Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Artistic Ability and Mental Problems: Is There A Link? (guestpost by Louise Baker!)

Artistic Ability and Mental Problems: Is There A Link?

Evidence has supported the claim that there is in fact a link between creativity and certain types of mental disorders for hundreds of years. The specific relationship between the two is apparent when you examine what mental disorders have in common with creativity. It is necessary for an individual to view things abnormally in order to possess creative qualities. Abnormally thinking about things is a very common occurrence for a person showing signs of psychopathological or neurological disorders.

There a wide variety of mental disorders that are known to somehow be connected with creativity. Some of the most common disorders known to make patients show an increased propensity toward creativity include:

* Autism
* Dementia
* Bipolar Disorder
* Epilepsy
* Depression

Hundreds of years of history and literature have painted a clear picture, illuminating the similarities between extremely creative and mentally ill individuals. One of the most famous examples of a mentally ill person being extremely creative and intellectually gifted was Albert Einstein. Einstein’s unique gifts were directly related to a barrage of mental illnesses, which include developmental language and dyslexia disorders. Most consider Einstein’s creativity and extremely high levels of intelligence to be somehow directly linked with his mental disorders, although the direct mechanism thought responsible for the similarities is not known.

One of the most widely accepted scientific studies within the scientific community took place during 1949, and provided evidence that individuals with a natural predisposition towards bipolar disorder also tend to be naturally predisposed to creativity. The study’s findings provided evidence that two-thirds of the studied artists, writers, composers, architects and their families were normal. However, the study concluded that overall the group as a whole had a significantly higher percentage of individuals showing signs of mental disorders, when compared to the general public.

The group studied had a high percentage of individuals that could be classified as neurotic, and even insane. The experiment provided results supporting the facts that around fifty percent of the poets studied and about forty percent of the musicians studied had some kind of psychiatric abnormality. When it comes down to it, ADD/ADHD, dementia, autism and bipolar disorder all seem to be somehow directly linked to creativity by the similar qualities bf both.

Many of history’s most well respected writers suffered from the mental disorder epilepsy, including Fyodor Dostoevsky and Edgar Allen Poe. The link between the two is not exactly known, but there is some evidence supporting the idea that increased levels of creativity develop hand in hand with the onset of the disorder. Many scientists believe that the increased levels of creativity are somehow connected with how the human brain reacts to the onset of mental diseases.

Louise Baker is a freelance blogger who usually writes about accredited online colleges for Zen College Life. Her most recent article ranked engineering degrees.