The cure for Alcoholism? A French cardiologist by the name of Olivier Ameisen is claimed to have discovered the cure for alcoholism. While running his successful practice he was severely stricken by an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. He felt like imposter waiting to be unmasked and found relief in large quantities of whisky and gin.
Having spent years in clinics without success, he heard of an American man that used Baclofen for muscle spasms and found that it helped ease his addiction for cocaine. Baclofen is a powerful muscle relaxant. On further researching Baclofen, Dr Ameisen discovered this medicine had cut addiction to alcohol or cocaine in rats.
The curious Dr Ameisen began treating himself with daily doses of five milligrams of Baclofen and he found that "the first effects were a magical muscular relaxation and baby-like sleep". Almost immediately he also detected a lessening in his desire for drink. He increased his daily dosage gradually to a maximum of 270mg of Baclofen, and found that he was "cured". He continued to take 30 to 50mg a day. Dr Ameisen died in 2013 aged sixty.
A hypnotherapists Opinion
As a Clinical Hypnotherapist I haven’t studied medicine and I’m not giving any medical advice here. But I have made some observations as a hypnotherapist and here’s my opinion: Baclofen is not a cure for alcoholism, Dr Ameisen was not cured from alcoholism and it’s doubtful that any medicine can cure alcoholism. Let me explain:
Baclofen is not a cure for Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a form of self-medication. Alcoholics are just people that use alcohol to relax themselves. Swopping alcohol for Baclofen as such is not a cure; it’s just employing a different muscle relaxant. At best it’s a treatment for alcoholism and comes with side effects.
Dr Ameisen was not cured from Alcoholism
While I am pleased that Dr Ameisen found some relief from alcohol, he was still not free from it. Instead of being dependant on alcohol, Dr Ameisen became dependent on Baclofen as he continued to take 30 to 50mg a day. If he stopped taking Baclofen would he not still need alcohol? Would he have reverted back to alcohol or would he have found another substance in its place?
It’s doubtful that any medicine can cure Alcoholism
Dr Ameisen was treating the symptoms of alcoholism and not the cause of alcoholism. It’s clear that in his case at least that the cause was emotional and not physical. He felt inadequate. He felt like an imposter. These feelings caused him distress which in turn made him tense. He used alcohol or Baclofen to suppress the tension in his body. He merely suppressed the symptoms (effects) of the emotions and did not treat the emotional cause.
Dr Ameisen was a physician, and physicians are trained to treat the physical. I am sure that as long as he felt inadequate about himself he would need something to suppress the tension in his body. I don't know of any medicine that can deal with a person’s feelings of inadequacy.
Why is Analytical Hypnotherapy Different?
To outright cure alcoholism I propose two things need to be done. First, the cause of the alcoholism needs to be removed and second the habit of using alcohol has to be removed. Instead of treating the symptoms it would be far better to find the emotional cause and fix it. The emotional cause in this case was a feeling of inadequacy as described by Dr Ameisen himself. As Jung said “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Emotions are generated in the subconscious mind.
As a hypnotherapist I would have helped Dr Ameisen find the reason for this feeling. I would have helped him to become conscious of whatever made him feel inadequate at an unconscious level. I would then have helped this doctor to change this incorrect opinion of himself permanently. I would help him to feel worthy. This can only be done at a subconscious level and would lead to a more relaxed mind and body. He would have been more at peace with himself.
With his self-confidence restored I would then have spend several sessions with him helping him to remove the habit portion of drinking problem. Habits are subconscious too.
I think this method of treating alcoholism is a more permanent and satisfactory method than using medication.
Troy Robins - Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Oxford & Witney, Oxfordshire in the UK.