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Zinberg, N.E. (1975). Addiction and Ego Function. Psychoanal. St. Child, 30:567-588.

(1975). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 30:567-588

Addiction and Ego Function

Norman E. Zinberg, M.D.

SLOWLY BUT DEFINTELY THERE IS A GROWING ACCEPTANCE OF THE idea that in order to understand what motivates someone to use illicit drugs and what effect these drugs will have on him, one must take drug, set, and setting into account (Brecher, 1972); (Drug Use in America, 1973); (Edwards, 1973); (Khantzian et al., 1974); (Weil, 1972); (Zinberg and Robertson, 1972); (Zinberg and DeLong, 1974). That is, for such understanding the pharmacological action of the drug, how a person approaches the experience, which includes an assessment of his entire personality structure, and the physical and social setting in which the use takes place must all be considered and balanced. A not unusual paradox has begun to develop: the concept of drug effect being a product of these three variables is becoming a commonplace among mental health professionals before the implications of the notion for psychoanalytic theory, in particular, and personality theories, in general, have been worked through (Eddy et al., 1963); (Jaffe, 1970); (Khantzian, 1974); (Wurmser, 1973); (Yorke, 1970). Thus, existing misconceptions about a one-to-one relationship between personality maladjustment and drug use and addiction continue unabated.


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