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Are the intelligent more prone to depression?

Jordan~

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Existential crisis can develop into dysthymia and depression. Intelligent people are more likely to go through an existential crisis. So in that respect I suppose the intelligent have a vulnerability to depression; whether or not it's a significant enough vulnerability to make them more prone than everyone else, I'm not sure.

I didn't think myself into depression, but I think I did think myself into the mental state that made me vulnerable to depression - I'd philosophically eroded reality to the point that nothing seemed tangibly real and I felt that there was no point in doing anything, it was all meaningless, and life was just what you were forced to do while you were waiting to die.

Then along came something in which I could have unquestioning faith, unburdened by the uncomfortable revelations of reason, that gave my life meaning and purpose and made me feel that there was a point to it all. When it was withdrawn, the reason was gone, too, and I had nothing - hence depression.

As has been said, intelligence can mean a lot of different things, though. Honestly, I think it's more likely to be the case that people who are prone to depression are more likely to be intelligent, but the two aren't related. Many of the types most often described as 'smart' also have difficulty with emotion - either because they don't know how to handle it or they're extremely sensitive to it.

If you go with the idea that mental illness forms to escape a double bind - an inescapable situation in which no course of action is acceptable - by creating a state of mind in which absurdities are conceivable, conflicting positions can be held simultaneously, the ultimate escape seems desirable, etc., then you can imagine that introverts, rather than the intelligent, who are more likely to notice (or invent) a double bind during their introspection, are more prone to depression.

Here's a thought: 'Intelligence' usually means a particular mental 'gift', doesn't it? To have such a 'gift' one must have one function, in Myers-Briggs terms, on which one focuses intensely at the expense of the others. When that function isn't capable of dealing with something it leaves one crippled, with only the disproportionately less used and underdeveloped functions to depend on. For example, a very Ti-focused INTP experiencing an intense emotion that can't be rationalised, incapable of retreating from it into logic, has to resort to their scorned feeling function to deal with it, and being incapable of adequately processing it may become depressed.
 

C.Hecker88

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There are so many variables that are not being considered here. I'd like to write them here, but I can't seem to get them out of my mind. If I can, I'll post later.
 

Antediluvian

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I read somewhere that those with low IQs were 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide.
 

EyeSeeCold

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I read somewhere that those with low IQs were 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide.
Was that data based on the analysis of suicide cases, or the prominence of suicidal behavior in people with low IQ?
 

Puffy

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Ehh, I don't know on this one.

My Mum's a cleaner who only takes on jobs assigned by the local council that no one else will do. Largely, this is for places basically in catatonic disrepair. I've cleaned with her before in summers as it pays quite well. But yeah, living tips. Shit everywhere. It's overwhelmingly the abodes of depressives, alcoholics, etc, who have lost the motivation to do anything. And in frankness, they're not intelligent people. Largely anyway.

Depression runs through many in my family, curiously excluding myself. And both sides of the family aren't by any means dumb people, but I wouldn't say they're high IQ.

I used to think I'd had depression on a few occasions, but I don't really now. I've always had a basic drive that pulls me out of dark moments eventually.

I think high IQ might influence cynicism which in turn could be a negative mood factor contributing to depression. But I think depression is more a state of mind really.
 

Peripheral Visionary

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Bertrand Russell observed that the problem with the world is that smart people are full of doubts while the idiots are cocksure.

I am grotesquely paraphrasing, of course.

But people with confidence tend to be more optimistic, which tends to equate with happiness so the obverse could be true. If you are full of doubts, you may have a darker view of the world and thence be prone to depression.

On a slightly related note, there is a high correspondence between mathematic ability and schizophrenia. Also Asperger's.

Manic Depressives tend to be artists. This lends to the the stereotype of the solitary writer banging away on his Remington-Rand while Maker's Mark sits just out of range of the return carriage, numbing himself long enough to finish before the deadline, then showing up at the Nobel Prize presentation unshaven and looking like he slept in his suit.
 

Riggly

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I definitely agree - the intelligent mind needs feeding - makes perfect sense - if it's empty it'll eat itself!!
 

C.Hecker88

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I definitely agree - the intelligent mind needs feeding - makes perfect sense - if it's empty it'll eat itself!!

You put this simply, yet well.

:pigs:

Also, it seems that we have new emoticons.
 

jantling

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Semi related:

"Insanity is logic of an accurate mind overtaxed."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

Depression used to be called Melancholia and considered a mental illness.
Some still do.
It seems worth considering.

Three things that bother me about this post:

1. I have no idea what he (Holmes) was specifically talking about.
2. "Accurate" doesn't "intelligent".
3. Is a mental illness (such as depression if it is, I'm unclear on that.) the same as insanity?

I'm no help at all, sorry.

-Jant
 

Milo

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I would say intelligence that looks in the wrong direction causes depression. Usually the wrong direction is directed by fear in my experience. It is how you measure yourself in comparison with the world. It is the difference between high self-esteem and low self-esteem.

You are the imagination of yourself, so there's always a way to get ahead of this. I've found I can ignore pain by focusing only on certain things. Changing my awareness to awareness of strength allows me to be stronger, and when I am focusing on the pain, I experience more pain, and it limits my strength.

All around intelligence would realize it has nothing to lose. When one wants something and perceives they are not capable of getting it, then they experience cognitive dissonance which they experience in different ways depending on how they mentally cope with it.
 

FrostFern

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I think a combination of high intelligence and emotional sensitivity is more prone to depression. Also, intelligent people probably experience depression differently than less intelligent people. Intelligent people feel more ennui and vague dissatisfaction / anhedonia with their depression in addition to the low self-esteem issues. Less intelligent people just feel self-loathing when depressed. Feeling depressed even without low self-esteem is more associated with intelligence IMO.
 

FrostFern

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I would say intelligence that looks in the wrong direction causes depression. Usually the wrong direction is directed by fear in my experience. It is how you measure yourself in comparison with the world. It is the difference between high self-esteem and low self-esteem.

You are the imagination of yourself, so there's always a way to get ahead of this. I've found I can ignore pain by focusing only on certain things. Changing my awareness to awareness of strength allows me to be stronger, and when I am focusing on the pain, I experience more pain, and it limits my strength.

All around intelligence would realize it has nothing to lose. When one wants something and perceives they are not capable of getting it, then they experience cognitive dissonance which they experience in different ways depending on how they mentally cope with it.

In some cases self-esteem isn't the main issue necessarily, as I already pointed out. Sometimes it is existential and it is brought on by a chemical imbalance. It can also be brought on by a vicious circle of stagnation in life and boredom, leading to lack of motivation, leading to yet more stagnation. It is more complicated than a shallow egotistical analysis that would say depression is nothing more than self-pity.

I think too much focus on the "self" is modern cultural disease that causes depression as well as narcissism in our societies. All this focus on personal strength and individual striving has created a spiritual vacuum. It's shallowness makes people who don't think in those terms depressed.
 

Milo

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRI8mB0DqnA

Perceived self and nutritional health are both important. But when one has full awareness of self that he/she can control it much more than they've realized, it can be very powerful.
 

Valentas

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I cannot count how many times I have to tell people this: depression is experienced when you start to think nonsense due to lack of activities...

WW2 veterans experienced tons of violence and brutality and only one thing helped them: work. That allows the person to forget, stop thinking about hardships and actually do something productive which enrich their life. Do you know that depression rates has soared after the wars? My grandmother is still alive and healthy and told me that almost no one had TIME to be depressed. The problem is in laziness which is growing and growing in all the world when we move less, experience stress caused by all sorts of interactions with other stressed people and simply don't do anything productive after work. A lot of people come home, sit and watch TV.

My grandmother was banished to Siberia like many more people in my country.(I live in Eastern Europe). They had little food, lived in barracks pierced by cold winds and temperature almost always was less than -20 degrees below. What she said then was astonishing: despite the hardships, no one suffered from depression. Everyone worked, moved to keep warm, have something to eat in the evening, they even built houses with hammers and simple saws.

I think one thing you can learn from this is this: if you think your life sucks, then remember my paragraph above. You have more than you imagine yet feel depressed. When life sucks for me, I always remember people who were in so so worse circumstances and all the sadness evaporates.
 

HDINTP

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No.

Not clinical depression, at least. Thought-ridden dysthymia, perhaps.

No studies I know of support that IQ and depression are even correlated. That said:

With much wisdom comes much pain (to paraphrase Solomon, I believe).

Ignorance is bliss. (Anyone who's been around those with IQs from 40-70 knows they are generally a pretty happy group.)

So if you go intuitive, you know there's something to it.

That said IQ has little to zero to do with intelligence.
 

Milo

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I cannot count how many times I have to tell people this: depression is experienced when you start to think nonsense due to lack of activities...

WW2 veterans experienced tons of violence and brutality and only one thing helped them: work. That allows the person to forget, stop thinking about hardships and actually do something productive which enrich their life. Do you know that depression rates has soared after the wars? My grandmother is still alive and healthy and told me that almost no one had TIME to be depressed. The problem is in laziness which is growing and growing in all the world when we move less, experience stress caused by all sorts of interactions with other stressed people and simply don't do anything productive after work. A lot of people come home, sit and watch TV.

My grandmother was banished to Siberia like many more people in my country.(I live in Eastern Europe). They had little food, lived in barracks pierced by cold winds and temperature almost always was less than -20 degrees below. What she said then was astonishing: despite the hardships, no one suffered from depression. Everyone worked, moved to keep warm, have something to eat in the evening, they even built houses with hammers and simple saws.

I think one thing you can learn from this is this: if you think your life sucks, then remember my paragraph above. You have more than you imagine yet feel depressed. When life sucks for me, I always remember people who were in so so worse circumstances and all the sadness evaporates.

^I can't believe I overlooked this. Of course! *Claps and cheers*
 

Duxwing

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I cannot count how many times I have to tell people this: depression is experienced when you start to think nonsense due to lack of activities...

WW2 veterans experienced tons of violence and brutality and only one thing helped them: work. That allows the person to forget, stop thinking about hardships and actually do something productive which enrich their life. Do you know that depression rates has soared after the wars? My grandmother is still alive and healthy and told me that almost no one had TIME to be depressed. The problem is in laziness which is growing and growing in all the world when we move less, experience stress caused by all sorts of interactions with other stressed people and simply don't do anything productive after work. A lot of people come home, sit and watch TV.

My grandmother was banished to Siberia like many more people in my country.(I live in Eastern Europe). They had little food, lived in barracks pierced by cold winds and temperature almost always was less than -20 degrees below. What she said then was astonishing: despite the hardships, no one suffered from depression. Everyone worked, moved to keep warm, have something to eat in the evening, they even built houses with hammers and simple saws.

I think one thing you can learn from this is this: if you think your life sucks, then remember my paragraph above. You have more than you imagine yet feel depressed. When life sucks for me, I always remember people who were in so so worse circumstances and all the sadness evaporates.

An appeal to greater problems is actually a logical fallacy, and it's emotionally unhealthy as far as I know: it prevents you from dealing with your problems by distracting you with larger ones that you can't do much to solve. The greater takeaway from your grandmother's experience would be that behavioral activation in the treatment of depression can work.

-Duxwing
 

Milo

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An appeal to greater problems is actually a logical fallacy, and it's emotionally unhealthy as far as I know: it prevents you from dealing with your problems by distracting you with larger ones that you can't do much to solve. The greater takeaway from your grandmother's experience would be that behavioral activation in the treatment of depression can work.

-Duxwing

I suppose there is a sort of context to this working. For me it works, otherwise I feel like I'm just wasting away--but I could do literally anything to get me out of it. I'm easily entertained. :p
 

Minimalist

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The more time one spends in their own mind, the higher the chance that their mind will be given the opportunity to think negatively if we define negativity here as producing a depressive state of mind. The more intuitive one is, the more likely one is to see connections and meaning behind events where there may or may not exist meaning. The more perceiving one is, the less rigid one is with their preconceived belief systems and therefore the less of a filter one has against negativity. The more emotional one is, the more powerful is the subjective and expressive experience of emotions, including the negative. I would propose that the intp and infp types are more prone to depression produced from within the confines of their own minds while extroverts are more prone to environmentally triggered depression. Perhaps my thoughts are not completely organized here, but I would surmise that intelligence does not tell the whole story.
 

WALKYRIA

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I don't think so... but theyre might be correlation(and maybe a lil causation). Since Depression stems from false beliefs/ dysfunctionnal beliefs. one can implie that INTP's having Ti and also being intelligent group might be more prone to be depressed. Since we second guess ourselves all the TIme.
But maybe, it's just that introverted people(who also tend to be more intelligent) are more prone to have dysfunctionnal beliefs, and thus being more depressed.

People who think a lot or who are socially isolated tend to be more depressed. So we might decently say that extroverted people are less prone to second guess themselves and thus to be depressed and more prone to seek help.

Thus I think It's more of the introversion thing more than the intelligence.

BECK's cognitive theory of depression:

http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/allen.html
 

Minimalist

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I don't think so... but t correlation(and maybe a lil causation). Since Depression stems from false beliefs/ dysfunctionnal beliefs. one can implie that INTP's having Ti and also being intelligent group might one to be depressed. Since we second guess ourselves all the TIme.
But maybe, it's just that introverted people(who also tend to be more intelligent) are more prone to have dysfunctionnal beliefs, and thus being more depressed.

People who think a lot or who are socially isolated tend to be more depressed. So we might decently say that extroverted people are less prone to second guess themselves and thus to be depressed and more prone to seek help.

Thus I think It's more of the introversion thing more than the intelligence.

BECK's cognitive theory of depression:

http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/allen.html

Precisely what I meant, lol: Introversion. Do you also not have to form negative cognitions? I would also argue that beliefs are either absorbed from without or created from within. Creation suggests intuition.
 

Starswirl

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I cannot count how many times I have to tell people this: depression is experienced when you start to think nonsense due to lack of activities...

WW2 veterans experienced tons of violence and brutality and only one thing helped them: work. That allows the person to forget, stop thinking about hardships and actually do something productive which enrich their life. Do you know that depression rates has soared after the wars? My grandmother is still alive and healthy and told me that almost no one had TIME to be depressed. The problem is in laziness which is growing and growing in all the world when we move less, experience stress caused by all sorts of interactions with other stressed people and simply don't do anything productive after work. A lot of people come home, sit and watch TV.

My grandmother was banished to Siberia like many more people in my country.(I live in Eastern Europe). They had little food, lived in barracks pierced by cold winds and temperature almost always was less than -20 degrees below. What she said then was astonishing: despite the hardships, no one suffered from depression. Everyone worked, moved to keep warm, have something to eat in the evening, they even built houses with hammers and simple saws.

I think one thing you can learn from this is this: if you think your life sucks, then remember my paragraph above. You have more than you imagine yet feel depressed. When life sucks for me, I always remember people who were in so so worse circumstances and all the sadness evaporates.

Yes, in a way you're right. But you shouldn't think that our concerns over emotional matters due to a lack of physical suffering is a bad thing. When survival is at stake, the mind doesn't care much about emotional problems. It's called the "Hierarchy of Needs".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs
 

Minicool

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Maybe is because intelligent open eye so they can see the real world. So people that are in deep depression is people that see the truth of a world based of money and propaganda...
But when you knowing to much infomation and know too much thing you can't handle so some people suicide.

Im sure Is again a Illuminati plan
 

Duxwing

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Maybe is because intelligent open eye so they can see the real world. So people that are in deep depression is people that see the truth of a world based of money and propaganda...
But when you knowing to much infomation and know too much thing you can't handle so some people suicide.

Im sure Is again a Illuminati plan

While the influence of money and propaganda on politics on foreign policy is regrettable (I presume that you're not saying that money and propaganda explain every human action) politics and foreign policy do not comprise the entirety of human existence. People consider more than money when choosing their careers, spouses, or houses, and almost invisible undercurrents of unprompted emotion belie most political movements. So while despair might be tempting, don't fall into it.

-Duxwing
 

TimeAsylums

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Looking for a title of 'more intelligent/high iq linked to more depression' on PsychologyToday, because I have seen it before, but for now here's some that are....close:

More creative = more depressed

I almost had a total breakdown. This was largely because my gifts for writing and dancing had been relentlessly ignored and squashed for decades by a well-meaning but treacherous educational and social system. It almost killed me.
our openness to new experiences, tolerance for ambiguity, and the way we approach life enables us to perceive things in a fresh and novel way. Less creative types “quickly respond to situations based on what they have been told by people in authority”, while creatives live in a more fluid and nebulous (read: incredibly stressful) world.
creatives experience higher rates of mood disorders than the general population, the extremes of highs and lows tend to be brief, balanced by long periods of normal affect

I'm sure most of you can relate to this one:
For this reason some writers, myself included, organize their lives in order to be isolated from human contact for long blocks of time.

two more links:


More intelligent = more alcohol

more intelligent = more drugs

As I said, I can't find the exact words "more intelligent = more depressed" but those get 'close.'

You can make your own assumptions or theories on type relating.
 

Artsu Tharaz

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Yeah, I'd say so.

I bet you're happy all the time.
 

Abe

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They do say ignorance is bliss.
But in all honesty I would say it's overthinking that makes you depressed, and most of the time that goes hand in hand with intelligence. Take my INTJ boyfriend for example. He is insanely smart. I'm talking like in the 140s as far as IQs go. As consequence, he thinks 25/8 and is clinically depressed.

But that's just one example
 
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Perhaps because they are more likely to obsess about solving problems that they do not yet have the solutions for or method of finding the solution, but still keep going through the problem over and over again in their minds. These thought processes come with their associated negative emotions and they fall into depression. :facepalm:
 

just george

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I think that high IQ people are more prone to depression due to a lack of self actualization, but not more prone overall.

IMO our society is becoming less egalitarian than it once was, which is trapping a lot of smart people into a life that they don't want. First you get lumped with huge student debt, then you enter a corporate/work world which is getting more corrupt by the day, then you have your freedoms being limited all over the place, and so you start to think "this sucks what's the point".
 

maito

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When I was first diagnosis the psychologist told me "if you weren't depressed, you would have done better in your IQ test", so maybe there is a relation between them but inversely.
 

TheScornedReflex

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I find myself going through short episodes of depression. It comes and goes with my thoughts. Over thinking shit definitely can lead to it. Then I binge on drugs and alcohol. One nice loop to be stuck in, eh?

:storks:
 

QuickTwist

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