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Free «Musicians and Mental Health Disorders» Essay Sample


Mental illness is a condition which is brought about by many issues. These issues may vary from genetics, effects of chemical imbalance in the brain or a combination of the two factors. The mental illnesses are of various kinds and may vary from manic depression to schizophrenia.  According to researchers studies are revealing a relationship in which the people who are endowed with talent like the musicians and other geniuses stand a higher chance of contracting these mental disorders in comparison to the general population. This breeding ground for these illnesses among artistic talents is quite worrying especially considering their population which is quite small. This can have a negative to talents possessed by these individuals due to the understanding of the pain that comes along with the loss of purpose and self-esteem which can be a result of these illnesses. Factual evidence can positively identify famous musicians like Ozzy Osbourne, Alanis Morisette and Elton John among the very famous artists who are well  endowed musically but have had a bout of mental illness at some point be it depression or anxiety (Frater, 1).



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The relation of well endowed musicians and mental illness cannot merely be based in comparison with the general population. But the occurrence of some of these illnesses like manic depression is very high which tends to relate the theory which arose in the 19th century where it stated that people who were geniuses and their family had a greater chance of developing this mental illness as compared to the rest of the population. This has led to incidence of early death among such artists due to being driven to suicide limits by these ailments. It is also important to note that the mental illness which affects such people leads to the decline in creativity among them leading to further dire consequences as this loss adds more pressure which can end up in manic depression. Despite all this illnesses it is worth noting that some of the best composed music and art which has uniqueness and originality was composed by people suffering of bipolar disorder leading to the debate of whether the illness boosts the creativity or is it the creativity which is ingenious increasing the percentage of being prone to this kind of illness (Da Vinci, 1).

Common mental illnesses affecting Musicians

The most common type of mental illness which affects the well endowed musicians is the manic depressive illnesses or sometimes called the manic-depression. This is an illness that presents itself with an abnormal change in moods of the affected individual. This includes on a minute of being overjoyed followed by the next minute when the person falls into a mood of deep sadness.  This eventually can lead to development of thoughts of suicide brought by the inability to cope with this kind of effects. The next illness which is also prevalent is the Schizophrenia where the individual tends to have episodes of illusions which involve the occurrence of their worst nightmares. This if not well monitored can result in the action of suicide attempt. The final among prevalent mental illnesses is the depression; this affects majority of artists and is a result of the demand for creativity from the fans accompanied by the number of events which they are expected to grace.

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Causes of mental illness

Drugs and Alcohol

Chambley, (2) states that many musicians normally end up in manic depression due to the amount of drugs they ingest. Especially among the rock genre the culture of drugs and alcohol emerged in which most of the artists who end up overdosing and hence these drugs affect their brains. This was attribute to the long hours of practice and increased demand for performance which led to the musicians taking these drugs to sustain them but instead result in detrimental effects on their health. Furthermore some of the musicians due to the anxiety developed due to the performance of large crowds and lack of confidence some musicians start basically as a confidence booster but eventually end addicted to the continued use of some of the these drugs. Due to the drug intake most of the musicians eventually end up in severe depression and schizophrenia, the musicians end up committing suicide if they don't seek help while in the end run some die due to the overdose on these drugs. Most of the commonly used drugs include heroin and beta blockers. The use of alcohol is very prevalent although it taken more for the recreation basis.

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Some musicians believe that the use of these drugs brings out their best in terms of creativity and this can be evidenced by songs like "stair way to heaven" by Jimmy Page which is believed to have been written when drunk. The fact that this belief exists some of the musicians continually continue to intoxicate themselves in the search of creative edge and in the process end up hurting themselves because the drugs eventually affect the chemical balance in the brain leading to mental illnesses. Moreover some of the musicians due to the fact of fearing a rejection of the songs being sang by the audience induce themselves with these drugs to give them courage completely ignorant of the side effects as they seek courage. This eventually leads  an addiction that eventually plunges the artiste in a virtual world that eventually results in depression which if not checked can lead to suicidal tendencies when the musicians realize they no longer can't cope without the drugs due to the dependency( Chambley, 1).

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Money and Fame

Chambley (1) indicates that the monetary gains which the musicians get from doing the music sometimes can have overwhelming effect. These musicians before the breakthrough normally had a struggling life where they spent many hours in the packing spaces of the houses they lived practicing if not in the bedrooms practicing. Hence the fact that they get too much money and the pressure that comes with it can have very unhealthy effects on the artists. To begin with the fear of losing the money will lead to harder work on the artiste side and if the feeling of lowered creativity the musicians will begin to look for ways of improving this and the answer will be in drugs. This combined by the insomnia that is brought about by the need to find the creative edge as the fear of losing the fame and media speculation can easily lead to stressing situations which will eventually predispose the musician to mental illness which will be a result of depression and indulgence in drugs as they try to escape the reality of the new-found wealth and fame.

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Most of the musicians will end up of suffering from anxiety due to the amount of expectation. This happens because due to the high expectation from the fans most of these musicians always try not to disappoint them but combine this with the number of events which they are expected to perform, soon or later a sense of fear due lack of  belief if they will achieve he targets set. The numbers of tours these artists attend and perform are too many and this leads to increased pressure for more leading to burning out and eventually pressure. A case of this can be seen in the 1970s singer Ian Curtis who eventually committed suicide due to the pressure of tours which the band was required to perform and may the persistent occurring of epilepsy attacks (Rourke, 10).

Public Eye

Frater(1) states that the fact that the musicians are adored by their fans means that they are constantly being followed by the media and all their actions monitored to feed the hunger for news about them by fans. This results in a situation where these musicians will be a position where they lack privacy, this combined with all the constant monitoring and evaluation by the public on how they should line their lives can actually lead to stressful situations as the demand on how to behave increases. This stress if not checked can eventually be chronic and eventually lead to depression which is a mental illness. This pressure leads to the musicians trying to live up to the expectation created in the view of the fans and the eventual result of this is the acting out by the artists which leads to negative psychological effects which can result in mental illness if not put under check or attended early.

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Exhaustion and overworking

According to Rourke (10) the number of concerts and performances which the musicians grace ends up having harmful effects on the body. This is due is due to the long hours which are spent due to practicing for the concerts and followed and the energetic performances. This without enough rest and the continuous travelling will lead to severe effects as the musicians end up exhausted both physically and mentally. If enough rest is not given these individuals will end stressed and finally depression as the pressure to have continuity will continue. This can be even more to injurious to the health of the musicians who live bad lifestyle have ill-health and not physically fit. This is because these effects will creep in much quicker in comparison to healthier counterparts.


Most of the talented musicians end up being easily affected by the mental illnesses because of many factors. This issues which lead up to this include the pressure to maintain the creativity angle of producing music that has originality and quality. The pressure of being on the media spotlight can lead to stress which will easily progress to depression due to lack of privacy. The act of stage fright and lots of money can easily plunge the musicians into a life of drugs which will eventually cause harm to the brain resulting in mental illness. All in all if they are to have a good mental health the musicians need enough rest and reduction of the self-induced pressure for performance.


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