Research links creativity and bipolar
Creative people are more likely to have a mental health problem, according to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Researchers from Karolinska in Sweden found that people with bipolar disorder and siblings of people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are more likely to work in creative professions.
The research studied the occupations of 300,000 people who had received in-patient treatment for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression between 1973 and 2003 and their relatives who did not have a diagnosis of a mental health problem.
The study found that people with bipolar disorder were over represented in creative professions, although this was not the case from people who had schizophrenia or depression. Siblings of people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia who did not have a mental health diagnosis were also more likely to have a creative job.
Creative professions were classified as artistic jobs such as designers, musicians, performing artists and authors as well as scientific jobs such as university teachers.
Lead researcher Dr Simon Kyaga said: “Creativity has long been associated with mental disorder, epitomised by Aristotle’s alleged claim that ‘no great genius has ever existed without a strain of madness’. Our study, which is much larger than previous studies, shows that people with bipolar disorder, and their siblings, are more likely to work in creative professions.”