The Addicted Subject caught between the Ego and the Drive: The post-Freudian Reduction and Simplification of a Complex Clinical Problem

Texts by Abraham, Rado, Glover and Gross are explored in order to investigate post-Freudian literature on the question of addiction. The reduction of the Freudian field is analysed in order to produce new foundation stones for a theory on addiction by confronting the (post-Freudian) reduced elements with each other. A reading of the post-Freudian literature shows that it is possible to distinguish between different periods in psychoanalytic thinking about addiction. These periods represent, in their own style, a reduction of Freud’s work. A confrontation between the earlier drive-theory and the later ego(self)psychology period, interestingly enough, does not lead to a synthesis of the two into a higher order of thinking on addiction. Surprisingly, it results in the production of new theoretical elements and a shift in thinking about addiction. Thus, despite the lack of fecundity in most post-Freudian thinking on addiction, the possibility nevertheless exists to produce some material on addiction, providing one analyses or interprets, not just the relevant texts, but precisely what is lacking in these texts.

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