Difference Between Aversion Therapy and Flooding

Therapy is the treatment of mental or psychological disorders by psychological means. It helps boost self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve social and community functioning.


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Supportive psychotherapy helps patients deal with problems related to mental illness and has an impact later in life.

Aversion therapy is a behavioral or treatment method aimed at reducing unwanted behavior of people through conditioning.

Flooding also knows as implosion therapy. It is a sort of therapy that fits through exposing the affected person at once to their worst fears.

Flooding is a method or treatment in which the individual is exposed to the high or strongest intensity of anything stimulus or object they are scared of or have anxiety over.

Aversion Therapy vs Flooding

“The difference between the two is that aversion therapy is a behavioral therapy used to treat or reduce someone’s problematic behaviors.

 In this therapy, a psychiatrist used pairing techniques like putting unpleasant-tasting materials at the fingernails to avoid nail chewing or using an emetic with alcohol.

On the other hand, flooding is a technique in which a man or woman is uncovered to the most powerful depth of something stimulus or an item they’re frightened of or have tension over.”

Aversion therapy is a method of treatment wherein someone is conditioned to dislike a positive stimulus because of its repeated pairing with an unsightly stimulus.

For example, someone looking to end/quit smoking might pinch their skin every time they crave a cigarette. This form of remedy is especially controversial.

Vivo exposure is the second name of flooding. Flooding is a method and approach used to overcome someone’s phobias. In this therapy, a psychologist exposed his patient to his fear or phobia.

This method is performed under managed situations. A patient replaces his fear with rest techniques, and for this psychiatrist recommends using psychologically-demonstrated rest techniques.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAversion TherapyFlooding
DefinitionIt is a behavioral therapy or a treatment method to reduce unwanted behaviors and habits.Flooding is a technique to treat or overcome fears and phobias.
Uses of therapyIt is used to treat behaviors like bad habits, smoking, addiction, etcIt treats phobias, PTSD, different disorders, and painful memories.
AdvantageIt helps to develop a form of resistance to habits and behaviors because no one wants to repeat negative experiences.It helps people overcome fears because continuous exposure to phobias decreases the level of anxiety or tension.
DisadvantageIt doesn’t treat or eliminate the root of the problem and focuses on behaviors.It could be traumatic, and there is a chance that fears spontaneously reappears.
TreatmentPairing, e.g., Putting unpleasant tasting materials at the fingernails to avoid nail chewing or using an emetic with alcohol.Exposing the patient to their fears using psychotherapeutic relaxation techniques.

What is Aversion Therapy?

Aversive therapy is a therapy or method of treatment which is used to get rid of unwanted and problematic behaviors. It is also called aversive therapy or aversive conditioning.

It is used to help people quit their unwanted bad behaviors and habits by associating them with something unpleasant.

There are some Addictive behaviors, like drinking alcohol, smoking, gambling, etc., and aversion therapy is used to treat these behaviors.

The treatment used for aversion therapy depends on the unwanted conduct or behavior being treated. Chemical aversion for alcohol use disorder is typically used in aversive therapy.

In this method, nausea is brought chemically to lessen a person’s yearning or craving for alcohol and put unpleasant-tasting materials at the fingernails to avoid nail chewing.

Some methods used for aversion therapy:

  1. Electric shock is used as a treatment method.
  2. Another kind of physical shock, e.g., a broken rubber band
  3. Unpleasant smells or tastes to avoid the bad behavior
  4. Negative image through visualization
  5. Shame is also used as a treatment method.

What is Flooding?

Flooding is a method of exposing someone to their phobias. It is a methodology of exposing a person to the strongest and high-intensity fervency of an impulse or object that a person fears or is fright.

In this method, the person suffering is exposed to tension or stress at its extreme intensity. The therapist recommends his patient relaxation techniques or method which helps perform the flooding activity.

Because with the help of this therapy affected person interrupts the affiliation of the occasion or stimulus by feeling tension and stress.

For example, if there is a person who is suffering from social situations or social anxiety is recommended to attend any celebration party or reception. But at that time, his clinician must be with him.

Main Differences Between Aversion Therapy and Flooding

  1. Aversion Therapy is a treatment method to eliminate people’s unwanted and problematic behaviors.
  2. Flooding is a treatment method of exposing people to their phobias to overcome them.
  3. Aversion Therapy is very helpful in treating people’s addictions, such as: Drinking alcohol, Smoking Gambling
  4. Flooding or Vivo therapy is very helpful in treating anxiety and PTSD etc.
  5. Aversion Therapy also has some side effects, e.g., it can increase anxiety and PTSD in patients.
  6. It is difficult for patients to stick with the treatment plans. It doesn’t treat the problems like PTSD completely. The problem can appear again after some time.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1973-31818-001
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0005796773901058
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