Clinical Neuroscience

[The facets of creativity in the light of bipolar mood alterations]


JANUARY 30, 2018

Clinical Neuroscience - 2018;71(01-02)


[The link between creativity, as the highest expression form of human achievement, and bipolar disorder came into focus of scientific investigations and research. Accomplished writers, composers and visual artists show a substantially higher rate of affective disorders, prodominantly bipolar mood disorders, comparing to the general population. Then again, patients afflicted with bipolar II subtype (hypomania and depression), as well as persons presenting the mildest form of bipolar mood swings (cyclothymia) possess higher creative skills. It evokes therefore that certain forms and mood states of bipolar disorder, notably hypomania might convey cognitive, emotional/affective, and motivational benefits to creativity. The aim of this paper is to display expression forms of creativity (writing, visual art, scientific work) as well as productivity (literary and scientific work output, number of artworks and exhibitions, awards) in the light of clinically diagnosed mood states at an eminent creative individual, treated for bipolar II disorder. Analysing the affective states, we found a striking relation between hypomanic episodes and visual artistic creativity and achievement, as well as scientific performance, whereas mild-moderate depressed mood promoted literary work. Severe depression and mixed states were not associated with creative activities, and intriguingly, long-term stabilised euthymic mood, exempted from marked affective lability, is disadvantageous regarding creativity. It seems, thereby, that mood functions as a sluice of creativity. Nevertheless, it is likely that there is a complex interaction between bipolar mood disorder spectrum and psychological factors promoting creativity, influenced also by individual variability due to medication, comorbid conditions, and course of disorder.]



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