What is Aversion Therapy?
Aversion therapy is a type of behavioral modification that links an unpleasant stimulus with an undesirable behavior in order to alter how the brain associates that particular action. It may be effective for breaking certain habits such as smoking or alcohol abuse by pairing an unpleasant stimulus with unwanted behavior.
Therapists might show you photos of something related to the unhealthy habit you are trying to kick, such as cigarettes or drugs. Then they administer shocks or pinches in order to make the stimulus aversive.
Other types of aversion techniques include olfactory (using a strong smell like marijuana to condition you to avoid it), gustatory (consuming food that evokes the taste or sensation associated with an undesirable behavior), and visual imagery (showing pictures or images of negative consequences from doing something inappropriately), all which can help connect unwanted behavior to its negative consequence.
Some aversion therapies have been demonstrated to be successful in the short term; however, research on their long-term effects remains conflicted. For instance, a 1992 study discovered that 69% of people who had been using cocaine for years stopped drinking 30 or 90 days after receiving an aversion therapy.
However, it’s essential to be aware that cognitive behavioral therapy can be detrimental for those with underlying psychological issues or problems. Furthermore, the therapy could backfire, leading the person back into unhealthy habits if they are unaware of its negative effects.
Thankfully, modern and scientific treatments offer hope to those struggling with addiction or other bad habits. Start your free trial at BetterHelp today to get matched with the perfect therapist.