Links between creativity and mental health have been extensively discussed and studied by psychologists and other researchers for centuries. Parallels can be drawn to connect creativity to major mental disorders including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, OCD and ADHD. For example, studies have demonstrated correlations between creative occupations and people living with mental illness. There are cases that support the idea that mental illness can aid in creativity, but it is also generally agreed that mental illness does not have to be present for creativity to exist.
It has been proposed that there is a particular link between creativity and mental illness (e.g. bipolar disorder, whereas major depressive disorder appears to be significantly more common among playwrights, novelists, biographers, and artists). Association between mental illness and creativity first appeared in literature in the 1970s, but the idea of a link between "madness" and "genius" is much older, dating back at least to the time of Aristotle. In order to comprehend how the connection between “madness” and “genius” correlate, it is important to first understand that there are different types of geniuses: literary geniuses, creative geniuses, scholarly geniuses, and “all around” geniuses. Since there are many different categories, this means that individuals can completely excel in one subject and know an average, or below average, amount of information about others. The Ancient Greeks believed that creativity came from the gods, in particular the Muses (the mythical personifications of the arts and sciences, the nine daughters of Zeus). In the Aristotelian tradition, conversely, genius was viewed from a physiological standpoint, and it was believed that the same human quality was perhaps responsible for both extraordinary achievement and melancholy. Romantic writers had similar ideals, with Lord Byron having pleasantly expressed, "We of the craft are all crazy. Some are affected by gaiety, others by melancholy, but all are more or less touched".
Individuals with mental illness are said to display a capacity to see the world in a novel and original way; literally, to see things that others cannot.