Are intelligent people more likely to suffer from depression?
Intelligent People are More Susceptible to Depression
For centuries famous artists, writers, and thinkers have been plagued with mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia (Mientka, 2014). Pediaitakis (2014) claimed that a person’s temperament might contribute to how susceptible people are to mental illness. Individuals who have a small variation in their personality (traits) tend to be more flexible and resilient, according to Pediatiakis. On the other hand, persons who have a significant difference in traits are more prone to develop major mental disorders. These people are often considered more self-centered and aloof; they tend to think about the world – not feel it. Pediaitakis asserted that they would be left feeling an inner void. Occasionally, these individuals will experience extreme depression and may resort to suicide or substance abuse. The death of Robin Williams serves as an example.
Webb found that gifted and talented people are more likely to experience what he called existential depression. This type of depression arises when people examine issues of existence such as freedom, isolation, death, and meaninglessness. Webb found that highly intelligent people tend to be idealists. However, they also notice that the world is not as ideal as it could be. The feelings of disappointment and frustration they feel are intense. If they try to share their thoughts, they are often ignored or experience hostility. A sense of isolation sets in, and eventually anger. That anger can spiral into depression.
Whatever the cause, depression is serious. Webb states that helping people realize that they are not alone will help them overcome their depression. Encourage them to have hope. Woody Allen once said, “If you face reality too much, it kills you.”
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Mientka, M. (2014, Feb. 24). Why Smarter People Are More Likely To Be Mentally Ill. Medical
Daily. Retrieved from
Pediaditakis, N. (2014, Sept. 24). The Associations Between Major Mental Disorder and
Webb, J. (n.d.) Existential depression in gifted individuals. Davidson Institute. Retrieved from