I, like many of you, am saddened by the death of actor Robin Williams. He really seemed to have everything a person can wish for: a beautiful wife and family, great friends and colleagues, a great career, fame, money, talent, etc., Recently, they said that he was on the early stages of Parkinson’s disease which may or may not have played a role in his decision to commit suicide. I recently watched one of his movies, Ms. Doubtfire, and it was bitter-sweet watching him on the screen. He truly was a gifted comedian and a unique actor.

He was definitely someone who had access to kinds of medical and alternative treatments on the planet. So, what happened? I know as a fact that drugs and alcohol are not only addictive substances, but they also change how the brain works. These substances help users find temporary relief from whatever painful stuff they are going through, they help people “escape” in a way, which is why people become addicted in the first place. But they don’t come without a price. Drugs, let’s take cocaine as an example, reduce the number of dopamine receptors in the brain. So when people want to get “clean”, not only do they have to face reality as it is, but also go through the withdrawal symptoms of those toxic substances. And it doesn’t happen overnight. For some, in the case of cocaine, the brain can take months to heal, for others, it might take years. This is why prevention and education are so important.

However, we can think of people like Robert Downy Jr. and Fergie from the Black eyed peas who were deep into drugs and yet were able to successfully become clean and get their careers back on track. So why can some people do this and others can’t no matter how hard or how many times they seem to try? I think a lot of factors come into play: having a good support system is crucial, appropriate help, lifestyle changes, environment and social changes (for some, certain places or people can trigger the desire to consume) and I think, maybe even more important than anything else, having an honest desire to live.

Hypnosis is not a magic bullet in any way to overcome addictions but it is complementary modality to medical treatment, drug counseling, detoxification and twelve step programs. It can help someone dive deep into their subconscious mind to heal the past, find self-love and compassion within, develop resilience, cope better with cravings, increase motivation, relaxation, mental clarity, hope and optimism.

What if Robin Williams had found a great hypnotist who had been able to guide him through the process of changing and healing while taking part in a 12 step program? Maybe, just maybe, this world would not have lost someone who enjoyed making people laugh despite the pain he carried inside.