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Taipale, J. (2017). Controlling the uncontrollable. Self-regulation and the dynamics of addiction. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 40(1):29-42.

(2017). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 40(1):29-42

Controlling the uncontrollable. Self-regulation and the dynamics of addiction

Joona Taipale

The multidisciplinary research on addictions generally promotes the assumption that addictive behavior is caused and maintained by the external psychoactive substance, which accordingly is considered to be ‘addictive in itself’. The present article challenges this widespread assumption by engaging in a detailed examination of the psychodynamic structures of addiction. Tracing addictive behavior back to problems in affect regulation, the article discusses the object, motivation, dynamics, and developmental origins of addiction. Linking the problem with the topic of transitional object relations, the article eventually argues that addictive behavior amounts to a desperate pursuit for self-control. The tragedy of the addict is that he or she only manages to replace one sense of uncontrollability with another.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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