The Self-Medication Hypothesis of Addictive Disorders: Focus on Heroin and Cocaine Dependence

  • Edward J. Khantzian
Conference paper


The article which follows this introduction was originally published as a Special (Cover) Article in the American Journal of Psychiatry in the November, 1985 issue, the same month in which the First International Drug Symposium, sponsored by The Bahamas Ministry of Health and The Embassy of the United States of America, was convened to discuss the rock-cocaine epidemic in the Bahamas and other Caribbean Islands. Based on my article, I was invited to participate in the Symposium and to speak about some of my views on the psychological predispositions for drug dependence in general, and in particular, on the psychological predisposition for cocaine dependence. At first, I did not grasp the seriousness and scope of the cocaine problem, but I accepted the invitation, believing I might make a contribution to the Symposium. I was not long in attendance at the Symposium before I realized that the Bahamian citizens, professionals, and health care leaders were facing a major crisis as a consequence of the cocaine epidemic.


Drug Dependence Methadone Maintenance Cocaine Dependence Clinical Vignette Cocaine Addiction 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward J. Khantzian
    • 1
  1. 1.Cambridge HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolCambridgeUK

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