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Firestein, S.K. (1969). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 38:518.

(1969). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 38:518

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Stephen K. Firestein

DISCUSSION: Dr. Herbert Wieder emphasized that just as there is great variability in the degree and quality of drug habituation itself, there is variability in the psychology and conflicts of the habituated patient. He feels that the specific habituant chosen and the urgency of the choice are dynamically important; different 'highs' are selected in accordance with the user's psychopathologic nuances and changes of habituant reflect vicissitudes of the user's conflicts. Dr. Peter Blos, Sr. has found that drug-taking in adolescence is nonspecific, that there is no particular syndrome of which it is an obligatory component. Passive strivings and fantasies do not represent a common denominator for all adolescent drug-taking. Dr. Elisabeth Geleerd commented that drug-taking as a frequent phenomenon in adolescence seems to have replaced the use of alcohol. She recalled that analytic experience with alcoholics elaborated many interesting unconscious mechanisms but with meager therapeutic alterations; she doubts that analysts will be substantially more successful with drug-users. Dr. Robert Savitt asserted that to make abstinence from the drug a precondition for therapy is to run head-on into a major resistance; prohibition must be introduced subtly and gradually, except in those cases where a patient is in danger of committing a criminal act.

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