Author: Brian Johnson
Three perspectives on addiction are reviewed, along with many earlier contributions to the understanding of addictive illness. It is suggested that these distinct yet overlapping formulations of the dynamics of addiction form a hierarchy for each patient suffering from an addiction. Assessment of a patient’s ego strength, and of the relative importance of addictive behaviors in overall character structure, allows referral to various types of treatment, including psychoanalytic therapy. Case examples are presented, including material from the psychoanalysis of a woman addicted to heroin, methadone, cocaine, amphetamines, nicotine, alcohol, and shopping.