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Aversion Therapy

Categories: Therapy

“The aversion therapy is considered a type of psychological treatment, where patients will be exposed to different types of stimulus and at the same time it will experience some type of discomfort (Lieberman, 2012). ”This treatment is based on the principles of classical conditioning; using classical conditioning to get rid of addictions or unwanted behaviours. Patient’s unwanted addiction is paired with a drug that makes them sick. “Aversion therapy can be used with alcoholics. Alcohol is paired with an emetic drug (a drug which causes nausea and vomiting).

Over time the alcoholic associate’s alcohol with being sick and does not want to drink alcohol anymore (Dufresne, 2010). ” The Little Albert study showed that classical conditioning principles can be used to give a fear response. The aversion therapy tries to use conditioning to make the patient associate that type of stimulus with a sensation which is unpleasant, with the purpose of stopping that type of behavior in the future.

The alcohol aversion therapy is considered to be biologically based and it tries to make the patient associate this form of addiction with an outcome which is negative.

Aversion therapy is a type of therapy that teaches an alcoholic to associate some type of negative outcome with getting drunk. Aversion therapy is a way of conditioning the recovering alcoholic to not like alcohol because of the negative effects that alcohol has on them thus breaking the cycle of addiction (admin, 2011). ” Aversion therapy can be an excellent form of treatment for individuals who are addicted to alcohol, this form of treatment that utilizes behavioral principles to eliminate unwanted behavior.

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In this therapeutic method, the unwanted stimulus is repeatedly paired with discomfort. The goal of the conditioning process is to make the individual associate the stimulus with unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations. “The overall effectiveness of aversion therapy can depend upon a number of factors, including the methods used and whether or not the client continues to practice relapse prevention after treatment is concluded. In some instances, the client may return to previous patterns of behavior once they are out of treatment and no longer exposed to the deterrent (Cherry). Aversion therapy uses the behavioral approach principles that new behavior can be ‘learnt’ in order to overcome addictions, obsession. Because everyone responds differently to alcohol abuse treatment, no single type of treatment is guaranteed to be effective for everyone. Alcohol abuse aversion treatment is a means of helping the addict to not want to use alcohol because they have learned how to associate negative experiences with the use of alcohol.

Certain medications can also be used to cause such negative effects making aversion therapy even more effective. This particular behavioral therapy works on the principle that all behavior is learned. It follows, then, that if all behavior is learned then it can be unlearned. Some clinicians have reported that patients undergoing aversive treatment utilizing electric shocks have experienced increased anxiety and anxiety-related symptoms that may interfere with the conditioning process as well as lead to decreased acceptance of the treatment.

Few clinicians have reported a worrisome increase in hostility among patients receiving aversion therapy, especially those undergoing treatment using chemical aversants. Although aversion therapy has some adherents, lack of rigorous outcome studies demonstrating its effectiveness, along with the ethical objections, have generated numerous opponents among clinicians as well as the general public.

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Aversion Therapy. (2016, Sep 29). Retrieved from

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