Peter R. Martin: Historical Vocabulary of Addiction


Peter R. Martin’s Reply to Hector Warnes’ comment on Empathy


        Hector Warnes adds a very worthwhile perspective with his analysis of my essay on Empathy.  His viewpoint is likely based on a comprehensive working knowledge of human interactions gained through clinical observations of the interconnectedness of human beings using psychoanalytic techniques.  Conceptualization of human bonds within the framework of psychoanalysis, a uniquely human construct, adds to and can be complemented by those of neuroscience and evolutionary study of these phenomenon in other species.  Merging these perspectives by reflecting on the contributions of Kohut, Bowlby, Spitz and Krystal who have observed these phenomena in man throughout the stages of development in health and in disease are valuable. 

        I particularly appreciate Hector Warnes acknowledging the epistemological linkages between neuroscientific methods embodied in neuroimaging/neuroendocrinology and psychoanalytic concepts via a demonstrated relationship between “maternal and romantic love while mothers viewed pictures of their own and/or acquainted children” and “the brain's reward system, particularly the dopaminergic circuits and the oxytoxin-vasopressin receptors.”  This, of course, elegantly summarizes the vital role of empathy (or lack thereof) in the pathophysiology, phenomenology and treatment of the very human disease of addiction.


March 24, 2022