Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

A spoonful of sugar: Medication and the psychoanalytic body

Wright, Colin

A spoonful of sugar: Medication and the psychoanalytic body Thumbnail



© 2020, Springer Nature Limited. This article employs a Lacanian framework to re-visit the vexed relationship between psychoanalysis and medication, which, it is claimed, also pertains to debates about the status of the psychoanalytic body. Whilst acknowledging the importance of critiques of ‘Big Pharma’, the article makes the case for a different approach. It argues both that ‘medication’ can be considered as a (dominant) discourse that extends well beyond the taking of pills, and, relatedly, that the psychoanalytic clinic reveals the ways in which subjects can make use of medication in often creative and productive ways. It does so partly via a brief clinical vignette and partly through a reflection on the issues raised in an article by the French Lacanian psychoanalyst Éric Laurent, which posits four libidinal modes of medication: the pharmakon, the placebo, the ‘surplus of life’ and anaesthetics. Overall, the article argues that while psychoanalysts must not work for ‘Big Pharma’, they can support the uses to which some subjects put the products of ‘Big Pharma’.


Wright, C. (2020). A spoonful of sugar: Medication and the psychoanalytic body. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, 25, 135–154.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 29, 2019
Online Publication Date Jan 24, 2020
Publication Date 2020-06
Deposit Date Oct 8, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 25, 2021
Journal Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society
Print ISSN 1088-0763
Electronic ISSN 1543-3390
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Pages 135–154
Keywords Jacques Lacan, Medication, Addiction, ‘Big Pharma’, Éric Laurent, the Body
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Oct 8, 2019


You might also like

Downloadable Citations