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What does the future hold for our creative children?
Artistic people are 90 percent more likely to be hospitalized for schizophrenia
For centuries, people have felt there was a link between creativity and suffering. They think Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Lane Staley of Alice in Chains were so talented because of their addictions, or that Van Gogh created such great paintings because of his mental health issues. Now there is a new study out that proposes being creative increases your risk of schizophrenia by ninety percent. These beliefs are usually held by people who are not artistic. When all is said and done, these are foolish and dangerous ideas to hold on to. We will discuss that later, but for now we will look at the results of a study that looked at the health records for the entire country of Sweden.
This sample size consisted of nearly 4.5 million people. They found that people with artistic degrees were 90 percent more likely to be hospitalized for schizophrenia. Artists were also 62 percent more likely to be admitted for bipolar disorder and 39 percent for depression.
There have been other studies done on the link between creativity and mental illness. In 2010, brain scans showed similarities between the thought patterns of creative people and schizophrenics. A 2015 study concluded that creative people have a higher risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, a 2012 study indicated that the most at-risk people among the creative population were writers.
Although the studies show that creative people often seem to have these illnesses, they cannot explain why. Many artists are people who have been marginalized from society long before they picked up a pen or a paintbrush. Imagine a lonely young man, an “outsider” in the school caste system. He sits at home alone in his room. What is he to do? Just stare at the walls all night? No, he decides to occupy his time by picking up a pen and starts to compose a poem, and thus a writer is born. However, even though he draws great joy from the act of writing, it is never enough to erase the depression that comes with being isolated.
While the link between creativity and mental illness should be explored, it needs to be done carefully. Look at the way the findings are phrased: “Creative people are more likely to be schizophrenic.” What are they trying to say? That creativity makes someone become schizophrenic? Does that mean the solution is that an artist should STIFLE their creativity to avoid developing schizophrenia? Such a suggestion is absurd. The more believable conclusion is that the schizophrenia was there first, and the person turned to art to cope with their illness.
To go back to the two gentlemen mentioned at the beginning, this author would just like to state if Kurt Cobain and Lane Staley had NOT been addicts, they would most likely still be with us. And they would still be making amazing music. You don’t NEED to be tortured to be creative. And if you are, odds are your candle will burn out long before it should.
Society is destroying creative people how can we create an environment that is safe so we can have to FIGHT against schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression.