Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Addiction

  • It’s elementary: The addictions of Sherlock Holmes

    Kevin R. LoughlinBoston, Massachusetts, USA One might ask, why write about the addictions of a fictional character? The answer is that there is often a fine line between reality and fiction. The New York Times columnist Bret Stephens recently quoted a survey that found 20% of British teenagers thought that Winston Churchill was a fictional…

  • 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. Art…

  • 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…

  • Ella’s addiction: The story of a mother and morphine

    Lisa MulleneauxNew York, New York, United States Doctors today are relearning lessons from a century ago when overprescription of opioids created an epidemic of addicts, most of whom were upper-class or middle-class women. Eugene O’Neill’s mother, Mary “Ella” Quinlan O’Neill, was one of them, and the playwright’s harrowing portrait of her as Mary Tyrone in…

  • Art therapy: A historical perspective

    Mirjana Stojkovic-IvkovicBelgrade, Serbia Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses the creation of art to help resolve psychopathological conflicts. It helps people to identify psychological weaknesses and see problems from a different perspective, enabling them to escape from repetitive self-destructive behavior. Art therapy improves personality, self-image, and self-acceptance, resulting in an improved quality…

  • The elimination game

    Kelley Yuan Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA   Anorexia nervosa. Nouvelle Iconographie de la Salpêtrière. “Un cas d’anorexie hysterique” 1900. Xylophone ribs and sunken cheeks. A body desperate for food paired with a mind determined to starve. Here lies anorexia nervosa’s cruel paradox, of a body betrayed and a brain allowing it to waste away. The protest…

  • Mainstreaming acupuncture in Chicago

    Frank YurasekChicago, Illinois, United States For sixteen years I drove seventy-eight miles round-trip to stick needles in addicts, alcoholics, violent offenders, and homeless women. I practiced acupuncture with vulnerable communities around Chicago and southern Wisconsin even though it was not considered mainstream in our culture. I knew it to be an important tool in the…

  • Dead people healing alcoholism

    Maria BarnaSibiu, Romania In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were many villages in the Moldavia region of Romania where doctors hardly ever came. When people became ill they found hope in prayers or in the secret knowledge of initiated women. Thus the treatment of alcoholism was based on empirical and magical medicine.…

  • The man who could not stop smoking!

    Ravi ShankarAruba, Kingdom of the Netherlands He was dark and swarthy, around five foot four. His posture was slightly stooped and the muscles of his upper arm and torso were becoming flabby. His hair was unkempt and he had stubble on his face and neck. He was around thirty-five but looked older and had streaks…

  • Edgar Allan Poe—A tormented literary genius

    Donna OlsonWhitelaw, Alberta A man attempts to hide from his sins and ultimately from himself. A murderer takes an old man’s life and hides the body under the floorboards. But he cannot silence his guilt, so he keeps on hearing the dead man’s heart in his room. This story is “The Tell-Tale Heart,” written by…