Possible associations between the norm-breaking behavior of people who could be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder and creativity have been mentioned above; there is conceptual overlap between a norm-breaking lifestyle, genre-busting creativity, unconventional and ground-breaking artistic products. There have also been associations suggested with narcissistic personality disorder, with the argument that to feel one's creative work is valuable and worth showing to the wider world it is necessary to have at least some narcissistic characteristics, such as belief in one's own worth, grandiosity, and exhibitionism. There have also been suggestions that creative individuals are especially likely to demonstrate flamboyant, exhibitionistic, and emotionally and interpersonally labile characteristics of borderline or histrionic personality disorder. Aspberger's syndrome is also an area of intense current interest.
Recent work has extended historical accounts of traumatic or abusive childhoods in eminent creatives and posited a connection with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Linkages with substance and alcohol abuse have already been mentioned, and there is a rich anecdotal literature on associations between alcoholism and the use and abuse of other substances and creative functioning. However, a more recent and popular stream of literature has focused on the documented ill effects of addiction on creativity, creative individuals, and those around them, and on the role of recovery from substance abuse in tapping personal creativity and also recovering from traumatic events.
As noted, over time and the course of study in this area, focus has shifted from characteristics of personality disorder to those of schizophrenia and then mood disorders. The question of which specific mental health diagnoses or which symptoms may be most associated with creativity is complicated by several things. First, diagnostic categories overlap substantially; this has been referred to as the 'horizontal spectrum' of disorders. For example, symptoms of depression may occur in a number of different diagnoses. Second, a number of diagnoses often tend to co-occur, to be 'co-morbid.' Thus, affective disorders and substance abuse often co-occur, as do depression and PTSD. Finally, we are coming to realize that there are distinctly different forms of creativity in different fields or domains, in different cultures, and during different epochs; there does appear to be some specificity in the linkages between particular diagnoses and symptoms and creativity of particular kinds in particular endeavors, something investigated by Arnold Ludwig and Robert Prentky.
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