Facts of Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud Photo

He had a serious addiction to cigar that resulted to oral cancer.

For a number of years, Freud struggled with addiction to cigar. He was a heavy smoker, and this was the primary contributor of his battle with a serious illness. During his final years, he was diagnosed with oral cancer, which had gone to the point that it was no longer operable. After constant excruciating pains brought about by this disease, Freud requested his doctor to give him fatal doses of morphine to end his struggle. Three separate doses of this drug was administered on Freud, which resulted to his death on September 23, 1939.

Freud's books were burned during the Nazi occupation in Austria.

During the invasion of the Nazis in Austria, books written by famous thinkers including the ones by Freud were burned. He also poked fun on this scenario by telling his friend that if they lived in the Middle Ages, he would have been burned at stake instead of his books. In addition, the Gestapo interrogated both him and his daughter when their friend Marie Bonaparte decided to secure passage to England. This occurred prior to Marie's success in getting a chance to go to England from Austria. Although Marie tried to do her best in rescuing Freud's 4 sisters, she was not successful in doing so. Thus, they all died while held captive in Nazi concentration camps.

He decided to become a doctor for practical reasons.

Freud became engaged to Martha Bernays when he was 26 years old. However, he was struggling financially during that time since his job at a science lab did not suffice in supporting his family. As a result, he decided to abandon his career as a scientist and pursued a job as a medical doctor. He sacrificed the painful experience of being apart from Martha temporarily, so he could obtain professional training in medicine that equipped him with credentials to become a doctor.

Freud was addicted to cocaine.

Earlier in the 20th century, cocaine's harmful effects were still undiscovered. In fact, it was used as a euphoric and analgesic, and it was often found in throat lozenges and soda pop. Freud was particularly interested in cocaine's ability to ease depression, and he even advocated the use of this drug for numerous purposes. Unfortunately, his career as a doctor suffered after cocaine's harmful effects and addictive properties were revealed.

Freud considered himself as the favorite child of his mother.

Freud's mother fondly called him "golden Siggie", which made him feel his mother's greater love for him, as compared to to the affection his siblings got. According to him, this special favor he received from his mother gave rise to his optimism and self-reliance.

During the last 16 years of Freud's life, he had 33 more surgeries due to cancer.

Freud thought of cigar smoking as a habit that enhanced his creative skills. Unfortunately, this resulted to the formation of a cancerous tumor in his mouth, which required a removal of a huge portion of his jaw. There were also 33 additional surgeries that took place during Freud's final years, yet he never stopped smoking.

Freud wrote a scholarly paper on the benefits of cocaine.

In 1884, Freud published "On Coca", which was a paper that talked about the therapeutic effects of cocaine. His future wife and several friends also received doses of cocaine from him because he believed in the drug's ability to improve digestion and mood.

A patient gave him a couch as a present.

Madame Benvenisti, one of Freud's patients, sent the psychoanalyst a couch as a way of expressing her gratitude. This couch featured a Persian throw rug where patients lie down while under hypnosis and in a trance state.

Freud studied the sexual organs of eels.

When Freud was at the University of Vienna, he had to take up zoology as a part of his course. He dissected eels to find the gonads of the males, but his efforts were to no avail. This part of the research study was during his trip to Trieste.

His written work, "The Interpretation of Dreams" was hardly a success during the initial publication.

Although Freud thought of his written work as quite significant, a total of 351 copies were sold within the first 6 years. It was first published in 1899, and its second edition was only released in 1909.

Freud's death may have been a physician-assisted suicide.

By the summer of 1939, Freud was frail and suffering intense pain from terminal, inoperable mouth cancer. On September 21, 1939, Freud grasped the hand of his friend and doctor, Max Schur, and reminded him of his earlier pledge not to "torment me unnecessarily." He added, "Now it is nothing but torture and makes no sense." After receiving the permission of Freud's daughter, Anna, Schur injected the first of three heavy morphine doses. Freud slipped into a coma and never awoke.