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A Basic Theory of NeuropsychoanalysisA Cursing Brain?A Dream of Undying FameA Map of the MindAfter LacanAgainst AdaptationAgainst FreudAn Anatomy of AddictionAnalytic FreudAndré Green at the Squiggle FoundationAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnna FreudAnna Freud: A BiographyApproaching PsychoanalysisAttachment and PsychoanalysisBadiouBecoming a SubjectBefore ForgivingBerlin PsychoanalyticBetween Emotion and CognitionBeyond GenderBeyond SexualityBeyond the Pleasure PrincipleBiology of FreedomBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCarl JungCassandra's DaughterCherishmentConfusion of TonguesContemporary Psychoanalysis and the Legacy of the Third ReichCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesCulture and Conflict in Child and Adolescent Mental HealthDarwin's WormsDesert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Dispatches from the Freud WarsDoes the Woman Exist?Doing Psychoanalysis in TehranDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDreaming by the BookEnergy Psychology InteractiveEqualsErrant SelvesEthics and the Discovery of the UnconsciousEthics Case Book of the American Psychoanalytic AssociationFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFed with Tears -- Poisoned with MilkFeminism and Its DiscontentsForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFour Lessons of PsychoanalysisFratricide in the Holy LandFreudFreudFreudFreudFreudFreudFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFreud As PhilosopherFreud at 150Freud's AnswerFreud's WizardFreud, the Reluctant PhilosopherFrom Classical to Contemporary PsychoanalysisFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGoing SaneHans BellmerHappiness, Death, and the Remainder of LifeHate and Love in Psychoanalytical InstitutionsHatred and ForgivenessHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHeinz KohutHeinz KohutHidden MindsHistory of ShitHope and Dread in PsychoanalysisImagination and Its PathologiesImagine There's No WomanIn Freud's TracksIn SessionIn the Floyd ArchivesIntimaciesIntimate RevoltIrrationalityIs Oedipus Online?Jacques LacanJacques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of PsychoanalysisJung and the Making of Modern PsychologyJung Stripped BareKilling FreudLacanLacanLacanLacan and Contemporary FilmLacan at the SceneLacan For BeginnersLacan in AmericaLacan TodayLacan's Seminar on AnxietyLawLearning from Our MistakesLove's ExecutionerMad Men and MedusasMale Female EmailMelanie KleinMemoirs of My Nervous IllnessMental SlaveryMind to MindMixing MindsMoral StealthMourning and ModernityMovies and the MindMurder in ByzantiumNew Studies of Old VillainsNocturnesNoir AnxietyOn Being Normal and Other DisordersOn BeliefOn IncestOn Not Being Able to SleepOn the Freud WatchOn the Way HomeOpen MindedOpera's Second DeathOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsPhenomology & Lacan on Schizophrenia, After the Decade of the BrainPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPsychiatry, 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the SelfThe Cambridge Companion to LacanThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Clinical LacanThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Condition of MadnessThe Couch and the TreeThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Dissociative Mind in PsychoanalysisThe Dreams of InterpretationThe Examined LifeThe Fall Of An IconThe Freud EncyclopediaThe Freud FilesThe Freud WarsThe Fright of Real TearsThe Future of PsychoanalysisThe Gift of TherapyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Knotted SubjectThe Last Good FreudianThe Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto RankThe Mind According to ShakespeareThe Mystery of PersonalityThe Mythological UnconsciousThe Neuropsychology of the UnconsciousThe New PsychoanalysisThe Power of FeelingsThe Psychoanalytic MovementThe Psychoanalytic MysticThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Puppet and the DwarfThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Revolt of the PrimitiveThe Seminar of Moustafa SafouanThe Sense and Non-Sense of RevoltThe Shortest ShadowThe Social History of the UnconsciousThe Surface EffectThe Symmetry of GodThe Tragedy of the SelfThe Trainings of the PsychoanalystThe UnsayableThe World of PerversionTherapeutic ActionTherapy's DelusionsThis Incredible Need to BelieveThoughts Without A ThinkerTo Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the WorldTrauma and Human ExistenceTraumatizing TheoryUmbr(a)Unconscious knowing and other essays in psycho-philosophical analysisUnderstanding Dissidence and Controversy in the History of PsychoanalysisUnderstanding PsychoanalysisUnfree AssociationsWalking HeadsWay Beyond FreudWhat Does a Woman Want?What Freud Really MeantWhen the Body SpeaksWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Whose Freud?Why Psychoanalysis?Wilhelm ReichWinnicottWinnicott On the ChildWisdom Won from IllnessWittgenstein on Freud and FrazerWittgenstein Reads FreudWorld, Affectivity, TraumaZizek

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An Anatomy of AddictionReview - An Anatomy of Addiction
Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine
by Howard Markel
Pantheon, 2011
Review by James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D
Nov 15th 2011 (Volume 15, Issue 46)

Sigmund Freud, arguably the father of psychoanalysis, and William Halstead, an innovative surgeon, both achieved prominence in their respective disciplines during the 1880's. They were driven by fame, sought every opportunity to advance their careers, and appeared indefatigable. Freud and Halstead also had something else in common: an insatiable and all-consuming appetite for cocaine. An Anatomy of Addiction is Howard Markel's brilliant account of these creative but flawed men, the struggles they encountered, and the situations that shaped their thinking and drug-seeking behavior.

Whether you view substance use and addiction as a disease, a vice, or something in between, a pertinent question concerns personal etiology--how and why does a person start taking drugs? Markel posits the theory that each man's professional interests exposed them to cocaine. Freud, writes Markel, "was absolutely convinced that cocaine would prove to be a valuable therapeutic for addiction, depression, and neurasthenia." Halstead approached cocaine for its surgical anesthetic properties. The two doctors quickly moved to self-experimentation with the drug and once hooked, succumbed to its euphoria producing effects and instant relief from life's hardships. Additionally, the societal and cultural norms of the period fueled Freud's and Halstead's addiction. Cocaine was available in abundance, unregulated, and easily procured by physicians of such notoriety. Freud, in particular, was surrounded by peers with like habits. Both men found ways to hide their addiction although as Markel details, most of the people in their inner circles had suspicions. So too, Freud and Halstead tried different ways to stop using cocaine including hospitalization and drug substitution. The book suggests that in his later years Freud achieved abstinence while Halstead remained an active user until the time of his death.

Markel, himself a physician and addiction specialist, is a superb documentarian who references a vast historical archive and extensive medical literature to tell his story. His examination of the parallel but distinct lives of Freud and Halstead (they never met) elucidates the ravages of drug abuse among elite professionals, their families, and careers. And yet, the book poses the not so subtle question of whether cocaine addiction contributed to or was the product of the singular genius that defined each man? Freud, after all, was a prolific writer with an inquiring mind that forever changed our thinking about human behavior. Halstead is acknowledged as a ground breaking physician who revolutionized surgical techniques and antiseptic practices in the operating room. How, with debilitating addictions, did they succeed so remarkably? Markel's appraisal at book's end is the following: "Cocaine failed to make either man more productive, happier, or smarter. They often recklessly practiced medicine while under the influence, and their most fallow professional years coincided with their most prodigious substance abuse. Each in his own fashion confessed regret over the physical and emotional tolls cocaine exerted, the valuable time it consumed, and the harm its abuse inflicted on others.

This gem of a book will appeal to readers interested in 19th century medical history, addiction science, biography, and the pharmaceutical industry during its formative years. Beyond the rich text and precise analysis, it contains many captivating photographs of the protagonists and their colleagues, families, lifestyles, and personal artifacts. You can't help but be moved by these mostly somber images which instantly convey the tormented lives of two medical giants. From a purely academic perspective, there are 55 pages of reference sources that Markel consulted in writing the book.

 

© 2011 James K. Luiselli

 

James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D is a psychologist affiliated with May Institute and a private-practice clinician. Among his publications are 8 books and more than 240 book chapters and journal articles. He reviews books for The New England Psychologist.

 


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