Diemut Strebe Van Gogh May Have Cut Off His Ear During a Bout of Delirium Triggered by Alcohol Withdrawal, a New Study Says

Artnet News Nov 03, 2020

Has one of art history’s great unanswered questions finally been laid to rest? A new study claims that Vincent van Gogh was malnourished, sleep deprived, and mentally ill, but was ultimately pushed to extremes by alcohol addiction, cutting off his ear during a psychotic episode fueled by alcohol withdrawal.

“Those who consume large amounts of alcohol… run the risk of brain function impairment,” explains the study, published by a team led by University Medical Center Groningen psychiatrist Willem A. Nolen in the International Journal of Bipolar Disorders. “Moreover, abrupt stopping with excessive alcohol consumption can lead to withdrawal phenomena, including a delirium.”

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