The relationship between creativity and mood disorders
Dialogues Clin Neurosci. ;10(2) The relationship between creativity and mood disorders. Andreasen NC(1). Author information: (1)Department of. Jul 12, The mental health consumer movement is effectively advocating about the need YES – there is a link between bipolar disorder and creativity. Research shows a linkage between A grades and “bipolar disorder,” Similar studies underline the linkage between creativity and mania and we have has caused your mind to move from gear to higher gear, dramatically revving up the.
The evidence is growing for a significant link between bipolar disorder and creative temperament and achievement. People with bipolar disorder swing repeatedly from depression to euphoria and hyperactivity, or intensely irritable mood states.
Also known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is strongly genetically linked, passing down through each generation of an affected family. It is fairly common and very treatable with modern medicines and psychotherapy. Manic-depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. The American psychologist combined current diagnostic criteria with biographical data, diaries, family trees and other historical information, to closely examine the lives of a sample of major 18th century British poets born between the years and Other studies by Jamison — as published here and here — established that a number of speech components occur in individuals when hypomanic: When given drills, they can list synonyms or form word associations more rapidly than control groups.
And so they rate highly on tests of creativity. A whole-population cohort study of all individuals in the Swedish national school register showed that those who demonstrated excellent school performances were nearly four times as likely to develop bipolar disorder as those who exhibited only average performance.
Other recent large-scale studies have addressed a different pattern of association — one between creative occupation and mental illness. These studies found a clear over-representation of people with bipolar disorder and their healthy siblings in the most creative occupational categories, which included artists, musicians, writers and scientists.
Hypomanic moods While large, population-based studies provide us with the scientific rigour to test the link between bipolar disorder and creativity, some of the more interesting studies have involved smaller-scale, reflexive approaches. The preponderance of the evidence suggests that in these creative individuals the rate of mood disorder is high, and that both bipolar disorder and unipolar depression are quite common.
Anecdotally, there are many examples of striking associations between creativity and mood disorders, and particularly bipolar disorder.
- Here’s what the evidence shows about the links between creativity and depression
- The relationship between creativity and mood disorders
- Creativity and mental illness
Van Gogh suffered from mood disorder during much of his short, adult, life, prior to committing suicide at. During the last year and a half of his life, he suffered from severe bouts of both psychotic mania and psychotic depression, yet he also produced more than of his greatest works.
Sylvia Plath, who also died by suicide at the young age of 31, suffered from severe mood disorder for much of her life. Although she was probably depressed at the time of her death, this period was preceded by a time when she worked late into the night and got up early in the morning, writing poetry intensely - and often poetry with a wry, dry sense of humor, suggesting intermittent periods of a manic or hypomanic state.
Martin Luther suffered periods of intense despair, but also periods of extremely high energy. After his Ninety-five Theses unexpectedly launched the Reformation, he devoted enormous energy to writing theological tracts to defend his position.Creativity and Depression: What Causes the Link?
There are many other well-known creative people who suffered from mood disorders, many of them bipolar: Anecdotal accounts of the lives of creative people are fascinating, because they convey a human and personal element. They also suggest, that examining the association between creativity and mood disorders is an interesting scientific pursuit.
However, the real test of whether there is an association can only be determined by rigorous empirical studies. Such studies are relatively rare, however, because research on the nature of creativity presents a variety of challenges. Challenges in studying creativity One of the greatest challenges faced by creativity researchers is defining the nature of the sample to be studied.
Interestingly, as Terman and his group followed these high-IQ individuals into adulthood, they observed that they were generally more successful than average, but that very few actually made significant, creative contributions, thereby documenting that having a high IQ is a different mental trait, than being creative.
The relationship between creativity and mood disorders.
Ellis, for example, chose to study people whose lives were described in the British Dictionary of National Biography and who had entries longer than three pages. This of course provided him with a very mixed group of people, ranging from politicians to industrialists to artists and scientists, not all of whom would be considered to be creative in current usage. Csikszentmihalyi stresses the importance of making original contributions and of being recognized for these contributions by one's peers.
However, this is a relatively stringent criterion. Given this definition of creativity, how then should an investigator identify a sample to study? One approach is to select a very homogeneous group of creative people, such as a group of writers, or musicians, or mathematicians. This is perhaps the most common.
Here’s what the evidence shows about the links between creativity and depression – Research Digest
Another approach is to sample more broadly and to study a mixture of creative individuals from multiple disciplines. The most difficult aspect, of this type of research is identifying and recruiting the subjects, since creative people tend to be relatively busy.
An alternative approach is to identify a group of people for whom written histories are available and to use this information as the basis for study.