Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Writers and Depression
A discussion about depression and writers, with Nancy Andreasen who studied faculty at the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa.
The other illness that perhaps has some links to creativity is schizophrenia. I was an English professor who became a psychiatrist and a driving force behind it was my awareness that James Joyce had a daughter who had schizophrenia. I also knew that Bertrand Russell had a family that was full of schizophrenia and Einstein had a son who had schizophrenia. I began my Iowa workshop study expecting the writers to be essentially normal but to have schizophrenia in their first-degree relatives, which refers to parents, brothers and sisters and children. What I found was this very high rate of mood disorder, both bipolar and unipolar, but absolutely not schizophrenic and absolutely no schizophrenia in their family members.
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