Cornelius Counselling Addiction Drugs Alcohol Tobacco Cannabis Cocaine

Why anxiety is often the root cause of addiction

Most of us experience events in our lives at some time that are triggers for emotion and can transform into acute stress and the development of anxiety. Everyday events, the fast pace of life today, with technology making more and more demands on our time, become catalysts that grip the nervous system and strain the digestion through the impulses being connected to the solar plexus.

Anxiety is characterised as a sense of helplessness in the face of negative emotions stemming from a lack of control of life events.

The problem is the way it develops into a more complex condition that compounds the initial tension and uncomfortable feelings.  There can be an uncontrollable urge to prevent experiencing some recurring negative event.  Attempts to avoid the anxiety becomes more intense and pronounced.

Many find it to be constricting, all consuming emotion that can be paralysing leading to a strong sense of vulnerability through a burgeoning sense of threat or danger.  The strategy in finding a way out to alleviate it, and the various solutions open to society can themselves be further paralysing and restrictive actions, removing natural cognitive patterns and behaviours.  This is all counter productive in an individual’s right for peace and happiness.

The paralysing grip of anesthetising substances

What I am leading up to is the paralysing grip of anesthetising substances that may initially appear to be a manageable solution, but soon take control of your life. In this section I have discussed four of the main substances leading to addiction that stem from anxiety, stress, anger, which may be related to the workplace, relationships, partnerships, adverse childhood experiences and which constitute the main focus of my practice. Perhaps I can help YOU?

Perhaps You Need Help?

The four key addictions I deal with are listed below however there are others. Click on the link below the relevant photo below or scroll down the page for further information on each issue. Alternatively get in touch with me via the contact page, phone or email.

An Overview Of Drug Addiction – Cannabis

Using drugs such as cannabis can start out as a dare in school and feel grown up, or it can be a pressure to be part of a social group that escalates and at the same time debilitates the user.

It becomes the friend in times of trouble and emotional trauma but has an underlying power and control over the will of the user. The problem is that it moves from a comfort to a nightmare and we see cases of drug related crimes and deteriorating relationships, inability to carry on working, unexpected car accidents, mental fatigue and inability to cope.

Consumption of cannabis has grown substantially beyond even cocaine particularly in the West

World Health Organisation

Statistics from WHO tell us that consumption of cannabis has grown substantially beyond even cocaine, particularly in the West. Similar to tobacco, it may be affordable, but has devastating side effects over the long term. Constant use, over a number of years can cause illnesses such as lung disease and bronchitis, leading to pneumonia as well as trachea.

Thinking Of Quitting Cannabis?

If you are reading this, then you are probably aware of the pitfalls of using “Weed”, but may also feel able to justify that there are benefits, otherwise why would other countries like USA and our own Scotland decide to decriminalise the drug?  It is merely to reduce the appeal of ‘forbidden fruit’.  So, bear with me while we look at some research and then you can make up your own mind whether this addiction should definitely be addressed for better long-term wellbeing.

Being such a widely debated subject it is difficult for me, as an academic, not to look at the research and present some facts, but I do so also as a sympathetic listener to those clients I have already helped kick the habit, in the hope that I can help you!  I do so from many years first-hand experience of the devastating effects drugs and alcohol combined can bring to both individuals and loved ones.

Relief From Anxiety and Depression? Wrong!

One of the reasons why cannabis is often used is to relieve anxiety and depression. Unfortunately it is not correct as it has the opposite effect.  Drugs know no boundaries or postcodes and has tempted young people into the trade with long term catastrophic effects on their young lives. Virtually one in five 16-24 year olds used cannabis in the last year.

“Drugs devastate lives. They ruin communities and they tear families apart.”

The current Home Secretary

Let Us Look At Some Of The Facts

  • Chemicals in Cannabis used mainly from the flower – Cannabinoids
  • THC (delta-9-tetra hydrocannabinol) which gives the HIGH including anxiety, paranoia and other mental health issues;
  • CBD  (cannabidiol) which has the medicinal properties and reduces anxiety and paranoia.

There are various methods of absorption, according to Copeland et al in the book Quit Cannabis (2015):


Some users mix cannabis with tobacco increasing the effects on the lungs and inducing nicotine addiction also.  The expectation of a state of euphoria soon descends into mood swings, anxiety and depression, as well as risking respiratory disease and cancer. The British Lung Foundation state that three joints are equivalent to 20 cigarettes.


This method involves baking in cakes, sweets etc. and once consumed, has a delaying effect with extended sensations which may be as a result of intake of more than you might realise, with an outcome of anxiety, paranoia and hallucination. The drug has to be processed by the liver, which heightens the risk of reaction to the drug.


Unfortunately, using Cannabis with other sedating substances such as alcohol or medications such as Valium, increases the effects. The result is nausea and vomiting, panic, anxiety and paranoia. There are risks with heart rate and blood pressure which may lead to heart attacks, not to mention the reduced fertility side effects. The THC interferes with the natural functioning Endogenous Cannabinoid System and then withdrawal occurs, when ceasing the habit.


There are those users who believe cannabis is helping them to sleep better, but here again this is a misnomer. The consumption disrupts the sleep pattern, rather similar to excessive alcohol intake, which reverses the sleep pattern, and the dependent ends up not being able to sleep at all without the drug.


Because you are not in a natural state, judgement is impaired, along with co-ordination, concentration, and time orientation – all these reactions impact detrimentally on the ability to be an alert driver, with high risk of accidents.


Those young people who are encouraged to partake (often as a dare or to support pressure from dealers) risk overdosing, coma and death when taken in food.

It is a fact that users may resort to cannabis to ease their depressive thoughts, but it does make the dark feelings worse and can generate mental health issues.

Deciding To Quit Cannabis

Deciding to quit the habit is a commendable one and you are worthy of support (a) to help you stop in the first place, which is simply achieved through hypnotherapy and (b) to maintain the abstinence clearly through regular counselling support, and that of family members. Initially there may be some experience of withdrawal, namely mood swings, anxiety and depression with some adjustment to eating patterns while your body and mind regulates, and this may take up to three weeks.

It seems from the above overwhelming negative effects of the drug push towards the positive step here of stopping the habit and making some life changes. If you are positive about giving up then you will achieve it and I can help with hypnosis. Copeland et al give further techniques to overcome uncertainty with respect to writing down your expectations and affirmations. This is an excellent approach and may help you as a step towards addressing any misgivings about commencing that journey on the road to recovery.

Get in touch with me via the contact page, phone or email.

Alcohol Related Problems and Dependence

Alcohol is a powerful and potentially destructive substance, but it has been widely accepted throughout the world for centuries. It is easily produced and more widely available than a great many other substances whose effect on mood, perception and behavior are regarded with fear. The use of alcohol in a negative way is an issue that impacts on all walks of life in our society today. Unfortunately, it is no longer just the domain of alcoholics but reaches from suburban housewives, young adults to city professionals, and many are using or misusing alcohol to cope with the stress of modern living.

The Department of Health provides statistics showing that there were over a million alcohol related admissions to hospital in 2009/10 which increased from 12% in 2008/9. The NHS and Department of Health recommend the following :

– Men should not regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol a day; and
– Women should not regularly drink more than two to three units per day.

Most people who have alcohol-related health problems are not alcoholics; they just drink more than the recommended level over a long period of time. Most people who become addicted to alcohol start by drinking socially, but quickly learn that alcohol provides some relief from the stress and pressure of daily living. Society today is changing and now we see binge drinking escalating in our young adults. This, of course, can be responsible for health problems later in life such as cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, cancer and heart attacks. High levels of alcohol consumption can also be responsible for poor sleep patterns. At these high levels of consumption you are likely to develop aggressive mood swings and altered behaviour which may cause distress and damage to family relationships.

Having lived in a relationship with an alcohol dependent partner, I experienced the reality of its destructive influence on my daily living and the effect on those in the immediate environment.  Life was a rollercoaster with its inevitable negative influences –  this past experience has given me the resolve to focus on helping those in this situation with the help of counselling and hypnotherapy which is very therapeutic and successful for those who genuinely wish to bring change to their lives.  This process helps those who have already stopped the dependence to continue on the road to recovery and as a teetotaler.

A major risk is that you will become an alcoholic – a drinker trapped by your need to keep drinking. A large percentage of the world’s population is dependent on alcohol and disabled by drinking, and this ranks among the world’s major public health problems.

Hypnotherapy and counselling represent very positive ways forward in seeking to control your consumption or change behaviour, as well as help and support for family members who have to cope with alcoholic behaviour.

I offer a free consultation to anyone wishing to find out more about the healing benefits of hypnotherapy, so please do not hesitate to contact me.

Tobacco, Cigarettes, Roll-ups and Cigars

Millions of people have a habit that is so well ingrained that it almost seems as if it is a reflex action – smoking has its own form of satisfaction. Do you light up the first cigarette each morning when you get up? From then on it’s a cigarette every half hour, perhaps a pack and a half a day?

You may have forgotten the original reason why you started this habit, or found it started with no apparent reason?

Now that you feel you want to end the habit, you have felt it is more or less impossible. All the convincing health data and scare tactics of the media don’t seem to influence you.

With the price of cigarettes rising to almost £10 and over for some brands due to recent consecutive budget increases, why not consider hypnosis to help you stop? If you want to change your behavior you must recognize the reason or reasons why you smoke and this cause lies in your subconscious.

I am able to help you stop smoking in one session of one-and-half hours and recommend a further session to reinforce this treatment. The technique that I use is that of the London College of Clinical Hypnosis which has proven success in smoking cession.

Success will differ according to the individual. It is necessary to realize that not everyone responds to hypnosis and if the need to cease smoking is not absolute, then it may influence your success.

I offer a free consultation to anyone wishing to find out more about the healing benefits of hypnotherapy, so please do not hesitate to contact me.

Cocaine Addiction

The nature of cocaine addiction is the act of slowly sinking into a spiralling abyss – you think you can control it but cocaine ends up controlling you. We can look at all the medical research and the psychological reasons why for a behaviour that basically provides a brief euphoria but at a heavy physical and social price.

There is no real medical treatment that has been approved in the USA and there seems a lack of awareness of the need for more effective treatment.

Before continuing, I am going to share with you some of the research I have found that has been done recently, over the past few years. Research undertaken on the ability of dexamphetamine and amphetamine salts to positively treat cocaine dependence, carried out by Peter Blanken (et al) in 2018 shows that it can be more effective than the medications such as methadone and buprenorphine. However, further research in the US by Christine Meade (et al) cite cocaine use as a very real, world problem with approximately 5.5 million people who are users of which 1 million developed cocaine use disorder, or physical consequences. This research looked at MRI evidence for long term effects of chronic abuse on brain function and the fact of the influence on negative behaviours that result in disease, crime and violence.

In terms of effects on the physical body it was found that the spleen can be the most affected due to shrinkage discovered during research in Tokyo by Moeka Nomura this year, when cocaine was given to rats and showed a reduction in red blood cells and increase in collagen in the spleen. Other negative outcomes about such as cardiovascular disturbance along with abdominal complications which induce the rupture in the spleen and therefore affect the immune system, since it monitors the blood and these deficiencies may encourage depressive feelings.  

Women become addicted to cocaine faster than male counterparts.

Interestingly, it has been shown that women become addicted to cocaine faster than male counterparts. Jane Maxwell in an article for the Addiction Research Institute in 2020 also discussed the effects of cardiovascular (heart) issues and neurological (cognitive) resulting symptoms such as seizures, slurred speech, headaches, hallucinations, along with nausea and possibly anorexia (Leikin & Poloncek 1998).

It also seems there is a time lapse from the start of cocaine use to seeking treatment anything from 8 to 15 years. The use of the drug has become more common place, accepted along with other addictive substances, and the risks ignored; this will have a knock-on effect to society. 

Trying to hide the habit becomes more difficult as the body becomes adapted and struggles to maintain this illusion without complaining by sending messages to you through illness and disease that is saying it is time to STOP.  

So, what to do about it? The alcoholic has the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and the Twelve Step Programme at their disposal. This involves an acknowledgement that you are powerless to handle it alone. Being able to see the masochistic tendency to punish yourself for some negative emotional reaction to an adverse environmental occurrence, or belief. Absorption into the material, physical world with no realisation of the spiritual wonders of man’s Soul within. We are talking about the other side of life and purpose on Earth, often overlooked.  Anyone who has come to the decision to change their life for the better has had a “Light-bulb Moment”, which to be more accurate, they “Saw the Light”. (It happened to Bill Wilson – see section on Alcohol for his experience)

What is that ‘Light’, but the dazzling realisation that help is available through communication with GOD. If only you will see-k it!  Understanding that our body is a temple for our God-given Soul, to be preserved, through temperate approaches to life, meditation and yoga. It is possible to find true happiness with the help of spiritual intervention and a determined heart.

Where, then, do I come into this? 

Well, if you thought you could stop snorting tomorrow, how would you feel? If you have that “Light-bulb” moment, in other words, you could suddenly ‘see’ a way out of the trap, that dark tunnel, that you are caught in, and genuinely seek to change, then hypnotherapy is a positive route that could work for you! To provide you with the strength and fortitude through the hypnogogic meditative state to get in touch with the Wisdom of the Inner Spirit, and to see it through with God’s help. This would be the first STEP on the Ladder to Fulfilment.

I offer a free consultation to anyone wishing to find out more about the healing benefits of hypnotherapy, so please do not hesitate to contact me.

Many Reasons For Dependence

Those individuals I have been able to help have found the difficulties associated with giving up a habit – the numerous reasons why they maintained the habit range from some of the following:

  • A childhood habit that becomes a way of life
  • Social acceptance in groups or companionships
  • Boredom and lack of motivation
  • Dis-functional marital relations – a way to cope – feeling trapped
  • Overwhelming responsibilities from broken relationships and children to support
  • Parents divorced when children were young
  • Parental addiction and abuse

These issues can lead to insecurities through life.

My Clients Driven To Change

From these points we see a pattern but deep down, those clients I see genuinely want to stop the habit and change their life. I try to help them see that in order to stop, we need to deal with the underlying reasons that keep the habit in control. So, whilst having a hypnotherapy treatment will immediately remove the desire to use the drug (I emphasise that it must be the recipient’s genuine wish to stop) it is important to understand what issues motivate it need to be addressed.

“The genuine excitement I experience in a recovering user is wonderful to see, as they find their life changing for the better.”

Mary White

The genuine excitement I experience in a recovering user is wonderful to see, as they find their life changing for the better, and realise they can be who they want to be without it. It may mean dealing with that dis-functional relationship and having the courage to move on – nothing lasts forever and people change over time – what may have worked in the beginning may not work today.

The Impact of COVID 19

Being forced into an environment through lockdown that is toxic, and possibly abusive can lead to acute anxiety

Another issue is the past year of Covid19 and the pandemic that still rages in the world, and how this has changed not only our lives but the whole world. Being forced into an environment through lockdown that is toxic, and  possibly abusive can lead to acute anxiety and a feeling of not knowing how to cope or see the way out, or the way forward for the future.

Some of the most stressful experiences are hidden within relationship breakdown and divorce, death of a loved one, losing or changing jobs and having to move home.

Other relationship experiences that can manifest and affect self-esteem are bullying by partners, colleagues and/or family members creating guilt issues.

The relief from anxiety can be the key to unlocking the solutions

Talking through serious issues such as these can help to find a way through and out of a situation, or to understand and release negative emotion; things may not be as bad as they seem when faced alone. The relief from anxiety can be the key to unlocking the solutions.

Hypnotherapy and Meditation Solutions

Using hypnotherapy as meditation will help individuals to see that they hold the key within themselves and this inner wisdom needs to be allowed to surface and to guide them on their journey of recovery and leave the fog of negative thoughts and habits in the past. There may be some immediate discomfort – withdrawal, struggling to eat normally, moodiness for a while, but consider the bliss of that freedom when the anxiety and addiction disintegrates.

First Light of a New Dawn

Allowing that inner light of positivity to shine through in the meditative hypnogogic state will change your life.

First light of a positive new life beyond anxiety and addiction using hypnotherapy and meditation

For more information contact:

Cornelius Counselling & Hypnotherapy
01732 822 172 or 07990 981 004