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Savitt, R.A. (1954). Extramural Psychoanalytic Treatment of a Case of Narcotic Addiction. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 2:494-502.

(1954). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2:494-502

Extramural Psychoanalytic Treatment of a Case of Narcotic Addiction

Robert A. Savitt, M.D.

The paucity of psychoanalytic literature on the subject of narcotic addiction, and the infrequency of reports of such cases treated by psychoanalysis on an ambulatory basis, makes the description of this successfully treated case worth while.

Some years ago a nineteen-year-old male student was referred for treatment. In the first interview he complained of severe tension, depression and nail biting. During the next session he admitted a narcotic addiction, which had been present for about a year and a half and which included marijuana, heroin, and occasionally cocaine.

He was the only child of parents who owned and managed a successful business. His mother was a domineering, driving woman who was the prime figure in the business. She was called "the boss." The father was a stern, sadistic individual who, however, played a subsidiary role at work and in the home. The patient had been breast-fed for only a few months when the mother abruptly weaned him and resumed her role as a business woman. He was left in the care of a maid who remained with the family until he was seventeen years of age. On many occasions the mother had wished to discharge the maid, but the patient had objected vehemently, saying, "Don't fire her; she has been more of a mother to me than you have." He described himself as having been a lonely, inadequate, defiant person who felt rebellious toward society. In adolescence, the patient had been pampered by his parents with a liberal allowance, fine clothes and a car of his own.

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