An Alternative Method to Treat Addictions

3 minute read

An article written by José Alberto Raymondi Ph.D.

When I read the article written by my colleague Dr. Raymondi, I knew that you have to share it with you. The fundamental question in every addiction is what part it takes in patient’s life.  You can look for the durable solution as soon as you find its answer.

When can we determine that someone who consumes some toxic substance has fallen into a state of being an addict – a junkie or any other denomination that condemns him/her to a new identity? This question might have different answers.

Usually the accent is placed on the frequency, type of drug and duration of the consumption. It is often argued, not without reason, that addiction is not the same an occasional consumption, even if it has been sustained over time and comes to have a consistent and constant pattern. Then which criterion – numerical or quantitative – do the experts refer in order to assign a label, which in most societies has a degrading value of the dignity of an individual? It is undeniable that protocols and questionnaires usually emphasize, ultimately, to a pseudo-mathematical value. The logic behind it is that dependence on a substance is calculated on a statistical scale. This is certainly important. And yet, (without questioning that criterion) what interests us from the psychoanalytic point of view is not that exclusive numerical value that can determine the dependence, but the function it fulfills in the life of that particular subject.

The central question is the value and the type of relationship the subject establishes with that particular toxic substance. The problem is not limited to the new identity assigned by the Other or himself: you are an addict, or I am an addict. The problem is the unique relation established with the consumption of that substance and the function it fulfills in subject’s life. The opportunity to interrogate him/her about the time of consumption’s first appearance can reveal some of its functions. The possibilities can be discovered only from this new logic of dialogue (from the personal story and from subject’s words). This implies certain break up with this new identity: drug addict/ alcoholic.

Opening the possibility of the self-interrogation about the function of the toxic substance closes the door to the petrifying and immobilizing character of a fixed identity, reduced to a relationship with a substance that has not existed forever in the life of the person who consumes it. That relationship had a beginning, and, therefore, its appearance is due to certain contingent conditions. The toxic could never be considered as necessary in the life of that subject who, until then, did not have this intimate and unexpected relationship with that substance.

You can find more information about Dr. Raymondi on his web page

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