Bipolar Disorder and Creativity

Bipolar Disorder and Creativity

Creative Genius: A Possible Link?

In recent years there have been many studies which show that some individuals are born with a natural talent for certain types of artistic work. These talents may be musical, visual or even mathematical. They seem to come naturally to these individuals and they do not need any special training or education. However, most of them never achieve fame or financial success. Some of them become very successful in their chosen field but others do not live long enough to enjoy their achievements.

The reason why so few people reach the heights of success despite having such a gift is still unknown. One theory suggests that it could be due to genetic factors, environmental influences and/or other psychological reasons.

There are several theories about how these factors interact with each other during development and influence later life outcomes (e.g., [1] ).

One thing that is known for sure is that people with bipolar disorder often experience periods of depression and mania. During these phases, they exhibit unusual mood swings from being extremely happy to feeling depressed or even suicidal.

Such episodes are called manic episodes. People suffering from bipolar disorder may also have thoughts of suicide at times when their illness is under control (i.e., the disease cycle has ended). During these times they are said to be in a depressive episode.

There have been some suggestions that people with bipolar disorder may be more likely to be artistic than the average person, although the evidence for this is not very strong (e.g., [2] ).

It has also been suggested that creative people may be more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder than the general population (e.g., [3] ). This article reviews this topic in detail.

Bipolar Disorder and Creativity

There are several factors that may explain the relationship between bipolar disorder and creativity. It has been suggested that creative people are more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder because they have a genetic predisposition for both traits.

In other words, there may be a common genetic factor that influences both conditions. There is evidence from twin studies to support this (e.g., [4] ).

Sources & references used in this article:

Polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder predict creativity by RA Power, S Steinberg, G Bjornsdottir… – Nature …, 2015 – nature.com

Bipolar disorder and creativity: Investigating a possible link by R Lloyd-Evans, M Batey… – Advances in psychology …, 2006 – books.google.com

Bipolar affective disorder and creativity: Implications and clinical management by NC Andreasen, ID Glick – Comprehensive Psychiatry, 1988 – Elsevier

Beyond the cliff of creativity: a novel key to Bipolar Disorder and creativity by L Ricciardiello, P Fornaro – Medical hypotheses, 2013 – Elsevier