Bipolar Treatment and its Effects on Creativity

Although lacking a global definition, creativity is described as “the desire/tendency to see atypical connections”. Scales on creativity determine the ability of “thinking differently” and the level of creativity through the wide, analytical, finding rational solutions and insight sub-scales.

We previously mentioned the meaningful relation between mood disorders and creativity. Extroversion, positive feelings, risk-taking and increasing impulses that occur during the hypomania phase of bipolar disorder make a positive contribution to creativity. In addition to hypomania, it was also seen that depression history, schizotypal disorder, temporal lob epilepsy, Parkinson drugs and frontotemporal dementia are related to creativity.

The specialists studying on this field attach importance to the non-impairment of creativity by the disorder. Because a decrease in creativity means a decrease in curiosity, motivation and pleasure. When psychiatric drugs are analyzed, it is considered that creativity increases upon the decrease of depression.

While decreases the negative feelings that are densely experienced in depression (fear, guilt, etc.), social phobia and evasive behaviors are also reduced in interpersonal relations. On the other hand, indifference to the opinions of others increase, with a decline in the fear of being judged, which in turn is thought to lead an enhancement in creativity. Nevertheless, it was reported that creativity decreases upon the increase of the amounts of the drugs taken by the patients. As a solution to this, target-oriented motivation is enhanced by implementing cognitive behavioral therapy and dopamine agonist drugs like bupropion. If the patient is the depression phase of the disorder, lamotrigine is administered as an alternative to antidepressant.

When solely taking creativity into consideration, lithium and anticonvulsant drugs seem to be more reliable mood regulators than neuroleptics. However, in some acute cases, it may be required to administer dopamine agonist. For instance, if there is a psychotic attack, a small amount tranquilizer neuroleptic, and an atypical antipsychotic, which is a dopamine antagonist, can cause less damage on creativity than a typical antipsychotic.

Dopamine agonists having a less tranquilizing effect are also preferred in increasing the motivation. Nevertheless, it may cause impulsive control disorder and hallucination. During the use of agonists, creativity generally occurs in a different area than the original area of interests of the patient. Lithium may help the continuity of creativity in terms of healing the bipolar disorder.