Studies in REST. III. REST, arousability, and the nature of alcohol and substance abuse

J Subst Abuse Treat. 1988;5(2):77-81. doi: 10.1016/0740-5472(88)90016-5.


Recent literature on the diagnosis, differentiation, and identification of alcoholism, substance abuse, smoking, obesity, compulsive gambling, and sociopathy was reviewed. Research evidence suggests that these behavior disorders are associated with high levels of the trait of arousability. Highly arousable individuals often experience intense, easily aroused emotional reactions to stressful stimulation, and they are strongly predisposed toward alcohol and/or substance abuse. For these individuals, psychoactive chemicals have strongly reinforcing effects, since they alleviate unpleasant emotions associated with excessive arousal. Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) consistently lowers arousal to optimal, subjectively comfortable levels, without psychoactive chemicals. REST has demonstrated its effectiveness for alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, and obesity, all of which are associated with high arousability.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / physiopathology
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Alcoholism / therapy
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Sensory Deprivation*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy