Composer Frederic Chopin’s hallucinations may be linked to epilepsyJanuary 25th, 2011 - 12:49 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Jan 25 (ANI): Polish composer Frederic Chopin, who was hounded by hallucinations during his relatively short life, probably had epilepsy, according to a new study.
Chopin, who was plagued by poor health throughout his life, died in 1849 at the age of 39 as a result of chronic lung disease, which has recently been attributed to cystic fibrosis, based on the composer’s family history.
The researchers said that while his well-documented bouts of melancholy have been attributed to bipolar disorder or clinical depression, the hallucinatory episodes to which he was also prone have tended to be overlooked.
They based their opinions on Chopin’s own description of his hallucinatory episodes and accounts of his life by friends and pupils.
In her memoirs, George Sand recalls various times when the composer experienced visual hallucinations, including a trip to a monastery that was ‘full of terrors and ghosts for him’.
In a letter written to the daughter of Sand, Chopin describes a moment during a performance of his Sonata in England in 1848 at a private salon, when he saw creatures emerging from his piano which forced him to leave the room to recover himself.
He also described a ‘cohort of phantoms’ in 1844.
Hallucinations are a symptom of several psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and dissociative states but usually take the form of voices, said the researchers.
The most likely explanation for Chopin’s visions, according to the researchers, is a type of epilepsy called temporal lobe epilepsy as it can produce complex visual hallucinations, which are usually brief, fragmentary and stereotyped.
They acknowledged that without the aid of modern day tests, it is difficult to make a definitive diagnosis.
But they said that Chopin’s illness could easily have been overlooked by his doctors because there was limited understanding of epilepsy at that time.The study is published online in Medical Humanities. (ANI)
- Chopin suffered from epilepsy, says research - Jan 25, 2011
- Researchers allege that Chopin may have suffered from epilepsy - Jan 25, 2011
- Long-lost Frederic Chopin letters recovered by Warsaw museum - Mar 25, 2011
- Dickens Inheritance (To go with Dickensian debate: Is Charles still as relevant after 200 years) - Feb 06, 2012
- Poland PM's wife gifts India bust of musician Chopin - Sep 07, 2010
- 'Little Europe' in Delhi University - Oct 12, 2010
- Poland gifts India composer Chopin's bust - Sep 07, 2010
- Chinese pianist opens Poland's Chopin bicentennial - Jan 08, 2010
- 'Epilepsy is disabling, needs understanding' (March 26 is World Epilepsy Day) - Mar 25, 2012
- Did King Tut die of disease that gave him breasts? - Sep 13, 2012
- Mums' depression adversely affects quality of life in kids with epilepsy - Jan 06, 2011
- Cerebral malaria linked to epilepsy, behavior disorders: Study - Nov 17, 2010
- Idiopathic epilepsy patients have higher rate of remission - Jun 14, 2010
- Don't ignore epilepsy, it is 'fairly common' and manageable - Dec 26, 2009
- For first time ever, study proves common genetic roots for autism, epilepsy - Apr 09, 2011
Tags: bouts, chronic lung disease, clinical depression, cohort, composer frederic chopin, cystic fibrosis, definitive diagnosis, dissociative states, epilepsy, george sand, medical humanities, melancholy, monastery, phantoms, polish composer, poor health, private salon, psychiatric disorders, temporal lobe epilepsy, visual hallucinations