Taste aversion to spirits

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Skouf
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Taste aversion to spirits

Postby Skouf » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:35 am UTC

About 8 months ago I developed what I'm assuming is a taste aversion to straight spirits. It was one night, I drank heaps of vodka straight, and I ended up throwup up copiously afterwards. Now, the experience itself wasn't so bad. I woke up in the morning remembering very little, and with no hangover. The problem is that after that night I can get about 3 sips into a glass of any sort of straight spirit before I've had enough and am gagging at any further attempts to imbibe.

My question is, has anyone had anything similar, and if so, how did you get over it? I really want to be able to enjoy straight spirits again. Is it simply a matter of subjecting myself to straight spirits until I get used to them?

Thanks

-Nik

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Azrael
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby Azrael » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:24 pm UTC

Look, my initial reaction is more along the lines of not aiding and abetting your poor choices. But I have a low esteem of vodka to begin with, and that's not your fault ... although drinking it straight was, so I'm not sure where that leaves us.

I'm guessing this is some combination of psychological/physiological reaction that your body is having because you thoroughly poisoned it. I suppose the brute force method you mention *might* work, but it might also just reinforce the reaction. Perhaps it's better to avoid provocation -- you could try cocktails/mixed drinks & beer instead?

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justaman
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby justaman » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:00 pm UTC

There is such a thing as aversion therapy - one used for alcohol dependent people is to get them to take a drug called coprine/disulfiram, (from a mushroom called Lawyer's wig) which induces vomiting and other unpleasant symptoms if alcohol is then taken. It is entirely possible that this has happened to you. I recently contracted norovirus from a colleague, which lead to me having a temporary aversion (approx 6 months) to chips/fries as that was the last thing I had eaten before the severe vomiting at the start of the illness.

To counter this sort of thing it is best to leave it for a while and then take some small amounts of the thing that made you sick - in your case alcohol - and then ensure that you do not get drunk or other symptoms such as hangovers from drinking, so that your body gets used to not feeling ill from one stimulus.

Basically, drink in moderation, which is usually always good advice.
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Matt
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby Matt » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:36 am UTC

I'd work up to it with cocktails of different, then similar, spirits, in a gradient of strength until you're close to drinking straight spirits.

Over the course of a period of time, mind you
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psychosomaticism
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby psychosomaticism » Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:07 am UTC

Yeah, I'd say this is a pretty clear case of operant conditioning, a positive punishment of feeling ill leading to a physical association with taste and bad feelings. Had it myself; my first attempt at drinking ended poorly and I was sickened by the taste and smell of vanilla vodka (I suppose we weren't exactly connoisseurs at the time) for a good few years following. It's a reasonable reaction, and maybe tells you something about what your body considers a good time.

justaman wrote:There is such a thing as aversion therapy - one used for alcohol dependent people is to get them to take a drug called coprine/disulfiram, (from a mushroom called Lawyer's wig) which induces vomiting and other unpleasant symptoms if alcohol is then taken. It is entirely possible that this has happened to you. I recently contracted norovirus from a colleague, which lead to me having a temporary aversion (approx 6 months) to chips/fries as that was the last thing I had eaten before the severe vomiting at the start of the illness.


Man, I've heard of Disulfiram a couple of times; specifically it prevents a metabolism enzyme from turning alcohol to acetic acid, leaving you halfway at acetaldehyde, which I've heard can be a reason for hangovers. Wouldn't want someone slipping that in my drink, but I suppose it's worth a shot were one to be alcoholic.

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Amarantha
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby Amarantha » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:03 am UTC

Ya, as people have said, when something makes you sick, your body may decide to psychosomatically discourage you from that thing henceforth.

Disguising the spirits in cocktails may or may not work. I know a bloke with an aversion to vodka whose friends didn't believe him and hid some in a drink. That drink made him crook as a dog because his body could still tell it was vodka.

The good news is you can get over it. I had a very strong aversion to mango, to the point where I would have to hold my breath in the greengrocer's to avoid the smell. But I tried eating a tiny piece, and after a while a bigger piece, to the point where, whilst I can't claim to love it, I can certainly eat it and even kinda like it at times. And I can imagine learning to love it.

Also, have you tried all the straight spirits? My vodka-averse friend could still drink other spirits, and I knew a tequila-averse bloke who could also. You might be able to find some your body is OK with, so you could at least enjoy those while you work on the others.

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KallistiEngel
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby KallistiEngel » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:45 am UTC

Skouf wrote:My question is, has anyone had anything similar, and if so, how did you get over it? I really want to be able to enjoy straight spirits again. Is it simply a matter of subjecting myself to straight spirits until I get used to them?

Thanks

-Nik

Yes, and yes. I had the same thing happen when I got alcohol poisoning. It's just a matter of re-acquiring a taste for it. I enjoy my booze now, but for quite a while, it was hard to get it to go down my throat due to the gagging. Might also do you some good to not jump straight back into it.

Either way, good luck!

EDIT: You might also try avoiding drinking until drunkeness, just try sticking to small quantities until your body's used to it again.
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:56 am UTC

It sounds like a form of negative psychological conditioning, where the brain tells the body "hey, we got very sick last time we ate/drank this consumable or potable, so now we must hate it. It should taste horrible to us." It's the same reason why we sometimes begin to fear things we used to not fear, due to bad experiences we've had in the past.

For example, when I was younger I was not afraid of heights. I'd climb up into a tree behind our apartment complex, and just chill. I could stand up on top of a tall building, look over the edge, and not have an issue. But after an incident I had at a place I worked at a long time ago involving a pallet, a forklift, and a large dumpster, I can't get up very high, unless I'm on a sturdy platform, like on top of a building. I can look out my bedroom window and not get scared, but you couldn't get me up on a ladder. I remember riding the sky lift at Stone Mountain Park, which takes you up to the top of the mountain, and the only way I could handle it was if I was sitting down. If I was standing, I'd start getting panic attacks. I'd have to close my eyes during the ascent or descent to and from the mountain if I was standing, but while sitting, I'd look out the windows at the scenery. I also found that looking at the floor or focusing on something on another person, like a graphic on their shirt or the back of their head, helped.

One thing you can try to do is like others have said, do it in small amounts. Try mixed drinks. Perhaps do it sparingly, like once a month or less, until your body reacclimates itself to the alcohol. When you do a mixed drink, start by using less alcohol than normally called for in the recipe. Maybe start with "virgin" versions of the cocktail (no alcohol), and then add the alcohol in, a little at a time. This can be a painfully slow process, but you're trying to get your body back to accepting the alcohol to the point where you can just drink a few shots of straight vodka or other similar spirits, and telling your brain to just go fuck itself.

Another thing you can try is to do cooking with alcohol. Find recipes that require this alcohol or that and make those. When you cook, the alcohol itself actually evaporates, but the flavor is there. This way you can tell your brain there is no alcohol, although the flavor is there.
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Belial
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:14 pm UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:It sounds like a form of negative psychological conditioning, where the brain tells the body "hey, we got very sick last time we ate/drank this consumable or potable, so now we must hate it. It should taste horrible to us."


Yes, one might even say it's a Taste Aversion. To spirits.

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Azrael
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby Azrael » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:50 pm UTC

wikipedia wrote:"Sauce-Bearnaise Syndrome"

That pretty much sums up my feelings towards Bearnaise as well, but I wouldn't call it a syndrome ... :mrgreen:

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Belial
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby Belial » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:20 am UTC

Hahah. Bearnaise and Hollandaise are just like playing roulette with your digestive tract.
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Skouf
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby Skouf » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:23 am UTC

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I can still easily drink mixed drinks, so I think I'll probably just do the brute force method, but very slowly. I'm also blessed in that I don't get hungover or feel ill after drinking, which is always nice. It's good to know that it's not just my imagination (or, depending on how you think about it, it is) and that it really is possible to have a taste aversion to spirits.

Thanks again

-Nik

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KallistiEngel
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Re: Taste aversion to spirits

Postby KallistiEngel » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:14 pm UTC

Skouf wrote:Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I can still easily drink mixed drinks, so I think I'll probably just do the brute force method, but very slowly. I'm also blessed in that I don't get hungover or feel ill after drinking, which is always nice. It's good to know that it's not just my imagination (or, depending on how you think about it, it is) and that it really is possible to have a taste aversion to spirits.

Thanks again

-Nik

Be careful though. I'm one of those people who "never gets hungover" as well, but I've managed to twice in the last year. My first two times ever being hungover, and I never want that to happen again. I was drinking mixed drinks both nights and managed to drink an excessive amount.
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