Do Drugs Make You More Creative?

The creative process goes this way: Down several cups of coffee, stare into space, and start a draft. Take a walk, drink some more coffee, throw the draft away, sleep, and repeat this. This goes on until the elusive eureka moment happens and fuels you long after the coffee stains make an indelible mark on your table. We are all screwed if coffee is made illegal someday. Well, for some artists, it can get harder. Over the past years, some of the world’s greatest talents have fallen prey to drug addiction. Many of their works, although believed to have been created under the influence of drugs, are some of the greatest pieces we enjoy today.

Artists known for their drug use

Legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix died of alcohol and barbiturates abuse, while Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Hillel Slovak died of heroin overdose. Comedienne Robin Williams was hooked on drugs until the early 1980s. Apparently, he initially resisted treatment since he was afraid it would affect his ability to portray certain roles. And that’s not all. Vincent Van Gogh, seemingly the world’s poster boy for depressed artists, was known to stimulate his creative juices by taking a healthy dose of absinthe. Meanwhile, Judy Garland was suspected of mixing amphetamines and barbiturates because of her insanely happy role portrayals, but it turns out she was merely in character. It was American country singer Johnny Cash who was a true fan of amphetamines.

Popular works allegedly done under the influence

“Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers turned out to be the band’s biggest hit, scoring high in the Billboard’s Charts. The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” caused a ruckus with its acronym being in reference to the drug LSD. The band denied any reference to it, though did admit “Got to Get you into my Life” was drug-inspired. There is a speculation that the famous video game Super Mario Bros. was also conceptualized by one very amped designer because of its reference to drugs. Though very innocuous, critics harp on the whole idea of a plumber who can heave fire balls with his hands and save a fat princess from a levitating turtle. Suspiciously, little Mario can get bigger only after macking on mushrooms.

Experts say that there is an indirect link between drugs and creativity. However, there is a limit to drug use that can lead to bouts of severe depression or even mania. Substance abuse leads to dulling of the mind, later hampering the creative process. To a point, it can lead people to see the world from a different perspective, which can be refreshing to the artist’s more mentally stable brethren. In the end, creativity springs from clarity of thought, which most definitely doesn’t come from drug addiction.

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