DO DRUGS and other substances stimulate artists’ creativity?
Dr. Rosalito de Guzman, chair of the Department of Psychology of the UST College of Science, believes so.
“With the help of vices, artists become more attentive, energetic, and motivated for long hours of creative work,” he told the Varsitarian.
De Guzman claims that there are three determinants that contribute to the “creative power” of vices. Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes help release two neurotransmitters, the pleasure-inducing dopamine and the mood-regulating serotonin, and activate the amygdala, a structure in the limbic system of the brain responsible for emotional reactivity. These provide a pleasurable sensation, thus motivating a person to do a task.
Then comes the bad part.
“The lingering of these molecules on the neural level of the brain, and the continuous stimulation of the amygdala give a prolonged feeling of elation to an individual, and hence, makes him addicted to vices,” he said.
Because of addiction, de Guzman warns that there are adverse effects and withdrawal symptoms such as muscle spasms, dizziness, and nausea when artists instantly stop these vices.
“Without the drugs, they are lifeless. Their bodies react negatively because of the disappearance of a ritual that they have been doing for a long time. It ruins their creative control and motivation to work,” he said.
The psychology of vices is that humans move toward anything that gives pleasure. De Guzman said that the inability to resist irrational pleasant stimulation is a reflection of an individual’s behavioral learning in the past, genetic predisposition, and environmental factors.
His recommendation to get rid of vices is simple—good judgment and prayer.
“Help yourself, turn yourself to a rehabilitation center, and receive therapeutic help,” de Guzman said.
Montage Vol. 11 • September 2008