Why Are Musicians More Likely To Suffer From Depression?

Alia Smith

From International sensations like Adele, Beyonce, Justin Bieber and Zayn Malik to our very own Yo Yo Honey Singh, each of them have fought their battles with Mental Illness.

It seems quite ironic that those who are the closest to music, which can provide natural relief to anxiety and reduces depression, are the major sufferers of stress, anxiety and depression.


Creative Artists are fifth most likely to suffer from depression, with around 9% of them reporting a major depressive state in the past few years. It appears as making a career as a musician isn’t just difficult when it comes to earning your livelihood, but it can also cause harm to your physical and mental health. A study, completed by University of Westminster investigated : 2,211 musicians reveal that 71.1% of them had suffered from panic attacks or anxiety, with 68.5% saying they had struggled with depression.

Researchers Sally-Anne Gross and Dr. George Musgrave highlighted a few major issues including money insecurities and dealing with perilous and unpredictable pay, and poor working conditions. The study also reveals that musicians were more likely to be subject to sexual abuse, bullying and discrimination including antisocial and unsympathetic working environments.

Let’s try to find out, when music is so good for our heath then why these musicians are suffering so much?

It’s not that difficult to understand, how unexpected or sudden fame or a lifestyle change while creating music and doing live shows can lead to serious health issues among these musicians. Zayn Malik, who became one of the most talked-about people in the world overnight after One Direction came second in a reality show, has anxiety so severe that it ultimately forced him to cancel several solo tours. Sharing his experience in an interview he said, “When I was in One Direction, my anxiety issues were huge, but within the safety net of the band, they were still manageable. But as a solo performer, I was much more exposed, and the mental stress of performing had just got to be too much for me to handle”.

Not just that, but the act of trying to break into the industry in an initial level can be so stressful that it can have a massive impact on an artist’s health. Today, Nicki Minaj is regarded as one of the best rappers around, but in 2011, she recalled to in an interview how she had suffered from suicidal thoughts after being turned away from time to time and having doors slammed on her face during her initial career in the music industry.

One of the major reasons of anxiety and mental depression among musicians is the stress of failure or rejection. There was time when a person who can perform in front of around 20,000 people was sacred of even 4-5 people around him, that’s what mental illness did to the Indian Rapper, Honey Singh. All his fans were dancing to his beats, while he just silently disappeared! For nearly 2 years. He talked about suffering from Bipolar disorder and how scary those 2 years were for him. This was the time when his career graph was in the downward direction.

Fans may think what are musicians talking when they discuss the pressures and mental depression stories as the musician’s life looks rocking from outside. Yet as per the scientific evidence, the “fight or flight” response has proper chances of kicking in during a high-pressure situation like a gig, where a singer or musician is facing thousands of people, staring right at them. Some might perform good because of the heightened state of awareness, while for some others, it can cause memory loss or panic attacks, leading to long-term anxiety.

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