the price of creativity?

Posted on Posted in journal, whistling in the dark, writers is nuts, writing life

Fast.Co have a fascinating article up about the link between creativity and mental illness, I mean health:

Overall, creative professionals were about 8% more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder than the general population. The study found this to be true for artists (practitioners of everything from photography to choreography) and scientists (professors and researchers). The most startling results, however, related to authors. Writers were a whopping 121% more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder than the general population. Moreover, Simon Kyaga, the study’s lead researcher, says that authors had a “statistically significant increase” in anxiety disorders–38% to be exact. Rates of alcoholism, drug addiction, and suicide also increased among writers.

Now, I've long known of this prevalence towards mental illness among creative types, being friends with quite a lot of writers, but I'd always assumed it was actually correlated to all creative types. That writers stand out as being particularly afflicted is fascinating.

The article briefly posits some interesting theories as to why this might be the case, but what I liked most about the article was the conclusion it drew in regards to possible treatment methods, and the emphasis that any treatment method which gets in the way of the creativity is unlikely to stick, as it were.