Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Aversion Therapy

Aversion therapy is a type of behavior therapy designed to make a patient give up an undesirable habit by causing them to associate it with an unpleasant effect. With this, the patient is exposed to a stimulus while simultaneously being subjected to some form of discomfort. For example, a person undergoing aversion therapy to stop smoking might receive an electrical shock every time they view an image of a cigarette or the taste of the cigarette is very unpleasant or sickening. The goal of the conditioning process is to make the individual associate the stimulus with unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations. However, aversion therapy doesn't work for everyone; patients may appear to be treated by therapy, but once out of the view of doctors, where the drugs that keep them from going back to their habits or electric shocks are removed, they may feel able to return to their addictions or undesirable behavior hence the high rates of relapse. The video above gives a summary of how aversion therapy is used to treat individuals with different habits such as drinking, smoking, nail biting and others.


  1. I've always been interested in aversion therapy and whether it can have a long term effect. After learning more about conditioning and spontaneous recovery this semester, I've started to question how permanent it could be. I liked that you mentioned it may not have a lasting effect on addictions, therefore leading to relapse. Aversion therapy may be helpful to those with minor compulsions, however I feel like if you have the addiction gene, aversion therapy would not last.

  2. Aversion therapy is super interesting to me. I've luckily never needed to try it for any type of substance, but I see how it could be effective. I agree though that it may not last once the unpleasant or uncomfortable situation goes away.

  3. I find this to be super interesting. I have heard of this concept before, but didn't know what it was called. I have heard of this in regards to alcoholics getting therapy. I also find it interesting it is used for nail biting.