Bipolar disorder seems to be linked to leadership skills. And if you are the sister or brother of someone who suffers from the disease, you have a greater chance than usual of becoming a boss. In addition, bipolar disorder has been shown to be associated with creativity. 

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 This is taken from an article on forskning.no, which refers to a new study by the Swedish researcher Simon Kyaga (1).

What is a bipolar disorder?

A bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that is characterized by the person alternating between going into depression and mania.

Depression involves a low mood, pronounced sadness or lack of energy, and a number of other symptoms.

Mania is an elevation in the mood above the normal, with fast thought activity and speech, a strong self-image and high self-confidence. Hypomania is a mild degree of agitation that usually does not interfere significantly with daily functions or ability to work.

A bipolar disorder can make it difficult to live a normal life, and is a common reason for hospitalization during periods when the person is ill, whether it is due to depression or mania. 

 

Siblings of bipolar more often have management jobs

In the new study of Kyaga, studies have been done on families as to people with the incidence of bipolar disorder. The result is briefly summarized:

It turned out that people with only bipolar disorder, without other mental illnesses, more often had pronounced leadership qualities, compared to most people. The same was true for their siblings, although their traits were a little weaker.
Later in life, on the other hand, the ones with bipolar disorders did not have more managerial jobs than the normal population. But for their healthy siblings, the opposite was true: they were overrepresented in managerial positions, especially in political leadership roles where decisions were made.

Forskning.no concludes:

Thus, it may seem that some of the characteristics that make you a natural leader are actually linked to bipolar disorder.

  

Relationship between mental disorders and creative qualities

According to forskning.no, the same researcher has also previously published startling results on connections between mental disorders and creative qualities. He concluded on the basis of a large study that artists and scientists more often suffer from mental illness such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

PsychCentral (2) writes on the same topic, referring to a statement from researcher Katherine P. Rankin at the University of California:

It is clear that people with affective disorders tend to be overrepresented in the professional group of artists (especially those with bipolar disorder). Bipolar disorder can have certain benefits for creativity, especially for those with milder symptoms.

Another brand new study suggests that being highly able to engage in creative work is associated with a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder (3).

Overall, it could be suggested that the same characteristics that are associated with the risk of bipolar disorder are also related to both creativity and leadership qualities.

 

Sources

  1. Forskning.no: Bipolar siblings become bosses more often
  2. PsychCentral: The link between bipolar disorder and creativity
  3. PsychCentral: Risk of bipolar disorder linked with creativity

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Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
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