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Glover, E. (1932). On the Aetiology of Drug-Addiction. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 13:298-328.

(1932). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 13:298-328

On the Aetiology of Drug-Addiction

Edward Glover

There are three main sources of psycho-analytic interest in drug-addiction. In the first place its ætiology is still obscure; consequently the treatment of drug-addiction lags behind that of the psychoneuroses. It is true the psycho-analyst is justified in asserting that the only radical approach to drug habits is through psycho-analytic treatment; but he cannot remain content with such a general recommendation. He ought to be in a position to direct his psycho-analytic energies with more precision. There is a considerable difference between 'analysing' a drug-addict and analysing 'drug-addiction'.

A second source of interest lies in the correlation of drug-addiction with various other psychopathological states. Owing to the close connection on the one hand between drug-addiction and the psychoses, and on the other between drug-addiction and social or sublimatory defence-reactions, it is probable that drug states will prove an essential link in the understanding of such different phenomena as paranoia, obsessional neuroses, open-air cults or even an addiction to scented soap.

The third source of interest is mainly domestic. Study of psycho-analytic views concerning alcoholism and other drug-addictions seems to me to illustrate very clearly the different tendencies which from time to time have dominated psycho-analytical research or doctrine. Those whose interest in psycho-analysis is comparatively recent, dating, say, from the publication of Beyond the Pleasure-principle, might be excused for thinking that sadism and the aggressive instincts are new discoveries.

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