There appears to be a link between bipolar disorder and creativity. Research shows that people with a genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder are more likely than others to be artistic and creative.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It can cause extreme mood swings. At one end of the emotional spectrum, an individual may experience manic episodes where they feel high and euphoric. And at the opposite end, someone with bipolar disorder may feel extremely low or even have suicidal thoughts.
Experts estimate that
Art therapy uses art materials and creative processes to help people express their thoughts and feelings.
This article looks at the connection between bipolar disorder and creativity and how art therapy can help treat this condition.
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- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
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The findings may indicate that the genetic features of bipolar disorder may also predispose people to creativity. This was apparent, particularly in fields where strong verbal skills are advantageous, such as literature.
They also recorded if the participants were actors, dancers, musicians, visual artists, or writers. The results showed that the genetic variants that increased the risk of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were 17% higher among these creative individuals.
Further evidence of the link between bipolar disorder and creativity comes from a
One approach mental health practitioners use to help manage bipolar disorder symptoms is art therapy, or creative art therapy. It involves using creative activities as a form of self-expression and coping mechanism. These activities may include:
There is some evidence that art therapy is a low risk way of helping people manage bipolar disorder symptoms by enabling them to understand and cope with their emotions. However, large, randomized studies have demonstrated mixed results.
Further evidence of art therapy’s value for bipolar disorder comes from a
The authors noted that art therapy was useful in two ways. Firstly, it could help people open up and share their feelings and experiences. Additionally, it supported clinicians in diagnosing diseases and allowed them to obtain information different from conventional tests.
Countless people living with bipolar disorder have demonstrated incredible artistic talents. Some of the more recognized artists with the condition include:
- Marcel Barbeau
- Barney Bubbles
- Elbridge Ayer Burbank
- Helmi Juvonen
- Jackson Pollock
- Vincent van Gogh
Drama therapy is another creative therapy that may help people with bipolar disorder. This therapy uses creative methods, such as storytelling, improvisation, role-playing, and guided visualizations. It allows individuals to explore their mental health issues, past experiences, emotions, and trauma in a safe environment.
Drama therapists believe that people have an innate capacity for creative expression. By exploring this skill, individuals can access deeper parts of themselves, find new ways of relating to others, and overcome ingrained problems.
Some evidence suggests that drama therapy can help those with bipolar disorder. For example, a 2021 study used a drama therapy intervention in individuals with serious mental health issues, including bipolar disorder.
After the participants engaged in a 9-week drama therapy program, their symptoms improved moderately.
Although the results were not significant, the intervention was beneficial. The participants benefited from building a supportive community of friends and partaking in enjoyable activities.
Other creative therapies that may help individuals with bipolar disorder include music therapy. Listening to and creating music can help people stabilize their moods and improve their quality of life.
There is evidence to suggest that creativity and bipolar disorder share an association.
Some studies also indicate that creative therapies, such as art therapy, drama therapy, and music therapy, may help people with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms.
While more research is necessary, creative therapies appear to be a low risk and potentially effective approach for managing bipolar disorder symptoms.
Overall, art therapy, and creative therapies in general, can be an important addition to the standard forms of treatment once a person has had a diagnosis and is undergoing treatment.