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Swedish scientists have traced the family lines of 1.2 million Swedes to the level of second cousins, and found that people in creative professions have higher rates of mental illness in their family lines, reports Amara D. Angelica, at Kurweil AI, in Warning: the writer of this post may be nuts!

"The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.” — Salvador Dali (credit: Wikipedia)

People in creative professions are treated more often for mental illness than the general population, especially writers, according to researchers at Karolinska Institute, whose large-scale Swedish registry study is the most comprehensive ever in its field.
Either that, or Swedes are crazier. Hey, I’m kidding!

Last year, these same researchers found that artist and scientists were more common among families including those with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and later expanded this finding to include "schizoaffective disorder, depression, anxiety syndrome, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, autism, ADHD, anorexia nervosa and suicide."

Like their previous study, they found that bipolar disorder is more prevalent in the entire group of people with artistic or scientific professions, such as dancers, researchers, photographers and authors. Authors specifically also were more common among most of the other psychiatric diseases (including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety syndrome and substance abuse) and were almost 50 per cent more likely to commit suicide than the general population. ...

The researcher also found the same relationship from the opposite direction, that relatives of patients with all of these same disorders tended to include higher proportions of people in "creative fields" then the "normal' population.

Simon Kyaga, consultant in psychiatry and doctoral student at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics suggests that this finding might change the way we think about mental illness, and that it might confer certain advantages.

“If one takes the view that certain phenomena associated with the patients’ illness are beneficial, it opens the way for a new approach to treatment,” he says. “In that case, the doctor and patient must come to an agreement on what is to be treated, and at what cost.”

This research may also may explain "certain" observations I've made about my own family, friends, and even some of our fellow Kossacks writers, many of whom seem a little odd, at times. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize I may be the only "normal" person in almost all of the groups I belong too. (Actually, this is a joke, as I have more diagnoses than probably half a dozen randomly chosen people combined. and I am sometimes discouraged at how "normal" most folks are, here.)    

Originally posted to HoundDog on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 02:49 PM PST.

Also republished by Mental Health Awareness.

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