Being creative increases your risks of schizophrenia

Being creative increases your risks of schizophrenia

The cliche of the 'tortured genius' may actually be true. A new study conducted by the British Journal of Psychiatry has shown that creative types are 90 per cent more likely than the rest of the population to suffer from schizophrenia.

There are many examples of high profile creative geniuses who have suffered from mental health issues, from Vincent van Gogh to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

There have been a number of studies into the relationship, but this is the first to show a conclusive link.

Researchers at King's College London looked at the health records of the whole of Sweden, which encompassed 4.5 million people.

They looked at whether people had studied an artistic subject at university, such as drama or fine arts, then looked to see whether they'd been hospitalised for mental health issues.

The results of the study were phenomenal. They found that arty types were 90 per cent more likely to have been hospitalised for schizophrenia, especially in their 20s. Furthermore, they were 39 per cent more likely to go to hospital with depression, and 62 per cent more likely to go to hospital with biploar disorder.

But why exactly are those with a creative, artistic flair more likely to suffer from mental health issues? The exact reason is still not completely clear.

Lead researcher James McCabe thinks that the genetics behind creativity are the reason for the link.

Creativity often involves linking ideas or concepts in ways that other people wouldn't think of.

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.

However, if you are a creative type, there's no need to worry. Only one per cent of the world's population has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, so your chances of developing the disease are still slim.

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