Performing Arts Medicine, 3rd ed.Medical Problems of Performing Artists

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Psychiatric Issues and Performing Artists

David A. Sasso
From: Performing Arts Medicine, 3rd ed.: Chapter 17 © 2010; page: 319

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Abstract: Over the years, wide-ranging and multidisciplinary research has contributed to the understanding of how mental illness manifests in performing artists and how best to treat these performers in the clinic. One may expect a high prevalence of psychiatric problems among performers, given the level of stress often associated with an artist's career, and conventional wisdom asserts that mental illness may be an aid to, or even a prerequisite for, great creativity. Regardless, the fact remains that some performing artists do suffer from psychological distress and mental illness. The aims of this chapter are to provide an overview of psychiatric disorders and a discussion of how the mental health clinician may sensitively approach performers as psychiatric patients and organize their effective treatment.
Diagnostic criteria are reviewed for the mood disorders (depression, bipolar disease, mania), performance anxiety and other anxiety disorders (social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and others), somatoform disorders, psychotic disorders (schizophrenia), substance-related disorders, and personality and personality disorders. Pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic approaches to treatment are outlined for each of these disorders.

Last Updated: 6 / 2010

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