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Guess This Makes It Official ....

You know how us writers often say we hear their voices in our heads or that the story just writes itself (ie pours out on the page, as we hunch over keyboards hour after hour, often eschewing sleep)? We laugh about being a bit nuts. Well, seems we're absolutely right. ::grins:: Just saw the article below about a study in Sweden, linking creativity to mental illness.

Creative types are thought to be more likely to suffer from mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. A new large-scale study of the Swedish population helps confirm this link.

Last year, researchers at the Karolinska Institutet near Stockholm found that families with a history of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were more likely to produce artists and scientists. They built on this evidence in a new study, published this month in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, which covers a larger population sample and a wider scope of psychiatric diagnoses.

The researchers used 40-years' worth of data from Sweden's health registry, looking at the anonymous records of almost 1.2 million patients and their relatives. They found certain mental illness — in particular bipolar disorder — are more common among artists and scientists, from dancers and photographers to researchers and authors.

Writers specifically were more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and substance abuse, and they were almost 50 percent more likely to commit suicide than the general population, the study found.

Creative types also were more likely to have family members being treated for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anorexia and autism.

Study researcher Simon Kyaga, a Karolinska Institutet doctoral student, said the results suggest doctors might want to reconsider some approaches to mental illness.

"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," Kyaga explained 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."

In a British study earlier this year, some people with bipolar disorder said the condition had affected their lives in positive ways, amplifying their internal experiences and enhancing their access to music and art.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 17th, 2012 07:46 pm (UTC)

I was about to run screaming from the room *g*, but it's actually incredibly positive, isn't it. Thanks for passing it on - I'd love to find out more now.

Oct. 17th, 2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, I thought it was quite positive, too, though it's no fun at all being bipolar or schizophrenic. The brain is a mysterious place that we're only beginning to understand. However, if being crazy is about challenging how things are always done or challenging what everyone has always believed to be true or about seeing the world somewhat differently than the average person, then, yes, being creative requires that capacity to perceive things differently, to challenge the norm. Thank goodness there are better meds and treatment regimes today that help and support those people who suffer extremes of these conditions, like some in my family and quite a few of my friends. Well, regimes that help in certain nations, I guess, which provide health care to citizens in need; not true of everywhere, that's for sure.
Oct. 18th, 2012 01:27 pm (UTC)

I love the idea that the perceptions are shifting. At last! I long to live in the perfect world, where differences of all kinds are celebrated and enjoyed... Snail, who wants to run around ripping every single label off *g*

Oct. 17th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
Now that's interesting... I had an aunt (my father's sister) who seemed unable to tell fact from fiction - she'd start with 'I wonder what I would do if...' and from there it was a very short step to thinking it had actually happened to her. According to my father, they'd had an aunt who was the same. With me, it took the direction of writing :-) (thank goodness).
Oct. 17th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
Well, you're certainly the poster kid for being able to go 'what if' and give us really great scenarios, vignettes and well crafted stories. I need to do some work in developing that 'what if' capability to generate more story concepts.
Oct. 18th, 2012 05:43 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks, but you're one of the writers I wish I could emulate! You're recced far more often than I am. 14 recs on Crack Van opposed to my 4, for example. And some of those fourteen were for series. I'm a competent writer; but you develop ideas far more fully than I can.
Oct. 18th, 2012 01:31 pm (UTC)
::blushes:: Ah, thanks, sweetie. ::hugs::
Oct. 17th, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
Writers specifically were more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and substance abuse, and they were almost 50 percent more likely to commit suicide than the general population, the study found.

*lifts eyebrow*

Wow, it's like they know me!


Interesting article. And it makes me glad to be a little bit crazy, actually.
Oct. 17th, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
LOL, yeah, I thought the same thing ... well, except that I haven't been the least bit suicidal for at least 40 years! Manic, though, oh yeah; relatives with bipolar or mood disorders, yep; and a whole lot of friends. Sometimes, I think the definition of 'woman' could include 'mood swings' at least!
Oct. 17th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
I think it's a spectrum issue. There's no clear point that defines when a mind becomes 'ill' - just levels of acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, and balances of competency and capability. All this shows is that a notable proportion of those whose behaviour deviates from accepted norms gravitates towards either genius, or insanity - and possibly both, since the dividing line isn't. A line, that is ...

That it's likely to have a genetic component is interesting, as it would suggest that some mental illness may be a side effect of positive evolutionary selection for the creative mind.

I wonder what amount of creativity is required to move from the 'general population' to the exceptional group? And what does that say about that general population - a large part of which are themselves the consumers of creativity?

(Or does that explain the popularity of 'reality' shows, I wonder ...)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )



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