Freud and his depression. 

Many credit Freud’s lengthy self-analysis as an effective treatment, it  also appears that recognition from the world was a powerful depression  antidote. 

Freud famously wrote that depression  was characterized by feelings of guilt or self-blame – and that was how  it differed from ‘normal’ sadness. 
Scientists  have shown that the brains of people with depression respond  differently to feelings of guilt – even after their symptoms have  subsided.
Freud, at an early age, very much wanted fame and recognition.  In his late 20s, he was beaten out by Carl Koller in the discovery of  cocaine as an anesthetic, and that depressed him some. Later, through  his work on psychoanalysis, dreams, and sexuality, Freud received  worldwide recognition, and he acquired an intellectual community in  which Freud was the leader.“For many years he suffered from periodic depression and fatigue or  apathy, neurotic symptoms, including anxiety attacks,” according to The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud,  authored by Ernest Jones, one of Freud’s disciples. An early Freud  attempt to assuage his depression was cocaine use. When he was 28, Freud  said, “In my last severe depression, I took coca again and a small dose  lifted me to the heights in wonderful fashion. I am just now busy  collecting the literature for a song of praise to this magical  substance. . . .I take very small does of it regularly against  depression and against indigestion, and with the most brilliant  success.” Ultimately the cocaine treatment for depression was an  embarrassing failure for Freud. After getting other’s addicted to it,  Freud discovered cocaine’s dangers awfully..His such drastic approaches were not well-received by other physicians because he could not unequivocally prove them.And still he is the founder of many concepts that are being used in psychological treatment techniques,with all the credit.Most of his work depended on his own introspection and retrospection.

Zaira Khan 


14 thoughts on “Freud and his depression. 

  1. Confronted with depressive thoughts and also going through acute phases, he became aware of the conscious and sub-conscious reactions, which could be specific in his case. But to apply those same observations on someone seeking therapy is according to me more of an influence in that direction in a controlled environment of a clinic. Every mind is unique and stimulants/irritants that trigger the onset of depression or withdrawing from normal situations could be seen as protective but also avoidance. Arguing on this premises, it could be one hand productive (safety) and counter-productive (to analyze life from this flawed prism of vision.

    Mind is indeed the most powerful place and equally vulnerable due to its wandering to seek new experiences of life which can develop or scar the mind for life. This debate can go on and there aren’t any conclusions. Just sharing some of my initial thoughts. (Sorry for a long reply).

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    1. It is possible that Freud may have drawn a cause-and-effect relationship between his brother’s “disappearance” (death) and his own negative feelings towards him. This may have reinforced the childish belief in the potency of negative emotion. Well Freud and his depression caught the attention of many psychologists.

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      1. That could be possible I agree, but isn’t that a case of transference (just directing his emotional turmoil towards his subjects or people around him. Negative emotion stay longer compared to happy ones and and as soon as they leave there’s a tinge of melancholic shadow even in most vibrant minds. But to infer the conditions and to truly understand the consciousness and subconscious, which are at silent opposites will lead to mere generalized observations.

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    1. Introspection does help us with self- realization and in that process, we sharpen the intellect to at least pick up the subtle hints about others. But to go further and not lose mental balance one must be ready to expand the consciousness; this is where one has to be spiritually awakened.

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    1. Writing is psychology and philosophy. Without these aspects of life, writing cannot portray the myriad emotions, feelings, and turmoil, be it of the mind (conscious and subconscious).Poetry, prose, and even any literature in capturing the essence of society and what the sentiments are (subtle or expressed loudly). As it is said, feelings and emotions cannot be hidden. Be it through bodylanaguage, silence, or communication.

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    2. One of Freud’s major contributions to mental health was the discovery that patient improve when they talk to a therapist. He developed a particular technique for talking that was part of psychoanalysis named free association. Today, many people misunderstand free association to be an opportunity for the patient to meander aimlessly during a psychoanalytic session while the therapist sits back and relaxes. In actuality, Freud used interpretations of what the patient was saying to help him recover forgotten memories that he believed were at the root of the psychiatric symptoms being experienced. Freud, the exacting and precise scientist was not about sitting back relaxed while patients filled the hour talking aimlessly.

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      1. It was I guess to accumulate information of the conscious mind to observe the repetitions and negate them at a latter stage of therapy. Incongruence between conscious and subliminal mind (which mostly remains dormant) is barely understood, until the unnecessary and obsessive feelings are cleared or dealt with. May induced feelings also coerce thought process or may even alter. Aimless talking it may be but it was conscious listening of the words, body language, and also those feelings which were not usually expressed but still came to the fore even if feebly. That’s where, with the combination of all the information, one may holistically understand the true character of the mind. According to me, Mind is the vast field of consciousness and brain is the organ with neuro-transmitters to collaborate/communicate to gain knowledge and sensory information.

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  2. Freud laid the foundations for today’s awareness of the damaging effects of child abuse, both sexual and violent, and of child neglect.
    He also opened the whole topic of sexual behavior, human development and human personality. While most practitioners no longer practice orthodox psychoanalysis, most incorporate some aspects of his thinking into their approach to mental health.
    We have learned a lot more since Freud and we will continue to improve in our understanding and treatment of mental health. We owe him a debt of gratitude for setting us on the course of learning about mental health.


    1. Sex, sexuality, and the premises of human sexuality has been restricted to procreation and to further the best genes to improve the humankind. But this entire sexuality has a thin line before it becomes hypersexual. This is where the confusion starts. To elaborate here, humans are not dealing with sexuality as such but more to do with the acts. Without understanding the psychology of sex, and the body functions, sex just becomes a chore gratification. Sexual energy is immense, and not many know how to utilize or divert this energy to enhance the consciousness and understanding of existence. Given the fact, we are humans, we need to comprehend the importance of the entire body and not just the organs.

      An aware mind, with conducive atmosphere can develop a mind thoroughly, but otherwise it can disintegrate at an early age and the behavioral issues will remain for a significant amount of time if not taken care of . Mostly, they are undiagnosed or course of life-long medication is the norm. Which may not be the right option for treatment.


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