Tag Archives: Addiction

A very Victorian drug

Anita Cooke New Brunswick, Canada   Elizabeth Siddal Plaiting her Hair by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Tate Gallery London. Date unknown. Photo © Tate. CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0. On February 14, 1862, the Daily News reported the “Death of a Lady from an Overdose of Laudanum.”1 Four nights earlier, Dante Gabriel Rossetti had discovered his wife, Lizzie, in […]

“John Barleycorn Must Die”: addiction attributions in Jack London’s “Alcoholic Memoirs”

Ad A. Kaptein Barend W. Florijn Pim B. van der Meer Leiden, the Netherlands   L’Arlésienne (portret van Madame Ginoux). Vincent Van Gogh. 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum. A thousand words every morning—with iron discipline, Jack London adhered to his writing routine. Later in the day, he would turn to John Barleycorn: beer, wine, whisky, and brandy. […]

Art and alcohol

Giovanni Ceccarelli Roma, Italy   Fig. 1: Drinking Bacchus. Guido Reni, 1623, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden. Via Wikimedia. In the late 1940s Elaine de Kooning, wife of one of the most eminent exponents of American abstract expressionism (Willem de Kooning), commented that the whole art world of her time had become alcoholic. Yet even earlier, perhaps […]

Viktor Frankl: the meaning of a life

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Viktor Frankl, 1965. Creative Commons. Not long before the Dachau concentration camp was liberated in April 1945, Viktor Emil Frankl was seriously ill with typhus and writing feverishly on stolen scraps of paper, determined to keep himself and his ideas alive. Faced with the prospect […]

The derailment of Franklin Pierce

Jacob Appel  New York, New York, United States   Pres. Franklin Pierce. neg. from original ink by Brady. [between 1855 and 1865]. Part of Brady-Handy photograph collection. From the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Few subjects have attracted as much attention from medical historians, both well-founded and speculative, as the health of United States presidents. […]

Lucid interval

Emma Manuel Eshwar Rajesh Chennai, India   Clutches of Cannabis. Photo by Marlon Lara on Unsplash Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people like me were silently grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with their family. Born as a single child whose parents got frequent transfers, I had lived with […]

A moonie

Simon Wein Petach Tikvah, Israel   Untitled blue face, Acrylic on Canvas, 50/70 cm, 2017. Painting by Daniel Wein. Published with permission of the artist. Wally Moon was a legend who stood at least 1.90 meters tall. The most striking things about him were his appearance and his gruffness. When I met him during my […]

It’s elementary: the addictions of Sherlock Holmes

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, USA   Illustration of Sherlock Holmes for “The Valley of Fear.” From The Strand Magazine. By Frank Wiley September, 1914. Accessed via the Toronto Public Library, Adventures with Sherlock Holmes virtual exhibit. One might ask, why write about the addictions of a fictional character? The answer is that there is […]

The door to recovery

Irene Metzner Glenn Youngkrantz Chicago, Illinois, United States   Stories about addiction are often filled with despair, but they don’t have to be: this is a true story in two parts. The first is the perspective of a patient, and the second that of his doctor, as they chose to be hopeful.   Part I The Two Doorways. James McNeill Whistler. 1879/80. The […]

Balancing empathy

Nora Salisbury Vancouver, BC, Canada   Street art in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Photo by Lee Gangbar. I almost fainted on my first clinical day in nursing school. I was invited to watch a catheter insertion. While my gut reaction was to completely avoid it, I knew that as a new student nurse I was supposed […]