A Moment of Science

What Was Wrong With Chopin? Epilepsy May Be The Answer

Frederic Chopin, the composer and pianist, may have suffered from epilepsy.

Gray Chopin statue

Photo: s3k (flickr)

Chopin complained of dark hallucinations. This makes researchers believe he had epilepsy.

Frederic Chopin was a popular musician during the Romantic Era. He is celebrated as one of the finest composers in history. He is especially well-known for his piano pieces.

What was kept rather hidden were his complicated medical problems. Now, more that 150 years later, scientists are beginning to learn what was wrong with the composer.

Halluciations

After reading through his notes, Spanish researchers learned Chopin dealt with hallucinations.

They eliminated schizophrenia because his hallucinations were not auditory and migraines because they were short lasting. Researchers believe that Chopin suffered from temporal lope epilepsy.

Temporal Lope Epilepsy

Temporal lobe epilepsy is a very common form of the disease. It regularly causes seizures that can be accompanied by hallucinations.

Epilepsy was not well understood during Chopin’s time. If he were alive today he would have been treated with medication.

It is believed that Chopin suffered from other health problems along with epilepsy. Researchers believe he had cystic fibrosis and alpha 1-antirypsin deficiency. He was just 39 years old when he passed away.

Read More:

  • Epilepsy Blamed For Chopin’s Dark Hallucinations (NPR)
Margaret Aprison

Margaret is a graduate of Indiana University with a degree in Telecommunications and a minor in Psychology. The daughter of two scientists, Margaret has been surrounded by the subject her entire life. She enjoys social media, writing, television, and, of course, science!

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