Chapter 2 Freud: Psychoanalysis 17
From ancient history to the present time, people have searched for some magic panacea or potion to lessen pain or to enhance performance. One such search was conducted by a young, ambitious physician who came to believe that he had discovered a drug that had all sorts of wonderful properties. Hearing that the drug had been used successfully to energize soldiers suffering from near exhaustion, this physician decided to try it on patients, colleagues, and friends. If the drug worked as well as he expected, he might gain the fame to which he aspired.
After learning of the drug s successful use hi heart disease, nervous exhaustion, addiction to alcohol and morphine, and several other psychological and physiological problems, the doctor decided to try the drug on himself. He was quite pleased with the results. To him, the drug had a pleasant aroma and an unusual effect on the lips and mouth. More importantly, however, was the drug s therapeutic effect on his serious depression. In a letter to his fiancée whom he had not seen in a year, he reported that during his last severe depression, he had taken small quantities of the drug with marvelous results. He wrote that the next time he saw her he would be like a wild man, feeling the effects of the drug. He also told his fiancée that he would give her small amounts of the drug, ostensibly to make her strong and to help her gain weight.
The young doctor wrote a pamphlet extolling the benefits of the drug, but he had not yet completed the necessary experiments on the drug s value as an analgesic. Impatient to be near his fiancée, he delayed completion of his experiments and went off to see her. During that visit, a colleague—and not he—completed the experiments, published the results, and gained the recognition the young doctor had hoped for himself.
These events took place in 1884; the drug was cocahie; the young doctor was Sigmund Freud.
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