The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

The geniuses are a little crazy, or at least so they say. The truth is that scientific studies confirm that there is a relationship between creativity and mental illness, although not an infallible rule.


The word creativity is one of those concepts that are difficult to define and on which there is no consensus in the academic literature. Although currently enjoys very good press and is a word that is taken in the positive direction (similarly to what happens with the word innovation mode) has not always been so. In the middle Ages it was a blasphemous notion and in the nineteenth century was not a popular term. It is from the twentieth century when the word begins to progressively applied in the sense of the infinitive CREATE, from Latin create ‘produce something from nothing’, referring to the ‘power to create’ or ‘capacity building’ of being human.

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

Creativity is not a gift of few. It is the exclusive property of gifted or “creative”, however it is an inherent capability to humans. However it is not perceived this way by the difficulty to make it appear. Certainly not through effort, logic or reason, which predominate in the left hemisphere of welcome. The use of the right hemisphere, where intuition, imagination and inspiration finally come for the system to function at its best opportunity to simultaneously split shift required.

Mental Illness

It is an abnormal mental condition. Mental illnesses are related to changes in character and emotions. This change may be congenital, emotional and interpersonal impairments. The term disease of the mind refers to a condition that causes a specific disease signs and symptoms. There is another way of referring to mental illness, for example, mental disorder, psychiatric disorder psychological disorder, and other emotional problems.

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

Mental disorders can be described as major depression, generalized anxiety. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other more. The diseases of the mind are related in two ways, biological, for example, (genetic, neurochemical, brain structure) and psychosocial (e.g., cognitive biases, emotional problems, trauma and cause of psocioeconómica disadvantage. Mental illnesses have always been related practical impediments such as ability to work and cope in society.

Creativity and Mental Disorders

According to a study by more than a million people, creative professionals were 8% more likely to suffer mental disorders compared to those who were engaged in other professions, such as medical, lawyers or teachers.

Writers are the worst off in this research, as they had a higher risk for anxiety disorders (38%), bipolar disorder (121%), schizophrenia, depression and substance abuse alcohol and drugs. It also has twice as likely to commit suicide than people engaged in other professions.

Meanwhile, dancers, scientists, photographers and other creative producers had increased to suffer bipolar disorder compared to other professions trend, but the rates were lower than those of the writers. In general, the group of people engaged in professions related to creativity used to have a nuclear family with close relatives suffering from anorexia, autism or other mental illnesses, but they did not have any.

In this research, creativity is also defined based on three aspects: personality-traits as curiosity-own the process-what happens in the brain during the creative act-and product.

Probably because it takes a long time before you can see something posted, plus they need much effort to get information, not expected to occur in other occupations, and can unbalance the person.

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

The importance of Research

These disorders may give beneficial to creativity and ingenuity aspects, which open a new door in the field of psychiatry: a different approach to treat mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, which will take advantage of the situation good and improve the negatives. It is left to see everything black or white, and is beginning to see shades. However we should not idealize the mentally ill, as undoubtedly need attention.

Thus, it seems demonstrated a relationship between creativity and mental illness, but is given a new approach beyond the crazy writer.

8 Myths about Mental Illness

Studies of mental illness have had great progress in recent years, but before that science was stagnant for a long time, and some popular and religious beliefs prevailed over the rational, creating myths about them, it was and is necessary eradicate. So, here are some of the myths about mental disorders to better understand its complexity.

8. Antisocial Personality Disorder

The myth is that those who do not want to participate in social situations are antisocial. However Antisocial Personality Disorder to those who do not respect the right of others, behaving violently, stealing or lying is applied. These people do not care about the feelings of others, as opposed to those that are commonly labelled as antisocial, generally are just shy or have some form of Avoidant Personality Disorder. This disease having a similar name may be confused, but is somewhat different.

7. Multiple Personality Disorder

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

According to the belief, those suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder personality change from one moment to another, and then do not remember what they were doing before this. It is possible that the other personalities are not active, causing a sense of amnesia, however, are fully conscious and aware of what you are doing the other personality. Many of these people live with all of them for a long time without anyone noticing, working as a team. This implies that all are aware of what the person does.

6. Dyslexia

The myth is that people with dyslexia cannot read because the letters are in different order. In this case the first error is to think that they cannot read, because in fact most can. They do so more slowly than the rest of his class level, but fail to do so properly working hard.

The second error is that it is because they see different letters in order to try to discover its meaning, however dyslexia involves a different way of thinking rather than the visual component.

5. Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental illness in which the patient’s personality thus affecting the thinking and emotional responses disintegrates. The way it is manifested through hallucinations and paranoid delusions, but also expressed in various social dysfunctions as well as the loss of rational logic.

Causes and Risk Factors

This psychiatric disorder is one of the most complexes. Science cannot discriminate for sure what caused that cause, but is believed to have weight as an important genetic factors. There are certain contexts that develop the disease in people predisposed to allergies, which means that if someone has a family history are more likely to get sick. The condition occurs in both men and women and, although it appears in adulthood, may also develop in later ages. However, women often be delayed and occurs more smoothly. Rarely occurs in childhood, but they occur confused with other mental trauma such as autism.

The symptoms of schizophrenia are diverse and may appear together or isolated. In any case usually generated slowly, over months or even years. Patients have difficulty maintaining their social relationships and develop problems with anxiety and depression, sometimes leading to suicidal behavior. Early signs include irritability, sleep disturbances, poor concentration. Then appear emotional difficulties, attention problems, delusions, false sensations, free associations of thought, strange behavior, etc…

Most of the time patients improve with medical treatment. The relatives of these patients should be educated about the disease and ways to support them. It is also important that colleagues and others in the community to help implement plans, it is a disease that requires a lot of social rehabilitation.

The common idea is that those who suffer from schizophrenia hear voices in his head. But in reality they all have different symptoms, and therefore not all have this problem. Many of them even voices from an external object and not on his own head. Some have hallucinations, disturbances in thinking and lack of affection, not necessarily why this symptom.

4. Autism

Generally, it looks like autistic people who could not function in society. But actually there are all sorts of autism, from living in their own world to those who lead a normal life and are just a little eccentric. Many people with advanced autism can improve with therapy and lead a normal life.

The myth has even affected the organizations working with them, because they focus on advanced autism and do not recognize that there are other ways, even people who are happy as they are and do not want to cure his autism.

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

Autism is a disorder that affects people in their socialization, which makes them integrate into society by presenting problems of communication, planning and emotional reciprocity.

Autism is a brain disorder that affects an average of 4 out of 10,000 people, and has noticed growth rates of this disorder to 60 per 10,000 people. Autism is caused by abnormalities in the neurological connections, considered mostly as a genetic problem. However there have been many cases in which the genetic aspect does not seem to be relevant and may be due to a multitude of factors together.

Autism usually is not detected in the first months of life, but that is after 4 months, when the baby should begin to communicate and interact. Note here is a stagnation of their skills and that seems to have no communication with your partner, as the exchange of glances and smiles and put her arms or point out something.

The name of autism was first used by Swiss psychiatrist Eugene Breule, and comes from the Greek “auto” meaning “self, self.” A person with autism may have several of the following characteristics:

  • Delay or apparent delay in the development and use of language.
  • Attachment to a specific routine or difficult rituals leave.
  • Repeating certain movements or tics.
  • Lack of reciprocity in relationships or emotions.
  • Absence of spontaneous expressions of happiness, joy, etc…
  • Difficulty to engage in conversation or verbal or nonverbal communication with people.
  • Sometimes autism is accompanied by a higher than average IQ.

Unfortunately there is no cure for this disorder. However, with appropriate teaching and counselling can reduce deficiencies and lead a life as normal as possible. It has been shown that pet therapy can be useful in many cases because of the difficulty of expressing their emotions directly with people, sometimes find it easier to communicate indirectly with an animal or object.

3. Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit

The myth says that people with Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit cannot pay attention to anything. In general, they cannot concentrate on certain tasks, but this does not mean they cannot pay attention. The problem is that they are able to focus on those tasks that you like best and you will not dislike, it sounds perfectly normal. It may even be said to pay much attention to your surroundings, the atmosphere, the sounds, neglecting the task in general. But you can learn from hard to pay attention to what is important and not diverted to other things work.

2. Flagellation

When you think about self-flagellation is considered to be people who want to end their lives or attention. Usually it is the other, they want to avoid suicide letting out their feelings through wounds.

Moreover, in general, the injuries are in areas where they cannot be trusted and are covered with clothes. If they wanted to call attention, would show more. Many of them want to be helped but did not have the courage to tell anyone.

1. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

It is commonly believed that those who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are afraid of germs and are therefore very clean. However, it is much more complicated than that. People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have obsessions with different things, some with seeds, others with having closed the doors or something terrible can happen to your family. They think of unwanted things, and create rituals to exterminate these ideas, such as washing hands, close the door several times, etc…

All these diseases are surrounded by the general myth that they are an invention of the patient who wants attention through these behaviors. However, years of study have shown that mental illnesses are real and need therapy to cure process.