Research shows some correlation between artistic creativity
and psychological disabilities. The following artists (writers, actors,
musicians, etc.) have been diagnosed (some after death) as having bipolar
disorder: Ned Beatty, Art Buchwald, Tim Burton, Francis Ford Coppola,
Patty Duke, Charlie Pride, Axl Rose, Sting, Abbie Hoffman, Robert Lowell,
The following artists have been diagnosed (some after death) as having clinical depression: Marlon Brando, Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, Dick Clark, Leonard Cohen, Judy Collins, Sheryl Crow, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, Janet Jackson, Billy Joel, Elton John, Deborah Norville, Neil Simon, Mike Wallace, Truman Capote, Michel Foucault, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Hesse, William James.
Studies have shown that 20% of patients with bipolar disorder will commit suicide and 30% of bipolar patients will have attempted suicide at least once in their lifetime. Patients with mood disorders are considered to be at a higher risk for suicide than the average individual. Therefore, it is important to realize the signs of suicidal thoughts.
Researchers have proposed using a stress-diathesis model to study the risk for suicidal behavior in bipolar patients. The stress diathesis model is based on the assumption that suicidal behavior is a combination of an individual’s vulnerability/tendency for suicidal acts and the stressors that can trigger suicidal behavior. In a study at Columbia University, bipolar patients who attempted suicide were shown to have more depressive episodes and higher levels of substance abuse than non-attempters.
Potential triggers for suicide
Recent termination of a relationship
Death of a family member or friend
Loss of financial security (bankruptcy, debt)
Decrease in self-esteem
Abusive treatment from others
Risk factors for suicide in patients with bipolar disorder
Early-age disease onset (being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at an
High number of depressive episodes
Personal history of antidepressant-induced manic episodes
Family history of suicidal behavior
Traits of impulsivity and hostility
Personal history of suicidal behavior
In addition to the previous risk factors described, young men who have
recently been diagnosed or are in an early phase of bipolar disorder are
at the highest risk for suicide.