The mind controls everything that goes on with human beings and no matter how creative or intellectual or even habitual it may seem. It has been a thing of wonder when we observe the marvelous works of geniuses as they express extreme creativity. There are a number of musical geniuses that have wowed the world but they have also ended up dying of severe depression. A couple of renowned comedians, who have also committed suicide because they were not just sad, but they were depressed, became alcoholics as a result. They eventually die from the addiction to the alcohol they are taking to lift their spirit. The irony is that for people who are so good that their creativity makes other people happy, it is shocking and a bit disturbing that have very dark, and depressing situations that threaten their lives. The question of whether there is a link between the creative brain and mental illness still remains

Some may argue that for a mind to be creative to a stellar level it probably also has to be exposed to being out of this world for a sane mind. This is because there was a time that people with autism were considered having mental disabilities, however, that is changing now. People living with autism are now being considered under a different light, and many more observations and experiments are proving that these people are simply skilled in many other ways the normal person is established at, from development.

Although, this does not mean that autistic individuals are not deficient in social skills, those are being taught to them in ways that enable them to lead normal lives. The question of whether there is a link between the creative brain and mental illness still remains. There have been several explanations in an attempt to answer this issue. However, there hasn’t been a proven link. An approach in order to attempt finding an answer is the interviews conducted or analyzing the work of these artists. Furthermore, another approach is the writings of Virginia Woolf. This was explored when analyses showed that the creativity in the minds of artists may in an actual sense have a link to the mental illness.

The reasonable way to is definitely to get scientific evidence of the hypothesis, but that can be difficult. The best will have been to subject creative geniuses to cerebral medial scans, as well as, an evaluation that will assist scientists in coming to a proper conclusion, and proven theory. However, getting anyone to participate in a scientific research is also already as tedious and difficult as it gets. Trying to make celebrities, famous people, who are almost always busy figuring things out, working on projects, and in the middle of one stellar occasion or the other can be a herculean task. This has made the advances in this subject matter a bit cloudy, notwithstanding research has begun on this topic as far back as a century ago. Even though there are signs suggesting that there is a connection between creative minds and disturbed minds, one can never really be certain, because the brain is a complex organ. The human life as we know it is complicated enough and several things can lead to any disorder. Moreover, even if being creative has a hand in celeb’s mental problems, it is probably not the only one responsible for their depressed or suicidal state of mind.


Mental Illness and Creativity: A Neurological View of the “Tortured Artist”


One could even turn the entire discussion around, and as if having a mental disturbance, in fact, helps to come up with brilliant ideas and concepts. The hypothesis is based on the fact that there are clear examples of people like Adele that released an album that was inspired by her heartbreak.  If pain and disorders that affect the minds are so powerful to elicit profound thoughts and imaginations, does this mean that it is as a matter of fact necessary for the mind to unlock its creative core? However, the problem still stems back to the fact that the research that has been conducted over the years were not blind, meaning that the interviewers knew the subjects were either an actor, an actress, a writer, or a genius. That is not the only problem, the notion that even these professions are epitomes of creativity also adds to the bias, making the studies carried out not effectively proving a connection between creative brains and the madness that is often associated with it.

V.S. Ramachandran of the University of San Diego exemplifies himself in the study of the way the brain reacts to the works of arts. What he was able to pinpoint is the fact that the mind actually enjoys the little alterations that these creative works present to the brain, making it special. What is more interesting is the fact that majority of these unique moments and crafts were made out utmost madness. Whether one thinks about it in the form of an autistic painter, an enraged performer, a depressed writer, or even a mentally disturbed designer/organizer, all these people seem to have striking quality and exceptional spectacle to marvel the world. Therefore, to ignore the connections may be wrong, but we are yet to receive a proper and clear confirmation to the theory.

It is a normal thing everyone needs to dig deep into their best self to turn up in moments of crisis. If that is the case, does it then mean that we are all mad, or that without an extreme disturbance one does not enter a space of intellectual abyss? What if it is only pride that pushes those artists to the crazy extremes they get to, what if it is the lack of severe problems and challenges in their life, one cannot really say. What remains important is that patience is required in dealing with people going through mental disorders because their state may be of more advantage that good. It is not uncommon to see athletes or performers that were exceptional but had issues with rage, and once they seem to reduce their agitations, and have their rage under control, their rising talents and skills tend to plateau and even make a dive.

Till proper evidence are presented the issue of mental illness and creativity still remains only an assumption. However, it is one that has truth in it, somewhere, somehow. So, one can only keep observing and making calculated decisions that are all-encompassing.




Hammond, C. (2016). Does mental illness enhance creativity?. Retrieved from

Perry, P. (2017). Is There a Link between Creativity and Mental Illness?. Retrieved from

Sussman, A. (2007). Mental illness and creativity: A neurological view of the “Tortured Artist”. Stanford Journal of Neuroscience1(1), 21-24.