Creative people are more likely to suffer from mental illness such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
A study conducted last year by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden suggested the existence of a connection between creativity and illnesses, while another study that was more complex and was conducted this year, confirmed the theory.
In the study conducted last year, researchers at the Karolinska Institute discovered that families where there were cases of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were more likely to have artists and scientists among their members.
This year, the new study conducted included a larger sample of participants and a broader range of psychiatric diagnoses and the results were published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.
The authors used data collected for 40 years from Sweden’s health registry, analyzing anonymous information about approx. 1.2 million patients and their relatives.
They found that some illnesses, especially bipolar disorder, are more frequent among artists and scientists, from dancers and photographers to scientific researchers and writers.
Writers in particular have turned out to have a higher chance of being diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and substance abuse, and are about 50% more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
In the case of creative people, chances that they had relatives who had received treatment for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anorexia and autism were higher.
The scientists think that their results should make doctors reconsider the method of addressing certain psychiatric disorders.
“If one takes the view that certain phenomena associated with the patient’s illness are beneficial, it opens the way for a new approach to treatment,” said study researcher Kyaga Simon in a statement.
“In that case, the doctor and patient must come to an agreement on what is to be treated, and at what cost,” he added.
In a British study published this year, some patients with bipolar disorder claimed that the disease affected their lives in a positive way, amplifying inner feelings and strengthening their relationship with music and other art forms.