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October 1955

Acceptability for Psychotherapy in Institutionalized Narcotic Addicts

Author Affiliations

Lexington, Ky.

From the U. S. Public Health Service Hospital.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;74(4):356-362. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330160006002

At this hospital drug addiction is assumed to be a psychiatric problem. It is commonly held by psychiatrists that drug addicts are exceedingly difficult to treat. Fenichel,1 among others, lists the addictions along with the perversions as the least susceptible of all nonpsychotic disorders to psychoanalytic therapy. Also, Dollard and Miller,2 approaching the problem from the frame of reference of learning theory, suggest that the use of drugs is effective in reducing drives, thus leaving the patient less motivation for therapy.

At the present time only a small percentage of patients admitted to the U. S. Public Health Service Hospital at Lexington, Ky., can be provided psychotherapy. Therefore, if addict patients differ in acceptability for psychotherapy, a selection problem may exist, and it would appear desirable to select for psychotherapy those patients who are more acceptable for such therapeutic techniques.

The purposes of the study were (a) to

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