Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Music of Bipolar Disorder

Version 1 : Received: 26 March 2017 / Approved: 27 March 2017 / Online: 27 March 2017 (10:45:03 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Angeler, D.G. Analogies between Heavy Metal Music and the Symptoms of Mental Illness. Challenges 2018, 9, 18. Angeler, D.G. Analogies between Heavy Metal Music and the Symptoms of Mental Illness. Challenges 2018, 9, 18.


1) Background: Bipolar or manic-depressive disorder is a malign mental disease that frequently faces social stigma. Educational and thinking models are needed to increase people’s awareness and understanding of the disorder. The arts have potential to achieve this goal. 2) Methods: This paper builds on the recent use of heavy metal music as a thinking and education model. It emphasizes the artistic component of heavy metal and its potential to characterize the symptomatology during the episodes of (hypo)mania and depression and the recurrence of these episodes. Heavy metal music has diversified into subgenres that become allegorical to both the symptoms of episodes and the recurrence of bipolar cycles. 3) Results: Examples of songs are given that mirror distinct facets of the disorder. 4) Conclusion: Although the links drawn between art (music) and science (psychiatry) are inherently subjective, such connections might be used to trigger a learning process, facilitate judgment and decision-making, and induce affective reactions and memory formation in the listener. The approach may facilitate collaborative efforts and serve healthcare professionals and educators as a communication tool to aid the public’s comprehension of the disease and an associated social paradox: On one hand, bipolar disorder incurs substantial costs to society. On the other hand, it benefits from the creative artistic and scientific endeavors of bipolar individuals from which cultural and political gains may ensue.


auditory arts; psychiatry; heavy metal music; mental disorder; bipolar; education; awareness


Arts and Humanities, Music

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