Bipolar Disorder and Creativity | Mental Health Blog
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Bipolar Disorder and Creativity

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Everyone’s brain is wired a lit bit differently, but when it comes to bipolar disorder, the changes may seem a bit more drastic.

When most people think of bipolar disorder, they get stuck on the contrast between the wild mania and the tired depression. As providers of bipolar disorder treatment in South Florida, we know that bipolar disorder is a lot more than just highs and lows. Although these negative uncontrollable moods are most often talked about, many people are unaware of the connection between bipolar disorder and creativity.

The Link Between Bipolar Disorder and Creativity

Believe it or not, bipolar creativity is a wildly discussed and researched topic. Multiple studies have shown that there is a correlation between the two. For example, one research study found that of the students at a prestigious writer’s workshop at the University of Iowa, 43% of them qualified for bipolar spectrum disorders compared to only 10% of the non-creative control group.1 Another study found of the people whose biographies were reviewed in the New York Times Book review from 1960 to 1990, 8.2% had a history of mania compared to 2.8% of non-artists; those involved in theater, writing, music, art, and architecture, in particular, had the highest rates of mania.2

It appears that the same changes in the brain that may lead to bipolar disorder, may also be related to what makes someone more creative. The reasons behind the connection between bipolar disorder and creativity are still unknown. There is some debate on directionality and whether bipolar disorder makes someone more creative or whether creative people are more likely to develop bipolar disorder.

The Bipolar Creative Mind: Examples of This Unusual Connection

Not quite the stereotypical mad scientist or the high writer, the link between bipolar disorder and creativity has made its mark with many of the great creative minds in history.

Some of the more famous examples of creative people with bipolar disorder (or at least suspected to have this disorder) include:

  • Virginia Woolf - author
  • Vincent Van Gogh- artist
  • Ernest Hemingway - author
  • Beethoven - composer
  • Mariah Carey - musician & singer
  • Sting - musician & singer

All of the people on the list above have made great creative contributions, but also presumably suffered or suffer from bipolar disorder. They are a good example that mental health disorders do not have to be the end of the world.

When you are looking for assistance with your bipolar disorder or trying to find dual diagnosis treatment in Florida, at Banyan Mental Health, we want to help. Let us help you learn to control and embrace your mental health.

To get started, reach out to us today at 888-280-4763.


  1. NCBI - Creativity and mental illness: prevalence rates in writers and their first-degree relatives.
  2. NCBI - Creative achievement and psychopathology: comparison among professions.

Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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