If you’ve ever had a craving for chocolate, potato chips or anything else, you know how insistent that craving can be.
The thought slips into your mind unnoticed, “I must eat chips”. Soon, it starts nagging insistently until you absolutely can’t ignore it.
When fighting a craving, you’re fighting against yourself. That stacks the odds heavily against you. You might be able to push the craving away with willpower, but that doesn’t always work. Sometimes it’s just easier to give in.
Hopefully, you’ve been fortunate enough to never experience drug cravings.
Drug cravings hold their victims in a powerful vice that is incredibly hard to overcome by willpower alone.
However, a clinical study (Wolpe, 1964) from the University of Virginia Medical School in Charlottesville, seems to have found a very effective method to kill cravings as soon as they arise, giving drug addicts a real fighting chance to overcome their lethal addictions.
Physician suffering from a 3-year Demerol (Pethidine) addiction uses electric jolt device to control cravings
The study centers around a physician who had been suffering from a Demerol (Pethidine) addiction for three years.
He had first started injecting the drug as a means of dealing with stress at work. However, he eventually realized the cravings for the drug were hitting him even when he was not stressed.
His addiction had been seriously affecting his work, marriage and social life, making him increasingly demoralized and depressed. Three years of psychoanalysis had brought him no benefit.
In an attempt to stop the cravings at the onset, the patient was given a portable device that would allow him to give himself distinctly strong jolts every time he felt a craving to inject the drug.
Patient finds electric jolts eliminate cravings and make these cravings considerably weaker after just 1 week of self-treatment
After one week of using the electric jolt device, the patient found his cravings to be considerably weaker. A few weeks later he had a dream about the drug, but instead of pleasant feelings, this time it “was accompanied by a feeling of revulsion” (Wolpe, 1964).
Within just two months, the cravings were so weak the man was able to control them by himself without needing to resort to the portable electric jolt device.
However, after the third month he was hit by a very strong craving. Unfortunately, he was unable to use the electric jolt device to control his impulse and resorted to using the drug. Additionally, the psychiatrist he was now seeing had not resumed the electric jolt treatment, and the addiction persisted.
Electric jolts successful in other drug addiction cases
The clinical study mentioned above, although initially very successful, had a less than desirable ending due to lack of follow-up.
However, there are numerous other case studies where addictions such as chronic marijuana and heroin use have been successfully treated using electric jolts. In fact, 80+ years of research have found this method effective against all sorts of habits and compulsive behaviors including smoking, alcoholism, overeating, and gambling.
Wolpe, J. (1964). Conditioned inhibition of craving in drug addiction: A pilot experiment. Behaviour Research And Therapy, 2(2-4), 285–288. http://doi.org/10.1016/0005-7967(64)90035-x