The Genius And Mental Illness

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Artistic Genius and Mental Illness

The path from mental illness to creative genius in many artists and writers has long been a topic of research and discussion. Researchers believe they are now gaining new clues about the mysterious link between highly creative individuals and mental disorders, most commonly manic depression.

The National Institute on Mental Health estimates that manic depression, also called bipolar disorder, affects about 2 million Americans. Many scientists believe that a relationship exists between creativity and bipolar disorder, which was formerly called manic-depressive illness and is marked by dramatic shifts in a person 's mood, energy, and ability to function. Numerous studies have examined this link; several have shown that artists and writers may have two to three times more incidences of psychosis, mood disorders or suicide when compared with people in less creative professions.

Some researchers believe that bipolar disorder or mania, a defining symptom of the disease, causes creative activity. Terence Ketter, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, believes that bipolar patients ' creativity stems from their mobilizing energy that is a result of negative emotion which then initiates some sort of solution to their problems.

Stanford University published a study in 2005 that examined creativity in the offspring of bipolar parents and stated it is possible for creativity and bipolar to have important genetic components.


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