Cue exposure

The smell or sight of alcoholic drinks can be a powerful stimulus to drinking. Initial studies (3!' have shown that 'deconditioning' by exposing inpatients to the sight and smell of their preferred drinks in a laboratory setting, without drinking, was associated in the coming 6 months with a longer period without a relapse. The approach is challenged by those who recognize overconfidence as a precursor of relapse. Although patients should not expect that to be in a bar will inevitably result in heavy drinking, they should not court danger. Bars are places where people go to drink. Cue exposure studies need to be replicated.

Couples should decide together whether to have alcohol in the house. However, patients should not be encouraged to 'test themselves'.

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