Sigmund Freud and cocaine: a torrid love affair

The mind is so treacherous in it’s depths that for some to speak of it would cause them an emotional pain so deep the rift would mean their destruction. A young Freud looking to discover something great determined a new “miracle” drug would loosen the tongues of his deeply disturbed patients and aid in their recovery through psychotherapy. At 28 Sigmund was still an unknown psychologist making attempts to publish and discover that which has been hidden from us all since the dawn of humanity, which is the subconscious.


The reaches of experimentation

Some have said he was depressed from the loss of a close friend, others that he was simply curious of the effects. But at the time Freud began testing, he himself started to use cocaine. After observing his patients use the substance he decided that he would use his own body as a guinea pig for science. Two years later an emaciated Freud said no more, but the research he did during those times is said to be the most influential. Many in the scientific community disregard parts of his work simply for the mention of cocaine, such as the writing on his dreams. This however, is the struggle of a man and his addiction, the psychological torment that cannot be ignored that is manifested in the subconscious. He also used cocaine as cessation for morphine in one case. The addiction is one aspect that is widely studied, but what Freud did with it would fuel many of his theories and cannot be dismissed as a simple lapse in judgment.


The journey and the destination

The use of cocaine can create many unwanted side effects, massive addiction, and is among the most illegal drugs in most countries. The use during Freud’s time was basically unrestricted. It was a new substance and had not been classified as dangerous. Many of his writings paved the way for the vilification of the drug, yet many of his proported benefits had been ignored. In a clinical setting a patient that was administered cocaine could be made to speak on their darkest fears and troubles of the their pasts. It allowed Sigmund to map out the psyche and develop the theories he is so famous for. If no one were to ever divulge so readily the deepest reaches of their subconscious he wouldn’t have been able to characterize the abnormalities and pinpoint the periods of strife and how it had affected them.


Never say never

When you examine the prisons and arrests for drugs in America you would never imagine that it’s legal use in experimentation has been so helpful. If you research LSD you will find writings saying that it increases suggestability in the user. This may be true to a very small extent, yet the evidence of this effect has most undoubtedly come from the American military’s experiments with it. In fact, almost every other drug that is now completely illegal was once used in testing. MDMA had been developed for mental disorders such as depression, and the list goes on. When so many substances can be illegalized and vilified after being created for beneficial purposes what’s to say that a recreational drug created for fun can’t be beneficial?

I’ll leave you with this, marijuana was once highly illegal. But now that it’s seen as relatively safe and often has health benefits, what else could we legalize to help with our ailments? Could psychologist once again break down the walls of their patients with cocaine and help them overcome their psychological pain through the intensive therapy a doctor like Freud provided?

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Blake is a writer who specializes in content writing and novel-length fiction.

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