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The Cost Of Creativity: Bipolar Disorder and the Stars -- Stars Suffer the Ravages of Bipolar Disorder

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ABC News Medical Unit

The stereotype of the tortured artist shows up often in popular culture: a frazzle-haired composer pacing about his room, a troubled starlet, a crazed novelist with a bad case of writer's block.

Along with that stereotype comes an assumption -- that the hyper highs and crushing lows that we witness in some of our celebrities is a sign of bipolar disorder.

In fact, it's rumored that many of the notable artists in history -- including Beethoven, Lord Byron and Charles Dickens -- suffered from the disorder.

"There is such a thing known as artistic temperament," said Dr. Igor Galynker, director of The Family Center for Bipolar Disorder at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and professor of clinical of psychiatry Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "And it's kind of conducive to creativity."

So might there be a bipolar "epidemic" among artists?

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