Although hypnotherapy has been applied to alcoholism for over a century and is accepted by the AMA as a medically valid technique, the effectiveness of hypnosis in treating alcoholics remains controversial.
Systematic evaluation has been hampered by the unique role of hypnosis as a cultural artifact, by problems in defining and verifying hypnotic intervention, by individual and situational variation in hypnotizability, and by difficulty in separating hypnosis from the therapies to which it is applied. Clinicians using hypnosis are likely to continue to base their claims for its effectiveness on intuition, especially since no study has demonstrated that hypnotherapy is contraindicated for patients requesting its use.
Washington Area Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (WACADA). Originally published in 1989.