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AVERSION THERAPY

Aversion therapy is a treatment for alcohol addiction using aversion therapy. Normally when you ingest alcohol, it is first broken down into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde, but is then broken down by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase into acetic acid, which is harmless. In this treatment a drug is supplied called disulfiram, which blocks alcohol dehydrogenase so acetaldehyde builds up. This causes the unpleasant symptoms of dizziness, sickness, palpitations etc. The aim is to classically condition this sickness with alcohol so the user associates alcohol with unpleasantness.

This works very well in the short term, due to the unpleasant symptoms. If paired with social support from friends and family or counselling, this can be sustained. It deals effectively with the biological addiction to alcohol. However it does not take into account the psychological factors for why the person is abusing alcohol, so they could transfer their addiction onto something else. Relapse rates are very high when disulfiram is no longer given as the participant will be able to drink without the conditioned nausea, so the conditioning is extinguished. If no counselling or social support is given relapse is almost inevitable.

METHADONE TREATMENT

Methadone replaces heroin at the synapse, relieving the withdrawal symptoms and allowing the addict to cope without the drug. It also partially blocks the opiate rush making injecting less desirable. It is taken orally as a green liquid. It lasts around 24 hours so one daily dose can avoid the fluctuations experienced with heroin. The addicts are first assessed to determine the dosage, which they must then take while supervised at the pharmacy until considered trustworthy enough to self administer at home. Once the treatment is stabilised detoxification begins. The addict is checked at least every 3 months to monitor the level and stability of addiction, and to have urine checks to test for use of other drugs....
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