Sure, we all know some of the more well-known figures in the world of art have struggled with their mental health but what might this have to do with the rest of us? Well, apparently the link between creativity and mental illness is a very prominent one.

A study recently published in the British Journal of Psychiatry says that creative people are actually more likely to suffer from mental illnesses like schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder than the rest of the world. This study looked at the health records of basically all of Sweden making their sample size over 4 million. They took into account whether or not the people who were gone over studied an artistic subject like drama or music and from there the findings presented themselves.

Those who were what one would consider being creatively inclined were at a 90 percent increase in the likelihood of being hospitalized for schizophrenia when compared to those who were not as creative. They were also over 60 percent more likely to be admitted to the hospital because of bipolar disorder and about 40 percent more likely to go because of their depression. The reason for this connection is not quite clear yet but we do know that it is there.

It is possible that the genetics behind being creative in itself is merely able to also influence mental health or maybe they just think too deeply. Regardless, more research needs to be done on this, big time. It is quite interesting, to say the least.

The abstract of this study goes as follows:

Many studies have addressed the question of whether mental disorder is associated with creativity, but high-quality epidemiological evidence has been lacking.

To test for an association between studying a creative subject at high school or university and later mental disorder.

In a casecontrol study using linked population-based registries in Sweden (N = 4 454 763), we tested for associations between tertiary education in an artistic field and hospital admission with schizophrenia (N = 20 333), bipolar disorder (N = 28 293) or unipolar depression (N = 148 365).

Compared with the general population, individuals with an artistic education had increased odds of developing schizophrenia (odds ratio = 1.90, 95% CI = [1.69; 2.12]) bipolar disorder (odds ratio = 1.62 [1.50; 1.75]) and unipolar depression (odds ratio = 1.39 [1.34; 1.44]. The results remained after adjustment for IQ and other potential confounders.

Students of artistic subjects at university are at increased risk of developing schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and unipolar depression in adulthood.

Declaration of interest

What do you think about this? I believe it is something we have known for quite some time but the sample group size makes it all the more credible. Where we go from her could benefit the mental health of a lot of people across the globe.


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