C.G. Jung Speaking

Dr. Carl Jung on the use of Drugs

Question: There is certainly nothing mystical about the statements you have just been making, Dr. Jung. Now to pursue this a little further, another development that falls right into line with this whole discussion of psychosomatic medicine has been the use of drugs to deal with psychological problems. A particular development has been the so-called non-addictive drugs which began in France with hlorpromazine, reserpine, serpentina, and a great variety of milder tranquillizers known by such trade names as Miltown and Equinal. They are now being administered very freely to patients by general practitioners and internists, not only to schizophrenics and others who are not approachable, but are being dispensed almost as freely as aspirins to reduce everyday tensions.

Dr. Jung: It is very dangerous.

Question: Why do you think it is dangerous? They say these drugs are non-addictive.

Dr. Jung: It’s just like the compulsion that is caused by morphine or heroin. It becomes a habit. You don’t know what you are doing, you see, when you use such drugs. It is like the abuse of narcotics.

Question: But the argument is that these are not habit-forming; they are not addictive, not physiologically.

Dr. Jung: Oh yes, that is what one says.

Question: But you feel that psychologically there is still addiction?

Dr. Jung: Yes. There are many drugs that are not habit-forming like morphine, yet it becomes a psychic habit, and that is just as bad as anything else.

Question: Have you actually seen any patients or had any contact with individuals who have been taking these particular drugs, these tranquilizers?

Dr. Jung: I can’t say. You see with us there are very few. In America, you know, there are all those little tablets and powders. Happily enough we are not yet so far. You see, American life is, in a subtle way, so one-sided and so deracincs, uprooted,
that you must have something to compensate the earth. You have to pacify your unconscious all along the line because it is in an absolute uproar, so at the slightest provocation you have a big moral rebellion. Look at the rebellion of modern youth in America, the sexual rebellion, and all that. The real natural man is just in open rebellion against the utterly inhuman form of life. You are absolutely divorced, you know, from nature in a way, and that accounts for the drug abuse.

Question: But what about the treatment of seriously ill mental patients? We have the problem of hospitalized patients, the schizophrenics, manic-depressives. Certain schizophrenics are so withdrawn that you can’t deal with them. In many
hospitals they have been using drugs like chlorpromazine and the patient comes back to reality for a short time. I don’t think most of our practitioners believe the drugs cure the patients in themselves, but at least they make the
patient more amenable to psychotherapy.

Dr. Jung: Yes, the only question is whether that amenability is a real thing or drug-induced. I am sure that any kind of suggestive treatment will have an effect, because the patients simply become more suggestible. You see, any drug or shock
undermines the moral stamina, making these people accessible to suggestion. And then they can be led, they can be made into something, but it is not a very happy result. ~Carl Jung; C.G. Jung Speaks; The Houston Interviews [1957]; Page 334.