Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Pharmaceuticals and the Death of Art
The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > The Monkey Hole > Arts & Philosphical Sundries
Pages: 1, 2, 3
celticgent
if this is a repost, too fucking bad.



Pharmaceuticals and the Death of Art
Kirk
Just say "no" to drugs.

Donnie Darko
Interesting, and I've speculated about that very sort of thing the article discusses with friends, though the author gives no evidence at all to back up their assertions, and it's a difficult case to find support for. I've also discussed it with a few people who have recovered from mental illness (OCD or Manic Depression), and they emphatically disagree with the ideas presented in that essay.

The essay seems to imply that creativity often happens because of mental illness, rather than in spite of it. I'd like to think that creative people are innately creative, as opposed to their creativity existing merely because of psychological dysfunction. Of the creative people I know who were at one time "mentally ill", they actually became MORE creative once they were medicated, since their dysfunction no longer interefered with their ability to produce work and their focus was no longer disrupted by periods of self-hatred, lack of motivation and constant distraction. I know one extremely gifted writer who suffered from a pretty serious case of OCD, who with medication and therapy was able to write more and write better (mo' betta), because they spent far less time organizing pencils, washing their hands, and angsting over where to place a comma. The goal with medication should only be to help a person feel more at east with their self, and to find balance. The goal should not be to create an average obedient middle class suburban citizen that basks in mediocrity.

I fully agree however, that we as a society rely far too heavily on happy pills for minor ailments. Plenty of psychological "disorders" that are medicated are relatively minor and don't really interfere with the person's ability to function on a day to day basis, and I've seen interesting people turn into dull houseplants from over-medication, so the sword is certainly double edged, and I understand the author's aversion to modern psychiatry's "I've got a pill to make you normal" attitude.

The bottom line is that I think if Edgar Allen Poe had been properly treated for alcoholism & depression, he might have published double the work he did, since he likely would have lived longer, and he probably would have created work with broader thematic content, rather than re-addressing issues of loss and death over and over again. I think creative genious comes from one's innate ability to see things differently from the norm, and to translate that vision into work others can experience, and I think with or without mental illness, that ability is still there. Some mental illnesses may enhance that ability, but they may also interfere with one's ability to produce work, and can certainly lead to isolation, ruined relationships, and early death.
celticgent
says you.
Donnie Darko
Sez you. But what the fuck do I know? I'm crazy. wacko.gif
Ari
An interesting article.
One thing that they didn't mention is that many old artists self medicated with common drugs of the time.
archangelica
Donnie, great post, thanks. Echoing what he said, I'd like to add that this article is such complete crap it makes my head hurt. Modern medicine has come far enough that if someone is given a medication to treat a mental illness, generally speaking, it will treat the problem without dulling the "creativity" or other mental capabilities of that person. This is why doctors prescribe specific medications for specific illnesses, rather than just giving everyone the pharmaceutical equivalent of a lobotomy.

Yes, I do agree that some "happy pills" are being over prescribed, but hell, most of those prescriptions are going to people such as bored housewives who are "depressed" because their husbands have started using viagra and cheating on them after getting sick of listening to them whine endlessly about how difficult their life is because the ritalin prescribed for little Billy isn't working - when in fact little Billy doesn't actually have adhd, but is just a spoiled brat who never learned any manners from the 14 hours of tv per day that he's allowed to watch so his parents don't have to actually spend any quality time with the kid. Sheesh.

Getting back to the main points of the article...
First, did the author ever stop to consider that part of the reason that these "insane" artists drank so much was that they were perhaps unknowingly trying to self-medicate - trying to escape from their illness and simply feel "normal" for a while so that they could create?

Second, what on earth makes him think that there's a some sort of creative decline going on??? Personally, I find that the most offensive part of the entire article.
celticgent
art is dead.
Absomphe
Which means it's time for you to cdog-plain.gif it.
Donnie Darko
Art Garfunkel is dead? Fuck!
Kirk
He's in the sewer.
Breson
QUOTE (Donnie Darko @ Mar 31 2005, 12:31 PM)

The bottom line is that I think if Edgar Allen Poe had been properly treated for alcoholism & depression, he might have published double the work he did,

Or he could have been like many of our wondermous modern writers that have been treated and overcome depression.

Roseanne Barr-Arnold
Richard Simmons
Dr. Phil
Tony Robbins

We should be thankful for his untreated illness.

Is quality not quantity. Just ask Lou Reed.
Donnie Darko
The difference is none of those dolts you named had a creative cell in their body to begin with, crazy or not.

And I think Poe (whose writing often suffered from his binges) would have written similar material even if he were treated for alcoholism & depression, given that he was a creative person, regardless of his mental condition, and his life was still filled with tremendous tragedy to inspire his stories.

I'm not saying quantity is more important than quality. Only that there's a great number of artists who died prematurely due to lifestyles driven by mental illness, and that mental illness ain't the rosy creative springboard the guy who wrote that article is portraying it to be.
Grim
Angst, depression, anger, they have their place. As long as you feel indebted to the world, the family, the workplace... you wax and wane in reaction to it. When the connection to these things is severed, when you can no longer interpret your own existence as a function of the day-to-day, the ineffable distractions... you come to see life without the technicolor. Greater illuminations may or may not come from disenfranchising oneself from the world. I don't think the selfish dependencies - developed in a life where self-preservation is the primary impetus - have great odds of surviving the dramatic shifts in thinking that come from isolation, or deprivation of the social soul. The death of the common personae is prolly too great a burden on most men. But for those that sacrifice, the reward is infinite, if only personal.

Passion. Was that what it was called before it became a chemical imbalance?
grey boy
QUOTE (Breson @ Mar 31 2005, 05:58 PM)
Tony Robbins

You miss-pelled Tom.
archangelica
QUOTE (grey boy @ Mar 31 2005, 09:50 PM)
You miss-pelled Tom.

Awwww, you wouldn't really put Tom Robbins in the same group as those people would you? Or did you mean that he miss-pelled Tom as Roseanne?
bexclent
QUOTE (monsieurgrim @ Mar 31 2005, 08:20 PM)

Passion.  Was that what it was called before it became a chemical imbalance?

Passion is what drives art. Passion for all kinds of things and reasons.

And yes, passion can be interpreted as madness.

Go rent "Camille Claudel," the story of Rodin's apprentice whose passions for 2 different things led to her being committed.

Archangelica has an excellent point in that there is no creative decline going on, and medicated or not, creativity has to be in a person to begin with. I know plenty of medicated people who couldn't create a decent peanut butter sanwich. As Donnie said, mental illness is not a creative springboard.

My best friend is a manic depressive automotive stylist. When he is medicated, he is at the top of his game. When off medication, he self medicates with alcohol and is slowly destroying himself. All of the serious posts here have excellent points to consider.

I believe that the root problem here is extremes. Extreme passion, extreme medication, extreme madness. Anything in extreme has the ability to destroy. When balance is lost, sometimes your mind is not too far behind.

Perhaps it is society's fault in that the story of a passioned artist running themselves into the ground for their art no longer sells the headline. The media would much rather have the story on the promising creative bastion who was sidelined by manic depression and saved by drugs. Remember that it is the drug companies paying for the ads.

I digress. Sorry. This is an excellent thread and contains some very good things to mull over that I have not thought about before.
grey boy
QUOTE (archangelica @ Mar 31 2005, 09:18 PM)
Awwww, you wouldn't really put Tom Robbins in the same group as those people would you?

Hell no!
But if I did there would then be one author I would read.
Kirk
QUOTE (bexclent @ Mar 31 2005, 10:27 PM)

I believe that the root problem here is extremes. Extreme passion, extreme medication, extreme madness. Anything in extreme has the ability to destroy. When balance is lost, sometimes your mind is not too far behind.

"Be hot or cold, the luke warm I will spit out"
Donnie Darko
I like your quote. The sad thing is, I think that's probably Bush's favourite quote too, but that's for another thread.

Balance has room for both hot and cold, in varying degrees. I'm not talking about Buddhist monk or Taoist style "balance", where you deny your desires and passions. I'm only speaking of each person's individual state of balance, where they can operate optimally within their own personal life.
bexclent
QUOTE (Donnie Darko @ Apr 1 2005, 09:20 AM)
I'm only speaking of each person's individual state of balance, where they can operate optimally within their own personal life.

Exactly. That is what I was speaking of.
Kirk
"Optimal" is over-rated.
I agree though, some people should be medicated,
especially when they are more likely to screw things up for us rather than show us a new way.
la mort tchèque
Fascinating article. Explains why the art scene and crazy philosophers are thriving in Baghdad. You should see some of their art! Abstract Palestinian art can be really good. Lebanese civil war stuff is really amazing. Baghdad is THE place to buy art. Beirut is second best, but great stuff.
Jack Batemaster
The problem with drug companies is that they hire idiots like Satyr who spend their day at work insulting people at Absinthe Forums. This is why drugs are so expensive. Nuff said.
la mort tchèque
You actually have interesting points. Is art caused by a disturbance in the function of neurotransmitters?

swwwiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhh
Jack Batemaster
I'd have to borrow Gimpy's aluminum foil hat to answer that question.
Nate
Interesting article...

Creativity is merely imagination and the ability to express it through some medium or another. Madness may or may not hinder it, but then again eccentricity, madness, insanity, etc. are all a matter or perception anyway. Stockhausen found it quite normal to write parts of music in 7.5/9 when most musicians would get rather confused at seeing that time signature. I thought it was funny at first until I messed around with it and thought of it as a measure of two and a half triplets.

If someone's preception is different from or more intense than that of your average joe and s/he has the ability to make someone else experience and understand (more or less) that preception, then yes, art has been born of "madness" and happy pills would destroy it.

As far as natural and "normal" creativity goes, I prefer the surreal.
zachM
I ask myself what am i giving up by takeing these meds every single day. i am not who i used to be and i have difficulty finding what once came so easy. For those of us born with burning eyes there is no cure. medication is for sedation of what we are. i will probably live longer with medication but i have no use for a longer life. there are those that can find bablance through medication but for some there is only one extreme or the other. i believe on this site somewhere there is a quote from wilde. "personality must be accepted for what it is" that is perhaps wrong but it sounds good to me.
sevenscarabs
QUOTE (zachM @ Jun 8 2005, 09:32 AM)
there are those that can find bablance through medication but for some there is only one extreme or the other.

Generally, I find bablance through alcohol. That's where you can't stop talking, correct?

Ok, that was cruel. But the opportunity was there.

Honestly, I am in favor of medication for those who are genuinely in need of it, whether they are creative or not. I don't believe in this craze of over-medicating when there isn't a need, either- especially with children. I feel that too many people use medication as a crutch, and if used in that manner it is no different than abuse of any other substance. However, there are folks with a genuine need, who cannot otherwise function.

Now, my ex husband had severe bipolar disorder. When he wasn't medicated, he couldn't function in normal society. When he was, he did find balance, and his good qualities outweighed the bad. Unfortunately, he decided to stop taking his meds a year after we were married. The ensuing hell I would wish only on my most despised enemies. He wasn't rational, wasn't able to keep a job, maintain friends or a sucessful marriage. He needed the medication.

So I'm split on the issue. If you're a nutjob, and you know you are a nutjob, and are free to be a nutjob on your own without hurting your family, then by all means spare the pills. But if it comes down to not being able to function on a basic level, then you should probably do something about it.
celticgent
bi-polar bears are sexy.

sea_of_lament
I don't think madness, especially in its psychological term, has anything to do with creativity.

The article links Nietzsche with "insanity" but I've encountered no such thing from the five or six books I've read by him. He suffered a mental breakdown and wrote nothing during those 10 years of insanity, plus it is said he never drank alcohol or even coffee while writing.

P.S. I think treating ADD or ADHD with meds is a bunch of bull. Hey, you can't focus? Then try these little pills to help you focus....

(side effects may include: elevated blood pressure, dry mouth, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, insomnia, blah blah blah, oh yeah and Psychotic episodes!!!!)
Kirk
QUOTE (celticgent @ Jun 8 2005, 01:18 PM)
bi-polar bears are sexy.

w00t2.gif
When they're "up"?
Kirk
That sounded gay, didn't it?
Donnie Darko
QUOTE (sea_of_lament @ Jun 8 2005, 11:32 AM)
P.S. I think treating ADD or ADHD with meds is a bunch of bull.  Hey, you can't focus? Then try these little pills to help you focus....

Well, most people who are prescribed Ritalin don't really have ADD/ADHD. They are children who are precocious and bored with school and have active imaginations and as a result don't focus or pay attention. Medicating children who aren't a serious threat to themselves/others is an unfortunate mistake on the part of modern psychiatry.

If children are given pills to make them good house plants that pay attention to every word that falls from the lips of adults, they will never learn how to focus and complete tasks independent of medication. Giving drugs to minds that are still developing is very shortsighted, and few studies have been done analyzing the effects of psychiatric meds on the development of young minds. Giving a 9 year old lots of caffeine can stunt his growth. What's to say giving them a stimulant such as Ritalin won't also stunt their mental growth?

The other problem is modern psychiatry has few, if any, scientific tests which can verify the chemical imbalance in the brain which they are trying to treat. They can throw lots of meds at someone in an attempt to modify behavioral tendencies, but it's like using a shotgun to swat a fly. If you take Prozac for OCD, you might stop arranging all your pencils in a row and repeating yourself, but you'll also stop having orgasms and you'll also stop getting exceedingly enthusiastic about anything. It's a double edged sword.

Choose your poison.

Obviously some people need medication (This article says 25% of America is mentally ill). It can help people with severe OCD quite a bit. We just need to treat medication as a last resort rather than a first resort. Many mental problems can be treated without pills, and many more "mental problems" aren't really very big problems.
celticgent
QUOTE (Kirk @ Jun 8 2005, 11:49 AM)

w00t2.gif
When they're "up"?

yes.

limpness isn't sexy.
sea_of_lament
I find it rather strange what constitutes as "mental illness." Why would anyone think that depression is a mental illness and not a natural part of life, as if we are meant to be happy and stress-free all our lives. Stress is probably the main reason that the U.S. is the country with the most "mentally ill" people in the world. However, if you are suffering from severe depression, like you said Donnie, drugs should be the last resort and not the first. Low self-esteem is a major reason for depression as well as trying to control situations which might have gone out of hand and stress you out, but there are better way to deal with these problems.

I'm pretty sure if I were tested, I would be diagnosed with ADD, Mood disorder and maybe ever major depression. ADD, is there no such thing as being a dreamer now a days? Societies can have different standards for "abnormalities," which seems to me is a more fitting word than "illness." What may be normal behavior for one society may not be for another and.....

Medication time....


Never mind, life is good, I feel no pain.

I LOVE SOMA!!!
Absomphe
QUOTE (celticgent @ Jun 8 2005, 02:19 PM)


limpness isn't sexy.

Take THAT Fred!
zachM
I should just stop treatment and self medicate with absinthe. As long as I stay away from the turpentine my ears should be alright attached to me head.
traineraz
QUOTE (sea_of_lament @ Jun 8 2005, 01:20 PM)
I find it rather strange what constitutes as "mental illness." Why would anyone think that depression is a mental illness and not a natural part of life, as if we are meant to be happy and stress-free all our lives.

Depression, in the clinical sense, isn't a matter of being briefly upset about something. Feeling "blue" for a few days when confronted by an unpleasant event is a normal part of life.

Depression is a chronic and debilitating condition, resulting from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Dysthemia, a form of depression, is characterized by a chronic below-normal baseline with episodes of major depression.

Not treating such conditions leaves those who have them unmotivated and non-productive at best. Many choose to self-medicate with alcohol and/or illicit drugs, with predictable negative results, rather than getting medication to manage their "abnormality." After all, if you're on meds, you're weak and using a "crutch," but drinking yourself to sleep every night is socially acceptable. These people often end up like Seven's ex-husband.

Gee, how do I know this?

More than 20 years unmedicated vs. 2 years medicated. Vitamin Z is a good thing.

Side effects? I have a lower tolerance for alcohol (saves money on absinthe) and don't get too easily riled, either with unrealistic expectations/enthusiasm or excessive disturbance. Riding on a more even keel makes me far more effective at work and life in general.
jacal01
Yeah, but do you still get invited to the kool parties?

And does your mother recognize you?
Kirk
For almost a million years man evolved,
now that we can treat everything,
we no longer need to evolve.
Artemis
QUOTE
Why would anyone think that depression is a mental illness and not a natural part of life, as if we are meant to be happy and stress-free all our lives.


That's a gross misunderstanding of depression. Stress has nothing to do with it. On days of no stress external whatsoever, when brushing your teeth is too much bother, and suicide seems like a perfectly reasonable alternative, "happy" seems like a fantasy created by Walt Disney just to occupy people between birth and death.

Traineraz was right on the money in his response. I second every word.

In my case, it was 50 years with a chemical imbalance in the brain that made life a battlefield - every petty decision an agony of doubt, every social gathering something I'd rather avoid, and then one year medicated, which in every sense gave me my life back, gave me the life I didn't even know I could live. Willpower is not enough to overcome depression - been there, done that. Those drugs are a Godsend.
le Gimp
My ex suffered major depression and schitzaphenaform(sp). She went through just about every medication available (and is probably trying the newerones as they become available.

I divorced her when our children were 12 and 14, due to her threats to harm the children, and took full coustody of the children.

Our children had a 17% chance of inheriting her problems. So far both seem to be well balanced (well, as well as they could be with me as their father).

Our son sufferend ADLD. We tried meds, he hallucinated. So, we opted not to use drugs to treat him. He suffered for several years with Night Terrrors. I would have to lay down with him and calm him down to get him back to sleep. Eventually, he out grew them along with most of his problems, and has learned to deal with the attention issues.

In looking back, I see very similar trends in my childhood.

ADD, ADHD, ADLD, and similar deseases are not simply children who are bored at school.

On the other hand, I belived our society is all to ready to throw pills at children who are not model citizens in school.

sevenscarabs
QUOTE (traineraz @ Jun 9 2005, 09:15 AM)
After all, if you're on meds, you're weak and using a "crutch," but drinking yourself to sleep every night is socially acceptable.  These people often end up like Seven's ex-husband.


Please note, that when I used this expression, I was not referring to persons suffering from chronic depression, which is in fact very serious. My mother suffered from this my entire childhood, making it quite a difficult time for her children. She finally, upon her families urging, sought some professional help and began treatment which included therapy and medication, and now leads a very fulfilling life.

I was more referring to the recent craze of doctors dispensing Zoloft to the masses like Pez candy. Last winter, I had some circumstances I was dealing with, and sought out a counselor. I was amazed how quickly he suggested medication to 'get over the hump'. Now mind you, this situation was not affecting my work and daily life to an extreme, it was simply on my mind often and I needed a sounding board to help reconcile some of the feelings. It was not chronic depression- it was being upset for a very legitimate reason. It was my no means a major Depressive episode, for which medication can often help in the interim. Yet that was his first suggestion. It almost felt as if he was shooing me out of the office. "Here, take some pills, feel better now." And this was not an isolated incident. Two of my co workers shared similar experiences, all with different doctors and within the past year.

This is what troubles me. If you are medicating every time something unpleasant happens in your life, how is that healthy? I feel we as a society are being trained to press the morphine button whenever anything goes wrong, instead of examining these things and attempting to resolve them.

Mind you again, I am not referring to chronic depression such as Trainer was describing. That is something altogether different. Just wanted to clarify.

And for the record, my husbands reason for stopping the medication? Not stigma- I begged him to continue taking it. Not cost-, either, my insurance paid for everything. No, it was dry mouth. He would rather be destructive to himself and his marriage than have dry mouth in the morning.

Shit, everyone has priorities.
jacal01
Jeez. Club Med testimonials.

And that's spelled Souloff™.
archangelica
QUOTE (sea_of_lament @ Jun 8 2005, 02:32 PM)
P.S. I think treating ADD or ADHD with meds is a bunch of bull.  Hey, you can't focus? Then try these little pills to help you focus....

QUOTE (sea_of_lament @ 8 2005, 04:20 PM)
I find it rather strange what constitutes as "mental illness." Why would anyone think that depression is a mental illness and not a natural part of life, as if we are meant to be happy and stress-free all our lives.

I think everyone here agrees that prescriptions are dispensed far too often for the wrong reasons. However, uneducated statements like the ones you are making do nothing but further stigmatize the people who legitimately need these medications in order to function as part of normal society.

So tell me... do you have a medical degree in this field, or even at least an immediate family member (someone you have lived with or had to help care for during a significant portion of your life) who has suffered from chronic depression or severe ADD? If not, I think you should keep these unfounded opinions to yourself.

zachM
QUOTE (le Gimp @ Jun 9 2005, 01:41 PM)
My ex suffered major depression and schitzaphenaform(sp). She went through just about every medication available (and is probably trying the newerones as they become available.

I divorced her when our children were 12 and 14, due to her threats to harm the children, and took full coustody of the children.

Our children had a 17% chance of inheriting her problems. So far both seem to be well balanced (well, as well as they could be with me as their father).

Our son sufferend ADLD. We tried meds, he hallucinated. So, we opted not to use drugs to treat him. He suffered for several years with Night Terrrors. I would have to lay down with him and calm him down to get him back to sleep. Eventually, he out grew them along with most of his problems, and has learned to deal with the attention issues.

In looking back, I see very similar trends in my childhood.

ADD, ADHD, ADLD, and similar deseases are not simply children who are bored at school.

On the other hand, I belived our society is all to ready to throw pills at children who are not model citizens in school.

it is very possible their mothers condition can be triggered later in life. usually it happens in the later teen years. unfortunately you will know if it happens. for their sake i very much hope it does not happen.
zachM
QUOTE (archangelica @ Jun 9 2005, 02:30 PM)

I think everyone here agrees that prescriptions are dispensed far too often for the wrong reasons. However, uneducated statements like the ones you are making do nothing but further stigmatize the people who legitimately need these medications in order to function as part of normal society.

So tell me... do you have a medical degree in this field, or even at least an immediate family member (someone you have lived with or had to help care for during a significant portion of your life) who has suffered from chronic depression or severe ADD? If not, I think you should keep these unfounded opinions to yourself.

I ,unfortunately have first hand knowledge of mental illness. My own and ive been to the psych ward a couple times and ive seen people very depressed. Some of them have a reason and some of them do not.

offtopic2.gif On a side note the nut house was the most entertaining place ive ever been in my life. If id only been allowed to drink it would have been like Disneyland.
traineraz
QUOTE (jacal01 @ Jun 9 2005, 12:29 PM)
Yeah, but do you still get invited to the kool parties?

And does your mother recognize you?

I get invited to more kool parties now than I did before.

And she only just barely knows me, because I dress a lot better and don't fly into violent, blind rages over minor issues.
traineraz
QUOTE (sevenscarabs @ Jun 9 2005, 02:03 PM)
I was more referring to the recent craze of doctors dispensing Zoloft to the masses like Pez candy. Last winter, I had some circumstances I was dealing with, and sought out a counselor. I was amazed how quickly he suggested medication to 'get over the hump'.

I agree that handing out SSRIs or MAOIs to "get over the hump" is ridiculous, and indicates how little these "doctors" understand about what they're prescribing. Those meds take about 6 weeks to show any noticeable effect. Well, aside from the 2-3 initial weeks of hellish psychological side effects.

Hmm, I guess those could take one's mind off one's troubles . . .
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2018 Invision Power Services, Inc.