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Van Gogh was ‘delirious’ for quitting alcohol, experts believe



Written by Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Vincent van Gogh is likely to be “delirious” from alcohol withdrawal, according to a new study of the artist’s mental illness.

To investigate the artist’s possible psychosis, experts interviewed art historians familiar with the artist’s 902 letters – 820 to his brother, Theo – and studied save the medical records of the doctors who treated him.

The Dutch master, who created about 900 paintings during his lifetime, died by committing suicide in 1

890 at the age of 37 after years of mental illness.

He is believed to have a combination of boundary and bipolar personality disorder, although these ailments have never been diagnosed.

Researchers from the University of Groningen Medical Center, in the Netherlands, say they believe Van Gogh underwent two short episodes of psychosis, believed to be delirious due to alcohol withdrawal, after he was hospitalized after cut his ear with a razor in 1888.

Experts believe that the delirium was caused after the artist was forced to stop drinking alcohol after hospitalization.

The Dutch master went through several episodes of severe depression in the final year of his life – at least once, the researchers say.

The team also dismissed several theories surrounding Van Gogh’s suspected illnesses, uncovering the views that Van Gogh suffered from schizophrenia, a rare porphyria, and carbon dioxide poisoning. monoxide is “very unlikely”.

Zeng Fanzhi recreates a portrait of Van Gogh

However, experts say that the Van Gogh hypothesis of epilepsy, a diagnosis established by his own doctors, remains “open to discussion.”

In the study published Monday in the International Journal of Bipolar Disorder, researchers said that the artist’s “masked epilepsy”, also known as “focal epilepsy”, had Can lead to different manifestations of anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. In Van Gogh’s case, the cause may be brain damage related to alcohol abuse, malnutrition, poor sleep, and mental exhaustion.

However, since tests such as imaging techniques and EEG (electrical signal testing) are not available, experts say it is difficult to say for sure whether he has epilepsy. are not.

The researchers noted that since they did not interview the artists themselves, their conclusions should be handled with caution.

“We think we can safely rule out some previously proposed diagnoses and we are more or less sure of some of the diseases he has, but we never will. certainty, “Willem Nolen, emeritus professor of Psychiatry, who coordinated the study, said in a statement.

“And although Van Gogh’s letters contain a lot of information, we have to remember that he did not write them down to his doctor, but to his brother Theo and other family members and other relatives. to inform them, reassure them or to take something done.He may have downplayed or even woven certain things.So our article is definitely not going to be. is the last post about Van Gogh’s illness, “he added.


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