What is an Oral Fixation?

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What is an Oral Fixation?

An oral fixation, or “Oral Stage Fixation” as Sigmund Freud coined the term, is when a person gets “fixed” at the oral stage of psycho-development. This oral stage was a needed stimulus in infancy in order that the child be encouraged to fulfill the biological need of obtaining milk from the mother’s breast. This leads the person to need something in their mouths, like a cigarette, almost all the time.

What causes an Oral Fixation?

Many people who have oral fixation issues wonder what caused them to have this issue. The answer is not simple. Freud theorized that it was caused by too short or too long a period of breastfeeding, but science has not proven this theory. In fact, Dr. Jack Newman who is a breastfeeding specialist in Canada asserts that breastfeeding until the child self weans makes the child feel more secure, and therefore less likely to turn to self-soothing, such as oral fixation. This self weaning generally comes sometime between 2 and 4 years of age.

What type of Therapy is Used to Treat an Oral Fixation?

There are many things to try to deal with the oral fixation that smokers experience. Choosing something not harmful to your health is one way to accommodate an oral fixation “problem.” Some choose to have their tongue pierced; others simply hold a toothpick in their mouths, still others might try pretzel rods or some other food. Counseling is also recommended for those with oral fixations with a clear determinable cause. For instance, if physiological or physical trauma causes you to put things in your mouth, then you may want to consider talking to someone about the issue.


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