An article just published on kuro5hin.org discusses whether psychiatric drug treatment is robbing society of artistic talent.
Many authors have argued that mental illness and creativity are linked. Perhaps most notably, psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison discussed the associations between mood disorder and creativity in her book Touched with Fire.
Although Jamison largely deals with literary figures, other researchers have noted high levels of mental disorder in jazz musicians, with one researcher even suggesting that Buddy Bolden, the founder of modern jazz, may have developed jazz improvisation in response to his cognitive impairments.
The kuro5hin article isn’t the most clearly structured piece you’ll ever read, but is brimming with ideas, and asks important questions about whether the suppresion of mental illness necessarily involves the suppresion of creative thought.
Link to the kuro5hin article Pharmaceuticals and the Death of Art.
2 thoughts on “Are psychiatric drugs stifling art ?”
Quick Links: Mar. 18, 2005
Are psychiatric drugs harming art?Flickr postcard browserBlack hole discovered in New York
As an artist with adult ADD I am more than slightly indignant at anthroporraistes’ article on kuro5hin. I went through four extensive tests and was diagnosed my first semester of grad school. I am a music theory major, but have a degree in composition.
I am indignant because I hated my undergrad. I hated that I couldn’t get my compositions done; I was constantly fighting myself, and it was incredibly counterproductive, not to mention I felt like an idiot. I felt depressed, frustrated, and angry. I was a very bitter person. After I started my meds (adderall) my life changed. I love school, I can focus and am interested in class. I’m a happy person with drive and ambition. I get my work done without pulling my hair out, and I have even MORE drive to compose, write academic articles, and generally just get my stuff done. If anything being on adderall has RELEASED my creativity, not stifled it. I’m not addicted, I am fine when I don’t take it during the evenings or weekends. I think the author needs to reevaluate his broad and biased claims and open his mind to the possibility that meds could have even helped harnessed those artists creativity, as opposed to stifling it. The biggest points that I take issue with are that drugs stop insanity which is the cause of genius, and the other is that drugs stifle creative flights, which is also not true.
I have found that meds help most people, whether it be ADD or depression or whatever, HARNESS their creativity, as opposed to stifling it. Perhaps that idea should be explored as well, instead of uninvolved uninformed people making claims with no support.