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Hurst, D.M. (1995). Chapter 9: “Transitional” and “Autistic” Phenomena in Addictive Behavior. The Psychology and Treatment of Addictive Behavior, 163-174.

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Hurst, D.M. (1995). Chapter 9: “Transitional” and “Autistic” Phenomena in Addictive Behavior. The Psychology and Treatment of Addictive Behavior, 163-174

Chapter 9: “Transitional” and “Autistic” Phenomena in Addictive Behavior Book Information Previous Up Next

David M. Hurst, M.D.

Addiction is an awesome social problem today; awesome in its prevalence, its destructiveness, and its tenacity. What have we as psychoanalysts learned in the first hundred years of our science about addiction, and what is the current state of our knowledge? In asking these questions, we are considering not only the treatment of alcohol and drug abuse, but the general psychology of addictive behavior, the depth psychology of addiction itself.

Addiction is the process of becoming psychologically enslaved to somebody, something, or some behavior: a substance, a job, a hobby, money, gambling, religion, physical exercise, or sex, to mention a few. The effects can be obvious or subtle, but an addicted person minimizes and denies his addiction, and those around him do the same. Addiction is remarkably ubiquitous, affecting many more people than is generally recognized. The characteristic that best distinguishes addictive behavior is expressed in the words of the first step of the Alcoholics Anonymous Program of Recovery: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol”.

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