Bipolar disorder
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Bipolar disorder, talent and famous people

Many famous people are believed to have been affected by bipolar disorder, based on evidence in their own writings and contemporaneous accounts by those who knew them. Some of these people include:

Buzz Aldrin, Adam Ant

Tim Burton, Lord Byron

Jim Carrey, Winston Churchill, Rosemary Clooney, Kurt Cobain, Francis Ford Coppola

Jean Claude van Damme, Ray Davies

Carrie Fisher, Connie Francis

Peter Gabriel, Vincent van Gogh

Linda Hamilton, Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo

Sarah Kane, Margot Kidder

Vivien Leigh, Robert Lowell

Spike Milligan, Marilyn Monroe

Florence Nightingale

Axl Rose

Robert Schumann, Ben Stiller

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Ted Turner

Tom Waits, Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, Virginia Woolf

There is no definitive scientific basis for classifying dead people as having had bipolar disorder, though they may very well have suffered from severe and even recurrent bouts of disordered mood. Until very recently there were no diagnostic systems with any degree of reliability. Even with the development of tools such as DSM-IV, there is a great deal of diagnostic uncertainty with living patients who have been intensively studied for decades, and there is no reason to think that it is any easier to diagnose individuals in their graves. For these reasons, some doctors regard psycho-history of this sort as a dubious endeavour.

There appears to be an association between bipolar disorder and talent in many cases - this is documented in Jamison's book "Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament".

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