[Carl Jung warns against the use of even non-addictive drugs by Americans.]
Evans: There is certainly nothing mystical about the statements you have just been making. Now to pursue this further, another development that falls right in line with this whole discussion of psychosomatic medicine has been the use of drugs to deal with psychological problems. Of course, historically drugs have been used a great deal by people to try to forget their troubles, to relieve pain, etc. However, a particular development has been the so-called non-addictive tranquilizing drugs. These, of course, became prominent in France with the drug, chlorpromazine. Then followed such drugs as reserpine-serpentina, and a great variety of milder tranquilizers, known by such trade names as Miltown and Equinal. They are now being administered very freely to patients by general practitioners and internists. In other words, not only are the stronger tranquilizers being administered to mentally ill patients such as schizophrenics, but to a great extent today these drugs are being dispensed almost as freely as aspirins to reduce everyday tensions.
Jung: This practice is very dangerous.
Evans: Why do you think this is dangerous? These drugs are supposed to be nonaddictive.
Jung: It’s just like the compulsion that is caused by morphine or heroin. It becomes a habit. You don’t know what you do, you see, when you use such drugs. It is like the abuse of narcotics.
Evans: But the argument is that these are not habit-forming; they are not physiologically addictive.
Jung: Oh, yes, that’s what one says.
Evans: But you feel that psychologically there is still addiction?
Jung: Yes. For instance, there are many drugs that don’t produce habits, the kind of habits that morphine does; yet it becomes a different kind of habit, a psychical habit, and that is just as bad as anything else.
Evans: Have you actually seen any patients or had any contact with individuals who have been taking these particular drugs, these tranquilizers?
Jung: I can’t say. You see, with us there are very few. In America there are all the little powders and the tablets. Happily enough, we are not yet so far. You see, American life is in a subtle way so one-sided and so uprooted that you must have something with which to compensate the real nature of man. You have to pacify your unconscious all along the line because it is in absolute uproar; so at the slightest provocation you have a big moral rebellion in America. Look at the rebellion of modern youth in America, the sexual rebellion, and all that. These rebellions occur because the real, natural man is just in open rebellion against the utterly inhuman form of American life. Americans are absolutely divorced from nature in a way, and that accounts for that drug abuse.
Evans: But what about the treatment of individuals who are seriously mentally ill? We have the problem of hospitalized, psychotic patients. For instance, certain schizophrenics are so withdrawn that they are virtually impossible to interact with in psychotherapy; so in many hospitals in the United States, drugs such as chlorpromazine have been used in order to render many such patients more amenable to psychotherapy. I don’t think most of our practitioners believe the drugs cure the patients in themselves, but they at least make the patient more amenable to therapy.
Jung: Yes, the only question is whether that amenability is a real thing or drug-induced. I am sure that any kind of suggestive treatment will have effect, because these people simply become suggestible. You see, any drug or shock in the mind will lower stamina, making these people accessible to suggestion. Then, of course, they can be led, can be made into something, but it is not a very happy result. ~Carl Jung; Conversations with C.G. Carl Jung