Over the past 4-5 decades there have been major advances in understanding how addictive drugs affect the brain to explain how processes of tolerance, physical dependence, and chronic drug use perpetuate addictive behavior. There has been a tendency for these developments and challenges to detract from appreciating and understanding the importance of psychological and psychodynamic factors that make addictive disorders so compelling. Such a perspective need not and does not compete with a biological one. This presentation is a psychodynamic exploration of the nation of the suffering that makes addictive behavior and attachments so compelling, and how contemporary psychodynamic theory and practice can guide treatment to best address addicted patients' therapeutic needs.
Edward Khantzian is the originator or the self-medication hypothesis of addictive disorders. He is a professor of psychiatry part-time, Harvard Medical School, and a founding member of the Department of Psychiatry at The Cambridge Hospital. He is quite simply a lion in the field, and his collective books, presentations, speaking engagements, committee memberships and awards are too numerous to mention.