Views & Reviews Between the Lines

An addictive personality

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d2415 (Published 20 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2415
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

Fallada: joys of morphinism

Do men choose philosophies, or philosophies men? A friend of mine, who has thought deeply about the question, thinks it is the latter: by which he means, of course, that it is one’s temperament rather than abstract considerations of truth that determines one’s world view. A cognate question is whether there is such a thing as the addictive personality, and if so, whether each drug has its corresponding personality. Or is it merely circumstances that addict the addict?

The German writer Hans Fallada (1893–1947, real name Rudolf Ditzen), was a man of multiple addictions, but principally to alcohol and morphine. In his Short Treatise on the Joys of Morphinism he describes, in terms …

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