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Revealed! Common link between Abe Lincoln, Agatha Christie, and Mozart??

Let that thought marinate in your head for a couple more seconds, then keep reading and I’ll explain.

Sure they’ve all penned their John Hancock’s to public publications, but the shared thread I’m going for actually is that they all were diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

A notable aspect of this disorder is that numerous studies have documented that bipolar individuals, and on many occasions their children as well, tend to have higher levels of creativity. The November 2005 issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research showcases a Stanford University School of Medicine study, one of many studies on the subject, illustrating the link between creativity levels among individuals with the disorder and without. Some speculation concerning the connection is that the mania aspect of the disease fuels creative activity; because patients are focusing their energy from negative emotions to create solutions to problems.

Dubbed the disorder of geniuses, the manic phase (the phase that causes the most stuff to get done!) includes symptoms such as extreme optimism, inflated self esteem, racing thoughts, increased physical activity, amplified drive to perform and achieve goals, decreased need for sleep, to name a few. Writers and artists are two times more likely to have a mental illness. Terenece Kitter, MD, a behavioral science and psychiatry professor, discussed in his 2002 study that bipolar clinic patients tended to be extremely bright and motivated people. Doctors suggest that Mozart probably spent 30 years in a manic phase, from ages 5 upward. Lincoln clearly had a unique way of thinking unseen in his day. And Christie has been regarded as one of the most innovative writers of her genre. Now the flip side to all this is that the depressive side of the disorder is just, if not more dramatic. That’s why when these super creative bipolar types are down-they’re waaaaay down. Note the life ending behavior of Marilyn Monroe, and the downward spiral of Ms. Spears that the whole world witnessed, both of which are also bipolar hall of fame-ers.

Bipolar disease does run in the family, and researchers are continuing to study the genetic factors that are passed inter-genetically. Bipolar adults tend to produce bipolar children, but like everything else passed down it’s not 100% the case; either way kids are going to pick up traits from their parents. Living and loving someone with the disorder effects many areas of perception. That’s not always a bad thing. You’re in good company Ben Stiller, Ted Turner and Vincent Van Gogh, are included on a long list of who’s who with this disorder and they’re handling it just fine.

–posted by Eliza Barnett

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Filed under: bi-polar, Eliza Barnett

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