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Beyond the Primal Addiction: Food, Sex, Gambling, Internet, Shopping, and Work
Nina Savelle-Rocklin and Salman Akhtar
Routledge / Softcover / Mar 2019
9780367150723 (ISBN-10: 0367150727)
reg price: $60.95 our price: $ 57.90 (may be subject to change)
192 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-4 weeks

Written by experienced practitioners in the fields of addiction and psychoanalysis, and illustrated by a range of moving vignettes, this ground-breaking book examines the psychological foundations of addiction in the areas of food, sex, gambling, internet usage, shopping and work.

Many addictions are behavioral in nature, essentially coping measures for other, more complex issues. This pioneering book not only explores the roots of addictive behaviour, explaining why popular treatment options such as the 12 Step Program often fail, it also provides insights for emotional resolution and strategies for behavioural change.

Beyond the Primal Addiction seeks to understand rather than pathologize addictive behaviours, now so pervasive in contemporary societies. It will be essential reading for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and other mental health professionals, as well as their clients.


"This groundbreaking publication goes beyond the ordinary books on addiction and recovery. Finally, someone approached this from a psychoanalytic psychodynamic perspective offering an in-depth approach to one of the most baffling phenomena-addictions. This book strives to remedy that which has been seriously ignored in the analytic history such dynamics as shame, guilt, feelings of helplessness and powerlessness that entices the addict to seek soothing. Readers will identify, be touched, not feel alone, and be humbled by the forthright honesty in meeting the challenging in world of addictions. The authors offer numerous treatment approaches and relevant case material to attract readers from the most seasoned to other levels of experience. The theoretical influences will be deeply enhanced by many of the profound insights this volume has to offer." -- Joan Jutta Lachkar, Ph.D., Affiliate Member of New Center for Psychoanalysis, Author, The Narcissistic/Borderline Couple (2003)

"Nina Savelle-Rocklin and Salman Akhtar have created a fascinating and profound review of the most common addictions. Starting from Freud’s view of masturbation as the primal addiction, they and their contributors offer a current, sophisticated, and accessible exploration of addictions. Their essential focus is not the usual on the substance itself – the drug or the behavior --but rather on the surprising commonality underlying all addictions. Abundant clinical vignettes resonate with theoretical considerations. By reading this book, clinicians will help their patients by gaining new insights into the way addictions arise from problems in self-regulation, defenses against the pain of intolerable affects and interpersonal anguish." --Axel Hoffer, M.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute

Table of Contents






A general psychoanalytic theory of addiction

Lance Dodes



Food addiction

Nina Savelle-Rocklin


Sex addiction

Lawrence Jacobson


Gambling addiction

Richard Rosenthal


Internet addiction

Charles Wisnieswki, Stanley Kletkewicz, & April Fallon


Shopping addiction

Ricardo Rieppi & Jean Petrucelli


Work addiction

Salman Akhtar



Addictions without drugs

Salman Akhtar & Nina Savelle-Rocklin



About the Editors

Nina Savelle-Rocklin is a psychoanalyst specializing in eating disorders. She hosts a radio program on LA Talk Radio and is regularly featured in magazines, summits and podcasts, including Psychology Today, Real Simple, The Dr. Drew Podcast and more. She is the author of Food For Thought: Perspectives on Eating Disorders.

Salman Akhtar, MD, is Professor of Psychiatry, Jefferson Medical College, and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He was the recipient of the 2012 Sigourney Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychoanalysis.

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