Creativity Closely Entwined With Mental Illness

Creativity Closely Entwined With Mental Illness

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Creativity is often part of a mental illness, with writers particularly susceptible, according to a study of more than a million people. Writers had a higher risk of anxiety and bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, unipolar depression, and substance abuse, the Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute found. They were almost twice as likely as the general population to kill themselves. The dancers and photographers were also more likely to have bipolar disorder.

As a group, those in the creative professions were no more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders than other people. But they were more likely to have a close relative with a disorder, including anorexia and, to some extent, autism, the Journal of Psychiatric Research reports. Lead researcher Dr Simon Kyaga said the findings suggested disorders should be viewed in a new light and that certain traits might be beneficial or desirable.

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