Are ‘creative’ people more likely to be affected by mental health conditions?

A new UK study suggests that people who have a tendency to be ‘creative’ in their lives could be more likely to develop mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The research, which was carried out by King’s College London, builds upon previous findings that creative people’s brains work differently to those of their less-creative counterparts.

The team at King’s College set out to analyse the medical and education records of the entire population of Sweden, in a bid to determine whether individuals who had studied ‘creative’ subjects throughout their academic lives appeared to be more likely to encounter mental health problems in later years.

Interestingly, it found that people who had studied the likes of drama, art or music at university tended to have more psychiatric conditions than general members of the public, MailOnline reports.

Researchers compared the data of these individuals to that of people who had studied other academic subjects such as law, and found that mental health conditions appeared to be linked only to more creative degrees.

Study authors concluded that, on average, creative people could be up to 90 per cent more likely to suffer from conditions such as schizophrenia at some point or another in their lives.

Researcher Dr James McCabe, said: “Creativity often involves linking ideas or concepts in ways that other people wouldn’t think of. But that’s similar to how delusions work – for example, seeing a connection between the colour of someone’s clothes and being part of an MI5 conspiracy.

“Someone who is moved to tears by looking at a painting may have greater artistic sensitivity but also be more vulnerable to depression,” he added.

The full findings have been published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

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