Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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HISTORY OF NEUROLOGY
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 6-9

The neuropsychiatric ailment of Vincent Van Gogh


Department of Neurology, Bangur Institute of Neurosciences, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Kalyan B Bhattacharyya
Amrapali Point, Flat 1C, 59f, Bosepukur Road, Kolkata - 700 042, West Bengal
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.145286

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Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most celebrated creative artists of all time. All his life, he was afflicted by some kind of neurological or psychiatric disorder, which remains a mystery even today. Many historians and his personal physicians believe that he suffered from epilepsy while others felt that he was affected by Ménière's disease. Features such as hypergraphia, atypical sexuality, and viscosity of thinking suggest the possibility of Gastaut-Geschwind phenomenon, a known complication of complex partial seizure. On the contrary, some historians feel that he was forced to sever his right ear in order to get relief from troublesome tinnitus, a complication of Ménière's disease. He was addicted to the liquor absinthe, which is known to lead to xanthopsia, and many authorities argue that this was the reason for his penchant for the deep and bright yellow color in many of his paintings. Others have suggested the possibility of bipolar disorder, sunstroke, acute intermittent porphyria, and digitalis toxicity as well.


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