You've heard the stories. Some of the most creative minds in history have clearly displayed patterns of mood disorders that could easily be described as bipolar disorder. There have even been stories of these same, very creative people being hospitalized for symptoms of bipolar disorder or even committing suicide.

Is there a natural connection between the widely divergent mood swings that is characteristic of bipolar disorder and the highly creative mind? Many experts would say yes. While many of these artistic people were not consistently creative, research has discovered that much of their best work during a hypomanic episode of their bipolar disorder.

It's during this phase of their bipolar disorder that they are most enthusiastic and inspired. During other phases, they slip into the depressive states where creativity is very difficult. In fact, it's during these periods that some of the most creative people have been hospitalized because of severe episodes depression that resembled those found in bipolar disorder. Yet, still other creative people were indeed able to work well during these periods. The famous artist Van Gogh, for example, painted some of his most remarkable work while in a sanitarium.

Science has now established a link between ADHD and creativity. Science has also established a link between bipolar disorder and creativity. Those with ADHD often are moody by their own admission. They experience, moreover, periods of high energy and enthusiasm that lasts for several days or even several weeks that are then abruptly followed by a lethargic state and the classic ADD "fog." This also perfectly describes episodes of bipolar disorder.

Additionally, many of the terms the person uses to describe himself in this state are similar to those used in explaining episodes of bipolar disorder. The artist declares he is "inspired" just as an individual with bipolar disorder would explain his hypomanic state. It's not unusual then to discover that some with ADD are misdiagnosed as possessing bipolar disorder. It's also true that sometimes those with bipolar disorder are incorrectly labeled as ADHD.

According to authors Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D., ADD can indeed resemble the bipolar disorder. In their book, Driven to Distraction, they say that this is due to the high energy level generated in both ADD and bipolar disorder.

However, they do add that if you look closely you can also distinguish the high energy of an individual with ADD and that of a manic episode of bipolar disorder. They explain that the average person could reproduce the energized state of an individual with ADD. It would be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible to simulate the energy level of a hypomanic episode of bipolar disorder.

Few of us without bipolar disorder could survive on days without sleep. Fewer of us without bipolar disorder would travel the globe on a moment's notice. And even fewer of us would spend our life savings on wild schemes if we did not have bipolar disorder.

According to these two doctors, "The manic individual [who is affected with bipolar disorder] is truly out of control. He cannot slow down. He does not just talk fast, he talks as if the words were being propelled from his mouth, a disconcerting symptom referred to as 'pressured speech.'"