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Chronicling TraumaJournalists and Writers on Violence and Loss$
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Doug Underwood

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036408

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036408.001.0001

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Depression, Drink, and Dissipation

Depression, Drink, and Dissipation

Dysfunctional Lifestyles and Art as the Ultimate Stimulant

Chapter:
(p.161) 4 Depression, Drink, and Dissipation
Source:
Chronicling Trauma
Author(s):

Doug Underwood

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252036408.003.0005

This chapter examines the prevalence of alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, and general mental health symptoms among journalist–literary figures, along with the connections that can be made between addiction and compulsive behaviors and the experiences in journalism that may have helped to foster them. The stereotype of the hard-drinking journalist pervades the work of journalists that both celebrate and condemn the lifestyle of the journalistic personality. Ernest Hemingway's romanticizing of drinking in the 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises provides a tragic counterpoint to the story of his last years—that of a depressed and despairing writer suffering from alcoholic psychosis, trying in vain to rediscover his lost talent, and ultimately committing suicide. This chapter first considers the depression, anxiety, and aberrant behavior found among journalist–literary figures before discussing their excessive drinking, drug abuse, and dysfunctional lives. It also looks at twentieth-century journalists and writers with addictive and psychologically compulsive behaviors, such as Charles Bukowski, Brendan Behan, and Thomas Paine.

Keywords:   alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, mental health, journalists, addiction, compulsive behavior, anxiety, aberrant behavior, dysfunctional lives

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