Narcology. Aversive therapy

Alcoholism. A topic that does not cease to be relevant, no matter how healthy lifestyle propaganda is carried out in the media. A separate area of ​​medicine, narcology , deals with the problems of alcoholism . Aversive therapy is one of the stages of pharmacological treatment of patients with alcoholism, the purpose of which is to sharply increase the sensitivity of the human body to alcoholic beverages.   

For the implementation of aversive therapy, special medications are used, which include sensitizing substances. With the simultaneous administration of these drugs and alcohol, the patient develops an aversion to alcoholic beverages.

The most famous drugs of the group of pharmacological agents that form the basis of aversive therapy are ” Disulfiram ” and its derivatives – “Antabus”, ” Teturam “, ” Esperal “. Drugs that are based on disulfiram , are more gentle action and fewer side effects.

The essence of aversive therapy

The principle of action of drugs used in aversive therapy of alcohol dependence is blocking the functions of enzymes involved in the processing of ethyl alcohol. Under the action of ” Disulfiram ” or its derivatives, the breakdown of ethyl alcohol stops at the stage of acetaldehyde (acetaldehyde), which is an intermediate phase of the metabolic process.

As a result, toxic substances accumulate in the body and cause extremely unpleasant sensations in the patient, which, in fact, is what narcology is trying to achieve . Aversive therapy is the stage in the treatment of alcoholism, perhaps the most painful, because under the influence of drugs the patient is observed:   

– high blood pressure;

– tachycardia;

– flushing of the skin;

– respiratory cramps;

– rush of blood;

– severe throbbing headaches and dizziness;

– nausea;

– vomiting;

– deterioration of vision;

– noise in ears;

– feeling of causeless anxiety, fear of death.

This reaction occurs immediately. Within a few minutes after taking alcohol with medications-sensitizers, the patient begins to show all of the above symptoms. As a result, the person experiences disgust and fear of drinking. And this is the main goal of aversive therapy in the treatment of alcohol dependence.


The drugs used in narcology for the aversive therapy of alcohol dependence are extremely poisonous. It is impossible to prescribe them without preliminary examination of the patient. It is prohibited to use substances that lead to disulfiram- ethanol reactions without the consent and knowledge of the patient himself.    

Contraindications to aversive therapy are:

– pregnancy, lactation period;

– diabetes;

– cardiovascular diseases;

– liver pathology;

– epilepsy;

– convulsions;

– some mental illness.

It should also be noted that the effect of aversive therapy is not stable. After a while, the effect of the drugs weakens, the patient begins to feel much better, and it is possible that he will again become addicted to alcohol.

What does narcology aversive therapy, in particular, offer to consolidate the effect? So that the patient does not leave the feeling of disgust for alcohol, it is necessary to achieve such a state when a certain concentration of the drug will be in his blood for a long time.   

In this case, the dose of the drug should be strictly limited: a small amount of it will not give the desired result, a large amount will cause serious complications. Therefore, treatment is carried out under the constant supervision of a narcologist, and patients take Disulfiram according to an individually developed scheme, in strictly defined dosages.

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