Sunday, January 21, 2007

Manic Depression Is A Frustrating Mess

I was having an e-mail discussion with a friend and the connection between schizophrenia (a term my friend didn't like) and creativity came up. So I did a search on - mild schizophrenia genius creativity - to see what I could find. Here is what came up.

STANFORD, Calif. — For decades, scientists have known that eminently creative individuals have a much higher rate of manic depression, or bipolar disorder, than does the general population. But few controlled studies have been done to build the link between mental illness and creativity. Now, Stanford researchers Connie Strong and Terence Ketter, MD, have taken the first steps toward exploring the relationship.

Using personality and temperament tests, they found healthy artists to be more similar in personality to individuals with manic depression than to healthy people in the general population. "My hunch is that emotional range, having an emotional broadband, is the bipolar patient’s advantage," said Strong. "It isn’t the only thing going on, but something gives people with manic depression an edge, and I think it’s emotional range."

Strong is a research manager in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science’s bipolar disorders clinic and a doctoral candidate at the Pacific Graduate School. She is presenting preliminary results during a poster presentation today (May 21) at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association Meeting in Philadelphia.

The current study is groundbreaking for psychiatric research in that it used separate control groups made up of both healthy, creative people and people from the general population.
A lot of people with extreme bi-polar mood swings do not like to take their medication because they miss the exhilaration of the highs, despite the extreme depression of the lows.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting blog. I've spent years studying PTSD and bi-polar disorder and find your thoughts on target with much of my research and personal experience.

Kay Redfield Jamison was on this particular topic of manic-depression and creativity. She's written several great books, one of which is directly related to the creative spirit in manic-depressives.