Treatments- Aversion Therapy Essay Plan

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Aversion Therapy
psychological treatments for substance abuse
Aversion Therapy is based on behaviourist principles Uses classical conditioning (learning takes
place by creating associations between
that occur in the same environment, which
was demonstrated by Pavlov's dogs and
Description of Aversion Therapy The drink or cigarette is paired with an emetic
Before treatment: Emetic (unconditioned stimulus) causes
vomiting (unconditioned stimulus)
During treatment: Emetic (US) is paired with Alcohol (neutral
After treatment: Alcohol (conditioned stimulus) cause vomiting
(conditioned response)
Smith and Frawley study 65% of ppts reported abstaining from alcohol 12 months after
high success rate
Results are consistent with others Meyer and Chesser found 50%
abstinence, Elkins found 60% abstinence
Can't generalise to other drugs
Aversive conditioning weakens with time Schuckit found that the effects of Aversion Therapy
off over time
Hospitals offer reinforcement treatment, if used on two
occasions in the first year, ppts are more likely to be
abstinent (69%) then those without (29%)
Ethics of Aversion Therapy Use of emetics and electric shocks raises ethical concerns and may
in a high dropout rate
Cost Schuckit reported aversion therapy made up only 1% of treatments for substance abuse in
USA due to it being very expensive. not very accessible
Self management therapy Studies show that there is a relapse rate of 40% in the first 12 months,
smoking study, 86% of ppts from nonsmoking households abstained
12 months, compared to 14% from smoking households self
management therapies needed to help individual cope with triggers
social norms
Could be argued it is more effective as it involves the individual taking

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Combination of therapies is found to be most effective A multi modal approach offers both
emotional and psychological treatment,
which cannot be delivered by one therapy…read more


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