known to be a critical component and common factor in the development of virtually all forms of behavioural and drug addictions.

Hypnotherapy uses techniques which can help a person succeed in beating the addiction.

You can call me for a free no obligation telephone consultation to discuss how I may be able to help you. 07867 115 774

Addiction exacts a high toll on individuals and society as a whole through the direct adverse effects of drugs and associated healthcare costs, the functional consequences of altered neuroplasticity in the brain, and the loss of productivity. Classic hallmarks of addiction include impaired control over substances or behaviour, preoccupation with substance or behaviour, continued use despite consequences, and denial. Habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs).

Potential addictions can include, but are not limited to, exercise addiction, food addiction, drug addiction, computer addiction, sex addiction, shopping addiction, and gambling addiction. Currently, only substance addictions and gambling addiction are recognized by the DSM-5, which uses physical dependence and the associated withdrawal syndrome to identify an addictive state. Physical dependence occurs when the body has adjusted by incorporating the substance into its “normal” functioning – i.e., attains homeostasis – and therefore physical withdrawal symptoms occur upon cessation of use. Tolerance is the process by which the body continually adapts to the substance and requires increasingly larger amounts to achieve the original effects. Withdrawal refers to physical and psychological symptoms experienced when reducing or discontinuing a substance that the body has become dependent on. Symptoms of withdrawal generally include but are not limited to anxiety, irritability, intense cravings for the substance, nausea, hallucinations, headaches, cold sweats, and tremors.