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Drug Addicts Beaten To Reduce Their Cravings In Siberia

First Posted: 01/07/13 EST Updated: 01/07/13 EST

This drug addiction cure just can't be beat, according to its proponents.

Siberian psychologist Dr German Pilipenko started practicing a unique form of addiction therapy termed the "method of limited exposure or pain" in 2004, according to the Siberian Times. The technique involves beating drug addicts with a cane on their backsides.

"We cane the patients on the buttocks with a clear and definite medical purpose - it is not some warped sadomasochistic activity," said Pilipenko's fellow practitioner, Marina Chukhrova.

Pilipenko said he's treated more than a thousand patients, including Americans. They come seeking cures for their addictions to drugs, alcohol, work and even sex.

"I am the proof that this controversial treatment works," one of Pilipenko's patients, "Natasha," told the Times. "I recommend it to anyone suffering from an addiction or depression. It hurts like crazy -- but it's given me back my life."

Pilipenko said part of the reason the treatment works is because it releases endorphins into the blood stream, which are often depleted in addicts. But critics of the method insist that other, pain-free activities like eating chocolate release more endorphins.

The Moscow Times reports that unusual addiction therapies are nothing new. Hypnotism, black magic and even violent treatments have been reported before. A gang in Yekaterinburg, Russian allegedly handcuffed drug addicts to beds to wean them off drugs, according to the paper.

Other psychiatric treatments can seem counterintuitive as well. Just last November, The New York Times reported that research showed the drug ecstasy could help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.