Behavior Modification Treatment (BMT) is a form of therapy that is based on BF Skinner’s – a famed psychologist – theory of operant conditioning. Skinner theorized that the majority of behaviors that people exhibit and act out are developed through learning, and these behaviors are reinforced by the consequences that are associated with a behavior. According to Skinner, operant conditioning occurs throughout an individual’s lifetime and it continuously affects the decisions that are made. For example, when one makes a decision that results in a rewarding experience, the behavior that lead to that positive experience is reinforced and will likely be repeated. However, when an individual makes a choice that causes an undesirable experience, he or she will be less likely to make the same choice again or perform the same action again.
Behavioral modification therapy is very applicable to addiction. Drug and alcohol addiction develops as a result of the positive feelings that an individual experiences when he or she uses a substance. For example, using heroin can cause a heightened sense of well-being and euphoria. In the beginning stages of addiction, a person wants to feel the same sensations again, and therefore uses a drug again in order to experience the same benefits. As addiction progresses, however, people overlook the negative consequences that substance abuse causes because they are still trying to seek out that initial high that the substance provides. This is the very root of addiction.