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Did Vincent van Gogh have a drinking problem?

Between the months of 1888, December and 1889, Vincent van Gogh was hospitalized in Arles three times for serious mental issues. This week, researchers at the UMCG (University Medical Center Groningen) in The Netherlands suggested that the delusions were related to withdrawal from Van Gogh wine addiction.

van Gogh on behalf of Paul Gauguin on 21 January 1889:

“In my nervous or mentally agitated panic or in a state of madness I’m not sure what to do or what to label it, but my thoughts floated across the oceans.”

It’s difficult to make any conclusions about the condition of Van Gogh’s health in the era of his death as he was not able to speak to his. Fortunately, the researchers had access to a huge collection of letters from Van Gogh and information from medical professionals who cared for him like Dr. Rey.
Van Gogh’s battle with alcohol

The letters of Van Gogh aren’t only an excellent resource for researchers looking to discover indications of diseases. The letters also reveal the way in which Van Gogh battled alchohol.

On July 22, 1888, Vincent sent a letter to brother Theo:

“..if the storm within me roars too loudly, I sip one too many glasses to frighten myself. It’s crazy, in comparison with what one is supposed to be.”

This indicates that prior to the time being admitted to the hospital informed that his alcohol habits wasn’t healthy for him. This was confirmed by the doctor according to the letter he wrote to Theo on the 24th of March 1889.

Mr. Rey states that in lieu of eating well and eating regularly I’ve been feeding myself by drinking alcohol and coffee. I’m not ashamed of it but it’ll be the case that I needed to push myself up somewhat to reach the highest yellow note I hit in the summer.”
Are you on the slippery side?

Not too long after, on April 21, 1889:

“The horrifying superstition that is held by some people regarding alcohol, causing them to insist on themselves not to smoke or drink. We’ve been warned to not cheat or steal, and not to commit any other minor or major crime, but it’s too complex if it’s essential to not possess nothing but virtues within a culture that is firmly in the ground, whether positive or negative.”

Do we think of Van Gogh becoming trapped in the logic fallacy of the slope that’s slippery? Arguments like “If they don’t allow this, then what’s the next thing we’ll know.. This is not the way to go to knowledge. If Van Gogh refers to ‘the terrifying beliefs among certain folks’ is this a sign of the behavior we observe with conspiracy theorists who believe it’s impossible to keep their minds from the things that are harmful to them?
However, Dickens stated..

The following month, A month later, Van Gogh loved the idea of quoting English author Charles Dickens in a letter to his sister Willemien:

“Every day I make sure to take the cure that the legendary Dickens recommends against suicide. It’s drinking a glass of red wine, a slice of cheese and bread, and smoking a pipe.”

A more sensible approach might have been the Oscar Wilde’s version on the addiction characteristics of alcohol.

“Work can be a curse for classes of drinking.”

Thus, Van Gogh was a drinker. In a letter addressed Willemien who was in the asylum of Saint-Remy on the 21st of October, 1889 Van Gogh admits to the harmful effects of alcohol:

“The doctor here went to Paris and met with Theo He told him that he doesn’t think I am insane, but that the problems I’m experiencing are of an epileptic character. It’s not alcohol, either which is the reason but it certainly isn’t good for anyone.”
We’ll never know the exact details.