Isaac Newton (1642-1727) – A Schizophrenic - aifc


Isaac Newton was an English Physicist and mathematician. He was also one of the most influential scientists of the time and a key figure in the Scientific revolution which is known as the emergence of modern science.

In an excerpt from Psychology Today titled ‘Celebrity Meltdown’ Isaac Newton is said to have suffered from Schizophrenia.  

“Isaac Newton had some choices for treatment: bloodletting, purging, potions of mixed sedatives, prayer, a walk in the woods or a good book. These were your options if you suffered from mild schizophrenia or manic depression—as Newton did—in the late 1600s.”

“Nobody knew exactly what was wrong with him and most simply labelled him “mad.” But Newton’s insanity seems to have inspired his discovery of calculus, the laws of mechanics and gravity. In fact, during a manic period in his early 20s, Newton worked night and day—often forgetting to sleep, eat and bathe—and made most of his important discoveries.”

Psychology today goes onto point out that Newton suffered from various symptoms. 

“But the insomnia and anorexia, on the other hand, often induced periods of depression. Newton suffered memory loss, confusion and paranoia.”

His Childhood

“As a child, he raged against his mother; he was a hypochondriac; he didn’t fit in with his classmates; and he was oblivious to his schoolwork. Newton thought he had a personal relationship with God, was obsessed with sin and preoccupied with death.”

His Latter Years

Old Newton

“But in his 50s, Newton entered a manic phase that led him to London, where he worked with the government, served as the president of the Royal Society and was eventually knighted. He died at 85, an unusually old age for the time.”



Psychology Today:

Image 1: /Salvatore Vuono

Image 2: “Newton 25” by James Thornhill – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by User: Shizhao using CommonsHelper… Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

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