The illness of Vincent van Gogh.

  title={The illness of Vincent van Gogh.},
  author={Dietrich P. Blumer},
  journal={The American journal of psychiatry},
  volume={159 4},
  • D. Blumer
  • Published 1 April 2002
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • The American journal of psychiatry
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) had an eccentric personality and unstable moods, suffered from recurrent psychotic episodes during the last 2 years of his extraordinary life, and committed suicide at the age of 37. Despite limited evidence, well over 150 physicians have ventured a perplexing variety of diagnoses of his illness. Henri Gastaut, in a study of the artist's life and medical history published in 1956, identified van Gogh's major illness during the last 2 years of his life as temporal… 

Vincent van Gogh (1853–90): the plumbic artist

Following Vincent van Gogh's death in 1890, numerous physicians have offered diagnostic opinions regarding his still unverified illness, prompting research that revealed his exposure to additional sources of lead and other toxic substances for 13 years before death.

Vincent van Gogh's epilepsy

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  • Medicine, Psychology
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  • 2011

Neuropsiquiatría y creatividad: La noche estrellada de Van Gogh

The life of Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) has been studied thoroughly by humanists and scientists alike. His biography is an archetype of the relationship between creativity and disease. In 1956,

A GABA Interneuron Deficit Model of the Art of Vincent van Gogh

It is proposed that van Gogh suffered from a defective function of parvalbumin interneurons, which seems likely given his family history of schizophrenia and his addiction to substances associated with GABA action, which could explain the need for the artist to increasingly amplify the contrasts in his brushwork as his disease progressed.

Acupuncture “Diagnosis” of Vincent Van Gogh

Mental illness plagued this artistic titan for most of the latter years of his short life, but Van Gogh also suffered from other ailments which, when observed through Chinese Medicine's Five Elements patterns, provides a rare opportunity to venture into the emotions and mind of one of post-Impressionism's greatest pioneers.

Doctor Gachet, in the kitchen, with the foxglove

An overview of van Gogh’s mental illness, the treatments that were offered by his contemporaneous physicians, and the role that these factors may have influenced his paintings are provided.

Asylum at Saint-Remy.

The routine of the asylum did provide respite, allowing Vincent to create some of his best works; in his first weeks of confinement, he completed Irises and The Starry Night.

Famous Epileptics in History

  • Keuntae Kim
  • Medicine
    Journal of the Korean Neurological Association
  • 2018
A retrospective review of the literature can provide a basis for assessing famous historical epileptics and establish the diagnosis of epilepsy in two leaders prior to the 19th century.




  • R. Monroe
  • Psychology
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease
  • 1978
It is proposed that for Vincent, Limbic system sensitivity, physical neglect, absinthe abuse, and repeated psychological stress, as well as strength of character, creative temperament, innate artistic ability, and disciplined development of his artistic skills provided a rare combination of coincidences which in part explains why Vincent's life was a shambles and his artistic creativity unique.


Evidence supporting the temporal lobe epilepsy personality syndrome.

The Bear-Fedio Inventory needs to be further modified before it can serve as an adequate instrument for assessing the prevailing personality changes and the intermittent dysphoric symptoms of an interictal dysphoric disorder.

Behavioural changes in temporal lobe epilepsy

The behavioural or personality syndrome of temporal epilepsy is a characteristic syndrome of behavioural change which occurs with higher frequency in temporal lobe epilepsy (and possibly in other cases with a spike focus in limbic structures) than in other neurological conditions.

Treatment of the interictal psychoses.

Interictal psychoses can be viewed as severe interictal dysphoric disorders with psychotic features and the same combination of psychotropic medication that is effective for severe interdictal dysphoria disorders serves as the primary therapy for interictAL psychoses.

Dysphoric disorders and paroxysmal affects: recognition and treatment of epilepsy-related psychiatric disorders.

  • D. Blumer
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Harvard review of psychiatry
  • 2000
The paroxysmal affects, ranging from irritability through anger to rage, play a major role in interictal dysphoric disorder and their manifestation among patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy is counterbalanced by the fact that these individuals tend to be highly ethical and religious.

Antidepressant and double antidepressant treatment for the affective disorder of epilepsy.

  • D. Blumer
  • Psychology, Medicine
    The Journal of clinical psychiatry
  • 1997
Antidepressants are the psychotropic drugs of choice for the affective disorder of epilepsy and can be effective in combined form (TCA and SSRI) for otherwise intractable patients.

Psychiatric morbidity in seizure patients on a neurodiagnostic monitoring unit.

Patients with the atypical mood disorder had predominantly depressive symptoms, which occurred intermittently, were associated with episodes of irritability, and alternated with briefer euphoric moods and anxiety and phobic symptoms occurred less often.

The interictal behavior syndrome of temporal lobe epilepsy.

The demonstration of interictal spike activity in temporal structures provides a pathophysiologic basis for the behavior syndrome of temporal lobe epilepsy, and may prove to be a useful model in studies on the neural substrates for behavior.