Vincent Van Gogh And Bipolar Disorder

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Vincent van Gogh and Bipolar Disorder Introduction: Vincent van Gogh is one of history’s most renowned painters yet has never been considered the most mentally stable artist. Many people are familiar with the story of Van Gogh chopping off his own ear and later committing suicide. Although many artists have been considered to have suffered from mental disorders, such as Edvard Munch (GAD and hallucinations), Jackson Pollock (depression and substance-abuse), and Michelangelo (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) (Adams 2014), Van Gogh seems to stick out among the crowd mainly because of the absurdity of him cutting off his own ear. It is common to hear someone refer to Van Gogh as being “mad” or “crazy” despite the fact that he was never…show more content…
519). Suddenly, without much warning, he dropped everything related to dealing art and became extremely involved in religion. According to Blumer, Van Gogh lived and breathed evangelism during this time and devoted four years of his life to the practice of becoming a preacher (p. 519-520). Although this might not have been his first clinically defined episode of hypomania, I believe this radical change in interests and goal-directed behavior might have been a sign of the onset of Bipolar 2. As Van Gogh got older, more and more symptoms of Bipolar 2 emerged. Van Gogh left the church and decided to become an artist at the age of 27 and his mental health seemed to diminish greatly from here until the end of his life at the age of 37. While reading Blumer’s article, it became apparent that his first clear hypomanic episode occurred after he moved to Arles, France. In letters he was writing to his older brother, Theo, Van Gogh described his feverish painting, heightened emotions, and excessive consumption of absinthe (Blumer, 2002). I classify this as a hypomanic episode because it lasted less than a week and meets the requirement of showing three or more symptoms: feverishly painting would fall under an increase in goal-directed behavior, heightened emotions under either inflated self-esteem or
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