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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Writers Prone to Psychosis and Depression, Psychiatrist Says

May 02, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

Being a writer of any sort is linked to poor mental health, according to a British psychiatrist. Dr. Felix Post studied biographies of 100 writers and reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry that poets had more mood swings and manic depression requiring hospitalization than authors or playwrights, but they were less likely to die young or be promiscuous. Only 31% of the poets were alcoholics, compared to 54% of playwrights.

According to his study, psychosis or depression was evident in 80% of poets, 80.5% of novelists and 87.5% of playwrights. Half the poets failed to ever achieve "complete sexual union," while 42% of playwrights were known for their sexual promiscuity.

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