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Addictions, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Treatment Failure



  1. Legg, Timothy J. PhD, PsyD, MS, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP, MAC


Abstract: The fact that addictive disorders have a significant negative impact on the health of the global population is well documented in contemporary health literature. What is less well documented is the uncomfortable realization that the tools in our armament to help individuals who struggle with addictive disorders are limited. Many individuals will spend their lives "cycling" through the addiction treatment continuum only to again be met with relapse. Third-party reimbursement for addiction treatment has focused on time-limited treatments and "brief" therapies with an additional emphasis on support group attendance (aka "free" services) with minimal focus on the fact that brief therapies have poor evidence for efficacy. In this article, we explore an alternative to brief therapies by reaching back to the earliest and most comprehensive treatment we have for behavioral change-psychoanalysis. This article engages in a literature review to determine whether sufficient evidence exists for the use of psychoanalysis as a treatment for addictive disorders. Implications for advanced practice psychiatric nurses are discussed.