Link Between Creativity and Mental Illness Confirmed

People in creative professions are treated more often for mental illness than the general population, there being a particularly salient connection between writing and schizophrenia. This according to researchers at Karolinska Institutet, whose large-scale Swedish registry study is the most comprehensive ever in its field.

Louis Wain
Louis Wain

Last year, the team showed that artists and scientists were more common amongst families where bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is present, compared to the population at large. They subsequently expanded their study to many more psychiatric diagnoses - such as schizoaffective disorder, depression, anxiety syndrome, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, autism, ADHD, anorexia nervosa and suicide - and to include people in outpatient care rather than exclusively hospital patients.

The present study tracked almost 1.2 million patients and their relatives, identified down to second-cousin level. Since all were matched with healthy controls, the study incorporated much of the Swedish population from the most recent decades. All data was anonymized and cannot be linked to any individuals.

Simon KyagaSimon Kyaga

The results confirmed those of their previous study: certain mental illness - bipolar disorder - is more prevalent in the entire group of people with artistic or scientific professions, such as dancers, researchers, photographers and authors. Authors specifically also were more common among most of the other psychiatric diseases (including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety syndrome and substance abuse) and were almost 50 per cent more likely to commit suicide than the general population.

The researchers also observed that creative professions were more common in the relatives of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anorexia nervosa and, to some extent, autism. According to Simon Kyaga, consultant in psychiatry and doctoral student at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, the results give cause to reconsider approaches to mental illness.

"If one takes the view that certain phenomena associated with the patients illness are beneficial, it opens the way for a new approach to treatment," he says. "In that case, the doctor and patient must come to an agreement on what is to be treated, and at what cost. In psychiatry and medicine generally there has been a tradition to see the disease in black-and-white terms and to endeavour to treat the patient by removing everything regarded as morbid."

Comments

If this is true, then research into why this is needs to be done.

probably because these people are being a little more 'human' in a positive way, which maybe helps you see the truth of the world around you...a million theories

Treatment kills the creativity and the uniqueness of such people.
Awareness of the problem, for the affected person and those around them, might have to be enough as far as treatment is concerned.

knew it! im crazy lol... its normal tho when u are ascending to higher dimensions of consciousness, its normal to appear crazy to other people that dont understand. Thats fine, cuz from up here they all look crazy, good thing we live in a universe based on relativity :)

LOL Yes a Universe based on Relativity, and a society based on MONEY!