Article Index


Lacan did not elaborate a theory on addiction. His references to the topic where always in the context of the elaboration of the main psychoanalytic concepts and not a specific theorisation of toxicomania. The most important reference of Lacan to the matter can be found in a text from 1975 “journée d’etude des Cartels de l’Ecole freudienne. Séance de Closure”
In this text he analyses the relationship between anxiety and castration. Castration is the operation which can liberate the subject from anxiety. He poses the question “what is anxiety?” (Lacan, 1975 p. 1623)
He refers to Freud’s famous clinical case “little Hans” and defines anxiety as localised in a point of evolution when the child “realises he’s married to his prick” (5) (ibid, p 1623 my translation).
He starts perceiving sensations from his “little willie” (petit-pipí) and that makes him realise that “…there is nothing better to act as (faire) phallus, which is obviously a complication (…)”(6)
This complication is Hans’ phobia. Hans will have to go through all the paths and comply with the necessary symbolic transformation of this “willy-phallus” to become a part of the symbolic world. This symbolic world in which the “sexual law” allows the real penis to be symbolysed as an instrument (the phallus). (Lopez, 2002, p.92)
The girl also has the same complication, although she’s more fortunate (heureuse). It will take some time to realize that she doesn’t have the little willie, therefore her anxiety is in reference the one afflicted for this reason. (7)
One of the ways of dealing with this affliction is the use of drugs
“Everything which permits the escape from this marriage (to the phallus) is clearly very welcome, that is the reason for the success of drugs, for instance; there is no other definitions for drugs than this one: it is what permits to break the marriage to the little willie “
( Lacan, cited by Loose, 2002, p.221) (8)

This marriage with the phallus refers to the illusion of believing that the phallus doesn’t constitute an obstacle to the sexual relationship. Lacan is also suggesting that the subject does not accept the limits imposed by the phallus as a regulator of jouissance.
In this context we can speculate that Lacan is referring to a mechanism which aims at escaping castration. In other words, to configure a response to the structural lack inaugurated by castration.