SYMPTOM: Behaviors or bodily abnormalities that are caused by the return of the repressed. According to psychoanalysis, insistent desires that the individual feels s/he must repress will often find alternative paths toward satisfaction and therefore manifest themselves as symptoms. Freud defines a symptom thus: "A symptom is a sign of, and a substitute for, an instinctual satisfaction which has remained in abeyance; it is a consequence of the process of repression" ("Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety" 20.91). Symptoms tend to be activities that are detrimental or perhaps only useless to one's life. In extreme cases, such symptoms "can result in an extraordinary impoverishment of the subject in regard to the mental energy available to him and so in paralysing him for all the important tasks of life" (Introductory Lectures 16.358).
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