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Diebold, L. Boulze, B. (2018). Alcoholic isolation, towards an unprecedented distress. IJP Open, 5:59.

(2018). IJP Open, 5:59

Alcoholic isolation, towards an unprecedented distress

Lionel Diebold and Boulze Boulze

In Civilization and its discontents, Freud think alcohol as a means to cope with an unidentifiable malaise rather than dealing directly with its source; a sedating recourse from suffering the harshness of life. The merit of this proposition is that it avoids stigmatising the alcoholic subject; it also evokes the link addiction provides as an articulation between the collective and the individual. This culturally sanctioned recourse valorises a certain withdrawal from social life, and ultimately the isolation of sedation: alcohol appears to be a radical defensive measure of taking voluntary distance from others to avoid suffering and leads to isolation. We study the alcoholic subject’s isolation, which stems from eluding the pressure of reality and a wish to “find refuge in a world of one’s own”; on the one hand, there is reference to a perceived reality, and on the other there is a subjective choice of an asylum to be created. We examine the alcoholic subject’s partial and complete isolation, reviewing the clinical implications of this interior experience from the destructuring of relations with others, the decay of the double, the pathological dependence upon the other, to the enclaves of a constituted reality which extend to an unprecedented helplessness.

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