Is there a link between genius, creativity and bipolar disorder?

It must be tough having a mental health problem but does it come with some advantages? Its hard to think of any until I came across this paper in Molecular Psychiatry. It suggests that bipolar disorder is probably more common in clever people. The authors studied records of > 1 million Swedish men to test the hypothesis that creativity is associated with profound mood swings. Indeed the study found that those blessed with a high IQ are probably prone to pure bipolar disorder.

By LaurMG - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15293668
By LaurMG – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15293668

But is there a real link between genius and bipolar disorder. Indeed a recent suggested a common genetic linkage between genius and bipolar disorderThe Guardian gives a comprehensive analysis of this study which is worth a read.

By Christoph Bock (Max Planck Institute for Informatics) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
By Christoph Bock (Max Planck Institute for Informatics)Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Does any creative person with bipolar disorder come to mind? Perhaps. A quick look at PubMed brought up a paper that suggested that Virginia Woolf’s creativity is linked to her bipolar disorder.

"George Charles Beresford - Virginia Woolf in 1902" by George Charles Beresford - https://bfox.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/virginia-woolf/. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
George Charles Beresford – Virginia Woolf in 1902” by George Charles Beresfordhttps://bfox.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/virginia-woolf/. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

How many geniuses have we cocooned in psychiatric wards I wonder. Or is Virginia Woolf in good company, roaming free and creating? This Wikipedia list of famous people with bipolar disorder would suggest so.

By United States National Institutes of Health - http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-tr-15-3679/tr-15-3679_152248.pdf, Public Domain, Link
By United States National Institutes of Health – http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-tr-15-3679/tr-15-3679_152248.pdf, Public Domain, Link

You may also check my other blog post on this subject titled Autism and creativity.

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3 thoughts on “Is there a link between genius, creativity and bipolar disorder?

  1. I’m searching for some techniques and strategies to boost my creativity and intelligence. Have you ever heard about nootropics? It would be nice if you can write a post aout this topic.

    Like

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