Creativity Linked to Mental Illness

Photo (cc) by Sander van der Wel

HealthDay reports on a new study finding further evidence that creativity is associated with mental illness…

The investigators looked at long-term data from nearly 1.2 million Swedish psychiatric patients and their relatives, and found that bipolar disorder was more common among people with artistic or scientific professions, such as dancers, photographers, authors and researchers.

They also found that schizophrenia, in particular, as well as depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse were more common among writers. Authors were also 50 percent more likely to commit suicide than people in the general population.

In addition, the Karolinska Institute researchers found that the relatives of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anorexia nervosa and autism were more likely to be in creative professions.

The researchers suggest a new approach to treatment, to avoid “a tradition to see the disease in black-and-white terms” that stifles patients’ creative behavior.

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