Reply To: Does Pavlovian desire fade?

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Hi Louise – good to hear from you and that you are out of hospital now and on the mend. You have a fascinating question about the Pavlovian conditioning. The standard, sort of by-the-book answer is that the conditioned, addictive desire fades as a result of experiencing it without satisfying and thus reinforcing it. It’s the same principle as with a phobia, where avoidance can even make the fears worse. It doesn’t fade with time; it fades through exposure.

However, our intentions are key factors, and it is not your intention to avoid, which tends to happen for those who fear and/or resent their feelings of desire.

So, working with any desire while you are house-bound and gaining true acceptance of it may well contribute to an empowered relationship with food when you do get back into the ‘real world’ outside. You may get some desire, but I doubt very much that you’ll feel as if you’re ‘back to square one’.