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A conditioning approach to the analysis and treatment of drinking problems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

S Glautier, D C Drummond

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)186-199
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Medical Bulletin
Volume50
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1994

King's Authors

Abstract

Drinking problems are a major public health concern and a significant part of this concern arises because drinking habits are very difficult to change once established; although many patients can detoxify successfully there is a high rate of relapse. This chapter describes the analysis and treatment of drinking problems using a behavioural approach based on the concepts and methods of classical conditioning. Recent evidence shows that alcoholic patients show a variety of physiological and subjective responses to the presentation of alcoholic drink cues and these responses may play a part in the regulation of drinking behaviour. The implication is that cue-exposure treatments ought to reduce drinking. In cue-exposure, responses to drink cues are extinguished by repeated presentation of the cue without allowing subsequent consumption of alcohol. The empirical evidence for the effectiveness of such treatments is described and the current status of the approach to the analysis and treatment of drinking problems will be summarised.

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