Charles Melman – Addiction

THE LETTER 16 (Summer 1999) pages 1-8

I am going to tell you things, both classical and original, having consequences for the treatment of addicts. As you know, neither Freud nor Lacan directly interested themselves in the area of addiction. Nevertheless, they have left us with a certain number of elements which will allow us to have an orientation and also to arrive at conclusions with respect to this very  difficult question. I am going  to start with  some of the theses  that  Freud tackles in his famous work Mourning and Melancholia. These theses are going  to tell us that  we are all dependent and that we are all in a state of addiction. Secondly, I am going to try to show you the role of addiction in the field of toxicomania. And then in the third  part of my presentation I am going  to give you the exact name for the drug that is used by toxicomaniacs.

So the first part of the question: What does  Freud teach us in Mourning and Melancholia? He shows us that  there are two different types of loss. First of all there is bereavement or mourning which  normally provokes a state  of sadness, but  which  also, paradoxically, in some cases can produce  phenomena of  happiness, gaiety and  joy. And there is another type of loss, which for its part produces a  destruction of the personality, of  identity, and which is called melancholia. And Freud explains for us very accurately the difference between the two. We know, thanks to  psychoanalysis, that  the mechanism of desire  is set  up  in  the human subject starting with  a fundamental loss. For example, with  what the theory calls the Oedipus complex, the child must lose the being that for him  has been  the closest and dearest, in order to gain access to desire…

Comments are closed.