The long term research objective is completion of a scientifically valid controlled-outcome evaluation of three promising aversion therapy treatments of cocaine abuse. The three treatments are chemical (emetic) aversion therapy, electrical (faradic) aversion therapy and covert sensitization (verbal) aversion therapy. Covert sensitization is a verbal analogue of emetic therapy. Chemical aversion and covert sensitization treatments will repeatedly pair placebo or imagined cocaine consumption with nausea that is induced either by emetic drugs or by noxious verba suggestions. Faradic therapy will pair such consummatory experiences with unpleasant but tolerable electric shocks that are delivered to subjects' wrists. Subjects of the experimental evaluation will be volunteers who are undergoing treatment for cocaine abuse in the Augusta VA Medical Center Addiction Treatment Unit. Subjects will be randomized to one of the three experimental treatments or to one of two appropriate control treatments. They will receive extensive biological and psychological testing before treatment and psychophysiological monitoring during treatment in an attempted identification of individual-subject variables that may be effective predictors of successful outcome. A six-month post treatment evaluation will feature rigorous and multidimensional follow-up that includes interviews with collateral contacts and field testing of subjects. The need for improved treatment of cocaine abuse is manifest. All these of the treatments that are to be evaluated give empirically and theoretically based indications that they may facilitate abstinence maintenance through the induction of cocaine aversions and/or reduced cocaine cravings. It is hypothesized that one or more of the experimental treatments will have a significant positive impact on abstinence maintenance.
|Elkins, R L (1991) An appraisal of chemical aversion (emetic therapy) approaches to alcoholism treatment. Behav Res Ther 29:387-413|