For some people, brilliance may come with a steep price - debilitating depression, hopelessness and gloom. But when individuals suffering from bipolar disorder are not in a depressive mood, they are penning a novel or painting or doing a number of other things that are usually just brilliant.

Suspectted famous sufferers of the disorder include names like Sir Isaac Newton, Vincent van Gogh and Winston Churchill among others. These geniuses had what the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests as a touch of madness.

"Bipolar is predominantly a mood disorder". MacCabe adds that a person suffering from such a disorder "has periods of very low moods, depression, and other periods of what we call mania," said King's College London's Psychiatry expert James MacCabe, according to The Star.

Bipolar Disorder: Evolutionary Advantage

An evolutionary biologist from the University of Michigan says psychiatrists "don't yet look for the selective advantages of genes that predispose to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder".

Randolph Nesse MD believes that selective anxiety in cave people helped them stay away from predators. Staying away from these predators long enough enabled these individuals to pass on the gene.

The keyword according to Health Central is "tradeoff."

Famous People With Bipolar Disorder

Vincent van Gogh

The painter Vincent van Gogh is known today for many of his works - the most popular being "The Starry Night." He is described as eccentric and moody and is believed to have bipolar disorder. According to Everyday Health, the American Journal of Psychiatry believes that the artist "had earlier suffered two distinct episodes of reactive depression" indicating that there are "bipolar aspects to his history."

Virginia Woolf

English novelist Virginia Woolf is known for her novels "To The Lighthouse" and "Mrs Dalloway". She suffered from a series of breakdowns and mood swings. It is said that Woolf had bipolar disorder.

Ludwig van Beethoven

In 1827, Beethoven died of liver failure. Historical records say that the composer died by self-medicating with alcohol for decades.

Beethoven's "high" during a manic episode was known among his friends, and it is said that the composer would be able to finish a number of compositions at once. During his down periods, however, he would contemplate suicide but it is during these periods where he wrote his most celebrated compositions.