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I have known patients who when under the influence of

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Unformatted text preview: have known is of a young man of twenty-five, a tall fellow with a very unattractive face who had this feeling of inferiority almost to the point of agony, especially in the presence of young women, but also in any situation where he would be noticed. He was fast becoming a hermit when he discovered that a few drinks completely removed this feeling. From that time on he became a steady drinker, with now and then a short period when he would try to stop drinking, only to resume when he found himself obsessed again by the dreaded inferiority complex. [1] This is the main theme of De Quincey's "Confessions of an Opium Eater." Similarly a shameful position, such as that of the prostitute or the chronic criminal, is "relieved" by alcohol and drugs, so that the majority of these types of unfortunates are either drunkards or "dopes." Too often have reformers reversed the relationship, believing that alcohol caused prostitution and crime. Of course that relationship exists, but more often, in my experience, the alcohol is used to keep up the "ego" feeling, without which few can bear life. Curiously enough, one of the sex perversions, masturbation, has in a few cases a similar genesis. I have known patients who, when under the influence of depression, or humiliated in some way or other, found a compensating pleasure in the act. Here we come to a cardinal truth in the understanding of ourselves and our fellows and one we shall pursue in detail later,--that face to face with mental pain, men seek relief or pleasure or both by alcohol, drugs, sensual pleasures of all kinds, and that the secret explanation of all such habits is that they offer compensation for some pain and are turned to at such times. What one man seeks in work, another man seeks in religion, another finds in self-flagellation, and still others seek in alcohol, morphine, sexual excesses, etc. With the increasing excitement and tension of our times there is a constant search for relief, and here is the origin of much of the...
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