One concern many people with bipolar disorder have is that the medication(s) will rob them of their creativity. For some who make their livelihood in the arts, this question extends further to: “Will I lose my authenticity?” or “Will the medication take away the thing that makes me viable as an artist?” Other specific concerns might center on the side effects of specific medications, tremor in a musician or painter could be a bad thing. Tardive dyskinesia (TD), a movement abnormality and potential side effect of antipsychotic medications in a dancer could end a career.
As with many of the questions in this book it comes down to a risk-benefit analysis. The goal is to have a treatment regimen (not just medications) that controls symptoms and decreases or prevents recurrence of mood episodes, without leaving the person feeling drugged-up and inauthentic. What many people who have bipolar disorder come to realize is that the medications, once adjusted to an effective maintenance level, allow them to think clearly enough to be both creative and productive. Patty Duke gives a vivid and very personal description of this phenomenon in her book A Brilliant Madness.