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Professional Poet? You must be crazy
April 28, 2008 - Jody Murphy
A 1992 study by Kentucky University psychiatry professor, Arnold Ludwig, found that crazy people tend to gravitiate toward creative jobs.
Ludwig found the most "consistenly off-kilter" are poets.
Ludwig's study reported 9 out of 10 poets have had diagnosable mental disorders. The next biggest group of creative crazies: fiction writers, 77 percent; theater people, 74 percent; visual arts, 73 percent and musicians, 68 percent.
Ludwig study states: "Alcoholism and depression were widespread among artists, composers, entertainers, and writers. Actors and performers had the highest rates of illicit drug use; poets were more likely to experience mania and psychoses; actors, fiction writers, poets, and musical entertainers were most likely to attempt suicide. Only architects and designers, and to some extent non-fiction writers, showed few signs of mental instability. Creators whose work relies more on precision, reason, and logic are apparently less prone to mental disturbance than those whose work relies on emotional expression and subjective experience. This distinction holds within each artistic field. Poets and writers of fiction have higher rates of mental illness than nonfiction writers; improvisational jazz musicians and rock composers have more emotional problems than classical and traditional musicians."
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ludwig found physicists and biologosts had the lowest percentage of crazies among the profession, 28 percent.
No word on the degree of craziness among print media journalists or those folks who wear their names on oversized beltbuckles. However, I have my suspicisions.
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