Ludwig Van Beethoven was one of the best composers in music history. When he died of liver failure in 1827, he had been self-medicating his many health problems with alcohol for decades.
Much of what he suffered could have been managed with medications we have today. One of his biggest problems was a bipolar disorder. His fits of mania were well known in his circle of friends, and when he was on a high, he could compose numerous works at once.
The interesting fact is that his best works were written during his down periods. The problem is, when he was in his down periods, he also contemplated suicide.
In 1813, he went through such a depressive period that he stopped caring about his appearance, and would fly into rages during dinner parties. During his big depression period, he also stopped composing.
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