APA Perspective: Creativity & Mood Disorders

"Starry Night" Vincent VanGogh

A few days ago in therapy - Oh God. Mentioning therapy?! Forget it, I need to get a life.

Getting back to the subject . . . .

Back in July, the American Psychiatric Association published an interesting article on their blog. Provoked by the recent loss of Amy Winehouse, the article was authored by Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan, a Psychiatrist with expertise in Mood Disorders. He writes -
" . . . despite our modern methods, illuminating the “line” or “link” between mental illness and creativity remains elusive.  Studies show that a certain level of melancholy or mixed emotions may be needed to access the creative spring. Unfortunately this negative emotion may also underlie some of the symptoms seen in bipolar disorder. . . "
He goes on to discuss several perspectives on balancing the benefits of treatment against their risks to creative drive. Offering up a unique perspective of his own -
" The message to mental health professionals is clear in my mind; we should attempt to treat highly-creative individuals with mood disorders with all the latest advancements including medications. BUT we should listen carefully and work with our patients to understand what effect treatment is having on their creative drive. Perhaps some individuals need some degree of discontent to “kindle the creative fire,” and we should step up to the challenge of helping them achieve a tolerable and productive balance. "
I'm not really all that smart and I most definitely am not a Doctor. I like Doctors though, so reading Dr. Alsuwaidan's research electrifies my already insatiable curiosity about my own creativity, perhaps it can spark someone else's too . . .

The Mad Boy

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