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Creativity, mental illness linked
People who work in the creative professions are treated more often than the general population for mental illness, researchers in Sweden say.
Simon Kyaga of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm said the findings give cause to reconsider approaches to mental illness.
Kyaga and the research team tracked almost 1.2 million patients and their relatives, identified down to second-cousin level. All were matched with healthy controls resulting and all data were anonymized and cannot be linked to any individuals.
The results confirmed those of their previous study — that certain mental illness, bipolar disorder, is more prevalent in the entire group of people with artistic or scientific professions, such as dancers, researchers, photographers and authors.
Authors were more commonly affected by most of the other psychiatric diseases — including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety syndrome and substance abuse — and were almost 50 percent more likely than the general population to commit suicide, Kyaga said.
“If one takes the view that certain phenomena associated with the patient’s illness are beneficial, it opens the way for a new approach to treatment,” he said in a statement. “In that case, the doctor and patient must come to an agreement on what is to be treated, and at what cost.”
Copyright 2012 by United Press International