Through the Mirror… Considerations Concerning the Pertinence of Structural Diagnosis for Young Drug Addicts

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What is the object of the desperate quest of drug addicts? Olievenstein (1983) distinguishes the “real drug addict” from the one who has become a regular user by fortuitous events. According to the author, the “real drug addict’s” split traces back to the stage of the mirror where he had the opportunity to grasp a unified reflexion of himself; afterwards, the mirror broke. Later, the person desperately tries to gain back this feeling of a full existence, and it is the drug, which allows him to temporarily close this hole. Olievenstein’s conception is analysed through the description of four young drug addicts’ evolution, and the theoretical question of the significance of the drug for the drug addict is discussed. The discussion is also fed with some data taken from a retrospective study based on drug-dependent prisoners’ records. By means of a correlational and multidimensional analysis, the possibility to distinguish two profiles of functioning, based on the metaphorical versus the metonymic prevalence in the TAT, is tested. Consequences for psychotherapy are drawn from these considerations.

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