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Wurmser, L. (1974). Psychoanalytic Considerations of the Etiology of Compulsive Drug Use. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 22:820-843.

(1974). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 22:820-843

Psychoanalytic Considerations of the Etiology of Compulsive Drug Use

Leon Wurmser, M.D.

UNTIL NOW, THERE HAS BEEN very little systematic exploration into the etiology of drug abuse. Glasscote et al. (1972) described the situation most aptly:

It may be fruitless to make the effort to identify a group of universal causes of susceptibility. In any case, while there has been some interest in determining what drug users are like, by means of interviews and standardized tests, there has been little systematic effort to delineate and quantify causes. On the other hand, there has been much hypothesizing about the conditions, events, and circumstances that lead to drug abuse, most of which fall into three categories: the physical, the internal or intrapsychic, and the social and environmental [p. 19].

A study to fill at least part of the gap is envisioned here: viz., to delineate in a systematic way the etiology of drug abuse on the basis of large-scale clinical experience with all types of this phenomenon.

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