Punch drunk artists and drugged up musicians have long been the defining characteristic of many a creative seeking to throw off the shackles of mainstream society.
In consequence many associate the mind altering qualities of narcotics with the creative impulse, but a leading consultant in addiction psychiatry at Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Glasgow, says this is an illusion.
Far from unleashing the mind such habits shackle it observes Smith, who adds: “To what extent it retrospectively gives them something to draw on for their writing or painting is unclear, but the evidence is they can’t write or paint when they’re full of drink or drugs.”
Many of us have experienced a seemingly ‘profound’ late night conversation at some point or other where the lubricant of alcohol unleashes a torrent of analysis on the meaning of life, but Smith observes: “If you recorded the conversation you’d realise it wasn’t.”
Far from fostering creativity it seems creative people are simply more attracted to drugs due to an increased emotional state.
American author Hunter S Thompson famously said: "I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol or insanity to anyone - but they've always worked for me."