A new report from Norway suggests that Norwegian musicians are 50% more likely to be prescribed depression medication. Are Norwegian musicians an outlier, or is this more of a common phenomenon than we know? What is it about the creative mind – or the environments that creative minds often inhabit – that makes the likelihood of depression so much higher? Daniel Adrian Sanchez of Digital Music News with the story.

You find it difficult to concentrate in your everyday life. Throughout the day, you face bouts of sudden loneliness. You feel fatigue. You also feel like you’re living your life in a black hole. And despite 350 million people facing the very same thing you are, you feel that no one can truly understand you.

You’ve heard it before: you’re not alone. But now, a new study from Norway reveals something very, very startling: musicians in the country are three times more likely to face deteriorating mental health and undergo psychotherapy than standard Norwegian citizens. They’re also 50% more likely to use psychotropic meditation like antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anxiolytics.

Psychiatrist Jonas Vaag from North Trøndelag Hospital Trust spearheaded the research. The findings are consistent with 2012 research, which indicated:

high rates of sleep difficulties and psychological distress among musicians.”

Involved in that project was the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Nord University, and Nord-Trøndelag University College. The project abstract reads:

Research indicates that there is a higher degree of mental health problems, family/work conflicts and sleep-related problems among workers in creative occupations than in other professions.
Research also reveals that musicians have to deal with a relatively high degree of occupational stress.”

The reason for the study was because of a lack of studies that examine medical problems musicians face. However, previous research Vaag and his team found indicates the following:

Scandinavian…studies indicates that psychological strain and mental health problems are reported more frequently among artists than in most other profession.

In a study done in 2008, researchers found that common mental health problems such as anxiety, restlessness, depression, and sleep problems were more prevalent and widely reported among musicians than in any other occupational group. Artists also faced conflicts balancing their work and family life.


Read the full story by Daniel Adrian Sanchez at Digital Music News

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