Are Mood Disorders the Price We Pay for High Intelligence and Creativity? Scientists Say “Yes”

Throughout history, we have known many highly intelligent and creative people who suffered from mood disorders of all kinds. Even Beethoven was notorious for his angry outbursts.

It seems great thinkers in the past would be classified in modern day as bipolar or with some other chronic mental illness that alters’s one’s mood. The main primaries of these being Bipolar one, bipolar two, and cyclothymic disorder. Bipolar one is more manic and usually, comes before or after a depressive episode while bipolar two consists of one or more major depressive episodes lasting two weeks and a manic cycle of at least four days. The most lenient, in my opinion, is the cyclothymic disorder that lasts for two years or longer of mild mania and depressive episodes.

In one study carried out by the University of Glasgow examining the IQ of around 2,000 eight-year-old children and comparing the data with the children of which developed manic traits by the age of 22 or 23, they discovered that a high IQ was in fact linked with bipolar symptoms later in life. While having a high IQ is not a clear-cut risk factor like many other issues environmental issues may play a part.

Lead researcher Daniel Smith said:

“There is something about the genetics underlying the disorder that are advantageous. One possibility is that serious disorders of mood – such as bipolar disorder – are the price that human beings have had to pay for more adaptive traits such as intelligence, creativity, and verbal proficiency,”

This, however, is not the only study to find a link between something of this sort. Another study found a link between genetics, bipolar disorder, and creativity. For this, they reviewed the DNA of well over 86,000 people looking for specific genes that increased the risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They documented whether or not the individuals were in creative fields and upon analyzing the data found that those who are creative have a 25 percent higher risk to carry genes often associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This study was carried out by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s College London.

It really does seem that a lot of people who are creative and highly intelligent are at a greater risk of developing some type of mood disorder. How many amazing individuals are sacrificed by way of the pharmaceutical industry? That we do not know. While medication is something that some people do need, lots of the drugs being used today turn us into nothing more than zombies, there has to be a better way.

Inspired by an article written by Learning Mind.

Image Via What Dreams May Come