From No Subject - Encyclopedia of Psychoanalysis
Revision as of 19:06, 3 November 2006 by (talk) (Alcoholism: unmet challange and opportunity for analytic theory and pracctice)
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Alcoholism, the first recently widely acknowledged addction, is paradoxically in the common mind less thought of as an addiction than cocaine or heroin addction, though it kills vastly more people--indeed is the only one of the three the mere cessation of which can kill--and costs society a great deal more, which facts make it the more troubling that this cause of the most addictions, which in turn as an etiological category account for more hospitalizations than any other, and where accurate diagnosis is practiced are recognised as constituting the reason for the majority of people presenting at outpatient settings, has as yet not been much addressed or properly theorized by psychoanalysiis, which with this as so many other conditions is simply yielding the field to those whose claimed competence in psychopharmacholgy and new [magical] one shot "fixes' are fads one month and fade the next. Yet work on trauma, the repetition compulsion, indeed possibly the death instinct by those who accept it, as well as the classic Batesonian work on the double bind and complentarity now taken up by relational analysts and their work on the "third", might well prove of more lasting value once the phenomenolgy of addiction is fully taken in by this field, which is more equipped than most to do so. Lacans beginnings could be said to have been in public health, and indeed in my own lacanian supervision, as oppsed to personal analysis, some of the most helpful guidance seemed to come from that dimension even for my private practice cases, especilly the many alcoholics who claimed to e able to remember nothing bad about their childhood, as over against the "gifted" adult children of alcohoics who certainly did. So here is the challange, and here the open field: