Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia, the Key to Genius

Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

In today’s society, mental illness receives and bad rap. After all, for centuries, and most likely even further in the past, the notion of mental illness was seen to be a taboo subject. In times before, it was even discredited by doctors and society as a whole. The term “crazy” was the label for people who suffered in their day-to-day lives because of a chemical imbalance or an unstable upbringing. There is a notion that many people with the illness of the mind are set up for failure in life and will never make anything of themselves. Though, scientists may have now found a link between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and the qualities of genius intellect.

Take Albert Einstein, man who never wore socks and had a quite liberal attitude towards personal hygiene. Einstein created some of the greatest theories of quantum physics that still hold true today. Maybe the theory of general relatively had its origin in an “unstable mind.” Another person to consider, Nikola Tesla. Tesla was certain that he was receiving signals from outer space and that he could communicate with aliens. As well, he had an unbelievably terrible case of germophobia and could not stand the sight of women wearing pearls. Though, he is considered by some to be one of the greatest inventors of all time. Needless to say, many of history’s greatest minds could have had their own documentary of madness.

Aristotle once said, “no great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” Clearly a great saying for people like Vincent Van Gogh who cut off his ear while creating some of the world’s most cherished works of art. Though, according to a new study, a link between genius and bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may, in fact, exist.

Kay Redfield Jamison, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, stated that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is highly frequent in people who are highly intelligent and highly creative. The theory behind this lies in a study conducted on Swedish teenagers. The study showed that the 16-year-olds in the study that were more academically gifted that others in the study were at a much higher risk of developing mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The study found that there is actually a “mad genius” gene that links intelligence and mental illness. Thus, one simple genetic trait could be the arbiter of a life of creativity and, unfortunately, possible despair and ridicule. According to the study, DARPP-32, the gene in question, allegedly links genius and madness. Roger Highfield, a reporter at the Telegraph, stated a certain version of DARPP-32, “enhances the ability to think.” The gene also shapes and controls nerve circuits in the brain. The gene links the striatum with the prefrontal cortex. The striatum is said to be closely involved with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He also said that this genetic code can be found in nearly 75 percent of the population. While many people will experience advanced cognitive improvements, scientists have found that DARPP-32 can also show the onset of risks related to mental illness.

Dr. Daniel Weinberger of the U.S. National Institute for Mental Health, who has studied this gene, explained the notion revolves around the existence of a pre-existing brain impairment, like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Highfeld stated that although the DARPP-32 gene can be associated with higher than normal levels of intelligence, it can advance mind disorders. While there is no clear arbiter of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, finding DARPP-32 could give scientists more insight to discover the origin of some mental disorders and how they may have played in role in the development of some of history’s greatest geniuses.

By Alex Lemieux


Elite Daily 

10 Responses to "Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia, the Key to Genius"

  1. Thomas Hally   April 25, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Jason, you know I have Bipolar Disorder, yet you said I scored very high on your tests. I wonder, were you “protecting” me or protecting yourself, not giving me my score. Very typical and very condescending.. I have written 1 book in English, I book (twin) in Spanish, and a polyglot book of poetrty.,Ah, yes. You were a Jarhead, I was a Green Beret. ~ Airbourne!

  2. Thomas Hally   April 25, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I didn’t did I Jason.

  3. Tom Hally   April 25, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    I would swap the WAIS -III IQ of 166 in a New York minute for a lifetime without Bipolar Disorder

  4. Jacob   April 23, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    I’m not going to waste to much time on this but I’ve been diagnosed with both disorders for used and took many of those years to get a handle on it.. I don’t in anyway consider myself to be a genius but I am packed with so much information that I’ve acquired over my 30 years and it’s to day the least..a wide variety of different things. I am almost overwhelmed sometimes with trying to solve questions or just wrap my mind around the answers others have came up with.. There are so many great people who had these disorders and everyone thought them to be crazy until the death or was proven to be a “mad scientist” lol..

  5. Iain Moncrieff   April 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    This is a dreadful article full of grammatical and spelling mistakes. It glides over the surface
    of the subject and completely ignores Kay Redfield Jamison’s seminal work on the link between genius and madness , “Touched by Fire”. Trouble is, for every bipolar (very rarely schizophrenic) genius there are thousands upon thousands of people with serious mental
    health problems who aren’t.

  6. Lisa Lane   April 16, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    I agree with this. I am one of the most intelligent & creative people I know (including historically) — however — I have struggled with symptoms of bipolar (even on meds & sober) for over 15 yrs.

    I would go into detail, but it’s late, & I am tired now.

    In a nutshell: I am running for U.S. President in 2016.

    I have been running since I was 22 yrs old.

    I will be 40 yrs old next month.

    Please ask me about my “Top 10 New Laws.”

    • Fabiana   April 20, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      Hi Lisa ,
      Please tell us more about yourself

  7. Debbie   April 16, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    I think they may be onto something …….I know a few people in this catagory and yes they are highly creative,smart,and seem to do wellin whatever career they choose(independent)

  8. jennifer   April 15, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    As someone with Schizoaffective Disorder I find the myth that we are misunderstood geniuses stupid and insulting. I am intelligent but if I could trade my brain in for one that never experienced psychosis I would do so immediately. Your myth does not due justice to the incredible suffering these illnesses entail. And Van Gogh had Syphillus. thanks for spreading more stereotypes around.

  9. Jason West   April 13, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Most Bipolar and Schizophrenic people score below average on IQ tests. This is well documented. In fact it would be hard to even get a Schizophrenic to take a test. Creativity is very subjective and if psychotic people attach two random ideas together does that make them brilliant artists or just people with scrambled random delusional ideas? Maybe both????


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