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Freudian Dictionary

INHIBITION-Inhibition is the expression of a functionallim. itation of the ego--a limitation which may have a large variety of causes. PoA-ch. 1 One may say of inhibitions, in fine, that they represent a limitation and restriction of ego functions, either precautionary or resulting from an impoverishment of energy. PoA-ch.l The more general inhibitions of the ego follow a simple mechanism. When the ego is occupied with a psychic task of special difficulty, as for example by mourning, a wholesale suppression of affect, or by the necessity for holding constantly mounting sexual fantasies in check, it becomes so impoverished with respect to the energy available to it that it is driven to restrict its expenditure in many places at the same time like a speculator who has tied up his money in his various enterprises. PoA-ch.l Inhibition and Anxiety-Many inhibitions are an obvious renunciation of function, because the exercise of the function would give rise to anxiety. PoA-ch. 1 Inhibition, Occupational-Inhibition in the field of occupation, which so often becomes a matter of treatment as an isolated symptom, is evidenced in diminished pleasure in work, or in its poor execution, or in such reactive manifestations as fatigue (vertigo, vomiting) if the subject forces himself to go on working. Hysteria compels the suspension of work by producing paralysis of organs and functions, the existence of which is incompatible with the carrying on of work. Tbe compulsion neurosis interferes with work by a continuous distraction of the attention and by loss of time in the form of procrastination and repetition. [Certain] inhibitions evidently subserve a desire for self-punishment, as for example not infrequently those in the sphere of vocational activity. The ego dares not do certain things because they would bring an advantage and a success which the strict superego has forbidden. Thereupon the ego renounces these activities also, in order not to become involved in conflict with the superego. PoA-ch.l Inhibition, Specific-In the case of certain particular inhibitions the trend expressed is rather easily recognized. When playing the piano, writing, and even walking are made the subject of neurotic inhibition, analysis reveals as the basis thereof an excessive erotization of the organ involved in the function in question, the fingers and the feet. (Cf. also Walking, Writing.) PoA-ch. 1 Inhibition vs. Symptom-It is easy to see wherein an inhibition differs from a symptom. A symptom can no longer be described as a process taking place either in or around the ego. PoA-ch.l The two concepts are not rooted in the same soil. Inhibition relates specifically to function and does not necessarily denote something pathological; a normal restriction or reduction of a function may also be termed an inhibition of it. To speak of a symptom, on the other hand, is tantamount to indicating a morbid process. Thus an inhibition may also be a symptom. Our habits of speech are such, then, as cause us to speak of an inhibition when a simple reduction of function is present, of a symptom when it is a question of an unusual alteration of function or of a new modality thereof. In many cases it seems to be perfectly arbitrary whether one emphasizes the positive or the negative aspect of a pathological process, whether one terms its result a symptom or an inhibition. PoA-ch.l




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