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Addicted: The Myth & Menace of Drugs in Film (2000) - Jack Stevenson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Addiction is an uncontrollable compulsion to repeat a behavior regardless of its negative consequences. A person who is addicted is sometimes called an addict.
Many drugs or behaviors can precipitate a pattern of conditions recognized as addiction, which include a craving for more of the drug or behavior, increased physiological tolerance to exposure, and withdrawal symptoms in the absence of the stimulus. Most drugs and behaviors that directly provide either pleasure or relief from pain pose a risk of dependency. Addictions can also be formed due to opponent process reactions. For example the terror of jumping out of an airplane is rewarded with intense pleasure when the parachute opens. Because of opponent process criminal behavior, running, stealing, violence, acting, test taking can become habit forming. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiction [Feb 2005]
The medical "discovery" of addiction
The earliest British medical writing that characterized excessive drinking as a disease was Thomas Trotter's (1804) An Essay, Medical, Philosophical, and Chemical on Drunkenness and Its Effects on the Human Body. Trotter's notion remained undeveloped for years. British medical writers treated the topic desultorily and unevenly. Some physicians who were active in the temperance and teetotal movements, such as William B. Carpenter and Norman Kerr, went on to write and speak about the "medical" side of the problem. Although isolated forays into the field were made in the middle decades of the century, the medicalization of habitual drunkenness and drug habituation did not gather momentum until the 1870s.
Key elements of a modern notion of addiction appeared in two scandals about medical treatment, one a debate about whether or not doctors should prescribe alcohol to their patients. Some patients, it was argued, went on to develop drinking habits. This certainly seemed to be the case when physicians began prescribing morphine and the newly-improved, cheap hypodermic needles with which to inject it. At first glance, hypodermic morphine seemed to be medicine's contribution to nineteenth-century technology - advocates such as Francis Edmund Anstie and T. Clifford Allbutt claimed it would be as important as gaslight or the railway. The speed with which medicines could take effect was impressive. But the patients who injected themselves quickly built up a tolerance, and seemed to develop new symptoms that only a repetition of the dose could relieve. Meanwhile their original complaints often went unabated. Physicians were quick to take back the syringe and suggest dosage guidelines as well as offer descriptions of "narcotized" patients. Although physicians had little understanding of how morphine worked, they argued that only they could safely administer it. The sensations of well-being the syringe produced could only be generated as a cure for pain, not for the production of pleasure.
The debacles over medicinal alcohol and morphine suggest that addiction emerged in the nineteenth century in part because professional medicine did, too. First there is the obvious point that in the process of treating them, doctors undoubtedly gave some patients actual habits. Beyond this, however, is a more complicated relationship of cause and effect that involves knowledge of the effects of drugs. Historians of medicine have long identified a "revolution in Paris medicine" beginning around 1800, in which the patient's own well-being became less important than the observation of the disease unfolding inside his or her body. As medicine became more empirical (based on observation and ascultation), more scientific (conducted on hospital populations where various remedies could be compared to control groups), and more precise (dependent on standardized technology and measures) throughout the nineteenth century in Britain, physicians were transformed from the status of aristocrats' servants to knowledgeable authorities on disease. Whereas in the eighteenth century, their patients' subjective feelings were paramount, in the nineteenth, the patient's feelings increasingly became irrelevant, since the doctor was the one who knew what signs to look for. This meant that the doctor was the one with the authority to cure ailments. Patient self-medication was to be discouraged. Addiction lies at the heart of this gradual shift in knowledge, institutions, and attitudes, because it could only come about in a world in which self-medication was the illicit alternative to legitimate medical practice. After the rise of medicine, no one - not even doctors - could legitimately treat themselves. In this way, popular and folk cures and comforts, such as poppy head tea, gradually disappeared as medical knowledge became institutionalized. In the nineteenth century, this medical knowledge grew geometrically, bringing drug and alcohol use into the fields of "morbid psychology" and physiology alike. The recent introduction of anti-addiction drugs brings us full circle, back to the origins of addiction in medical treatment. --Susan Zieger, Addiction in the Nineteenth Century, Sept 2002, http://www.victorianweb.org/science/addiction/discovery.htm [Jun 2004]
NoteAlmost any drug has been declared/defended by the medical world benificial for existing addictions
Addicted: The Myth & Menace of Drugs in Film (2000) - Jack Stevenson
America’s War on Drugs has been raging for years, long before George Bush the Elder set off on his self-righteous crusade and long after his son, George W. Bush — a reputed coke snorter in his early days — took over the seat kept warm by his father. And while efforts to curb both narcotic usage and purchase have been met by only half-assed measures resulting in countless arrests of (mostly minority) petty dealers and knee-jerk Three Strikes legislation that spells certain doom for addicts who can’t kick — most notably as the bill’s author, Bill Simon, rides a different white horse to a recent victory in the California Republican primary — a deep consideration of the other Practice That Dare Not Speak Its Name as a social, financial, and physiological dependency is waylaid by more trenchant lip service leading to crackdowns on people that really don’t matter: the addicts themselves.
So thank the opium poppy that Jack Stevenson has cobbled together his fun-loving look at junkies and hypocrites that is Addicted. Far from being a dense, scholarly (read: impregnable) look at the way drug use and abuse on the silver screen (and elsewhere) has been connected to social practice and prejudice especially in its first breakneck tear through film history, "Highway to Hell: The Myth and Menace of Drugs in American Cinema" Addicted is more of a tongue-in-cheek romp, presenting most drug cinema in the era of production code as exploitation cinema at its finest. And while the book features other writers, Stevenson is its ringmaster and its star, his biting sense of humor peeking out from the parentheses at every turn. --SCOTT THILL in http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/36/addicted.html
From Renton's cold turkey hell in Trainspotting to the narcotic excesses of Duke and Gonzo in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, and way back to Thomas Edison's 1894 Opium Joint, editor Jack Stevenson presents an all-encompassing look at one of the most confrontational and experimental corners of film-making: Drug Cinema. An edited collection of highly charged essays, Addicted presents a general overview of the interchange between drugs and cinema before touching on: * Specific genres such as Blaxploitation, SF/Horror and the Underground * Key films including Performance, Scarface, Kids and Bringing Out the Dead * Foreign language films, presenting highlights from a body of work that remains largely overlooked. Visually loaded with dozens of eye-opening images, Addicted is an indispensable guide to an area of cinema which has traditionally enable film-makers to realise their most lurid, surrealistic, or complex visions. --amazon.co.uk
Under the Influence : The Literature of Addiction (2003) - Rebecca Shannonhouse
Under the Influence : The Literature of Addiction (2003) - Rebecca Shannonhouse [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
“In the end, we simply can’t stand in icy judgment of those who sought Paradise and found Hell. . . . If the stories in this book have a collective statement to make, it is a simple one: I, too, was human.” —Pete Hamill
Drawing on two centuries of important literary and historical writings, Rebecca Shannonhouse has shaped a remarkable collection of works that are, in turn, tragic, compelling, hilarious, and enlightening. Together, these selections comprise a profound and truthful portrait of the life experience known as addiction.
Under the Influence offers classic selections from fiction, memoirs, and essays by authors such as Tolstoy, Cheever, Parker, and Poe. Also included are topical gems by writers who illuminate the causes, dangers, pleasures, and public perceptions surrounding people consumed by excessive use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Recent provocative works by Abraham Verghese, the Barthelme brothers, Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, and others expand and modernize the definition of addiction to include sex, gambling, and food. Together, these incomparable writings give shape and meaning to the raw experience of uncontrollable urges.
Shannonhouse’s recent anthology, Out of Her Mind: Women Writing on Madness, is also available as a Modern Library Paperback.
see also: influence - addiction - literature
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