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Cavell, M. (1998). Abandonment to the Inanimate Object. On the Conceptual and Diagnostic Definition of Addiction. Roland Voigtel. Pp. 715-741. Psychoanal Q., 67(3):535.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Abandonment to the Inanimate Object. On the Conceptual and Diagnostic Definition of Addiction. Roland Voigtel. Pp. 715-741

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(3):535

Abandonment to the Inanimate Object. On the Conceptual and Diagnostic Definition of Addiction. Roland Voigtel. Pp. 715-741

Marcia Cavell

In contrast to the widespread arbitrariness to be detected in the use generally made of “addiction” as a diagnostic category in psychiatry and psychoanalysis, the author attempts to delineate an addiction mechanism and a specific conflict underlying addiction. After summarizing existing psychoanalytic theories of addiction—none of which have any criteria for discriminating it from other narcissistic neuroses—and identifying the basic structure they have in common, Voigtel introduces the model of abandonment to the inanimate object as an attempt to come to terms with the narcissistic deficit. The addict abandons himself/herself passively to the inanimate object (the addictive agent) in the hope that it will assuage feelings of powerlessness and desertion and bring about a state of happiness and well-being. The addictive conflict consists in the fact that by means of this referral to an inanimate object—a representation of the mother experienced as frustrating in early childhood—a wish for dependency can be both acted out and fended off.

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Article Citation

Cavell, M. (1998). Abandonment to the Inanimate Object. On the Conceptual and Diagnostic Definition of Addiction. Roland Voigtel.. Psychoanal. Q., 67(3):535

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