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Crowley, R.M. (1939). Psychoanalytic Literature on Drug Addiction and Alcoholism. Psychoanal. Rev., 26(1):39-54.

(1939). Psychoanalytic Review, 26(1):39-54

Psychoanalytic Literature on Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

Ralph M. Crowley, M.D.

In preparing this paper my intention was to study the literature on alcoholism and drug addiction. Before I was through, I found that I had made a study also of the evolution and development of psychoanalytic theory. Drug addiction has been termed the stepchild of psychosis. Certainly it is the step-child of analytic theory. Each development in analysis has been followed by papers applying to problems of addiction theories worked out clinically in the neuroses and psychoses.

Not until 1926 did any paper attempt the problem of addiction as a whole. Before this the literature treated such specific aspects as alcoholism, alcoholic hallucinosis, delirium tremens and addiction to cocaine and tobacco. Theoretical papers dealt almost exclusively with libidinal elements, mainly oral erotic. Clinical papers frequently mentioned other aspects of the problem, sadism and masochism for example. However, their theoretical sections emphasized the libidinal elements just as did the general trend of analytic theory.

Only in the last ten years beginning with Rado's paper on the “Psychic Effect of Intoxicants” have there been systematic attempts to deal with the problem of addiction in its own right. Before reviewing these most important contributions, let us examine the literature from Freud's first suggestions in 1905 up to Rado's comprehensive paper in 1926.

In his “Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex,” Freud stated that children who retain the constitutional reënforcement of lip eroticism have, as men, a marked desire for drinking and smoking. In 1908 Abraham developed in detail the psychological relations between sexuality and alcoholism. With destruction of sublimation appear various aspects of infantile sexuality, such as scoptophilia, exhibitionism, sadism and masochism, incest and homosexuality.

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