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Are depressed people more intelligent than other people?

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Posted

Guys I have been thinking and I have been thinking that people with depression, from the people I have met, are very intelligent people but are depressed because they cannot cope with normal society because normal society doesn't have the level of intelligence depressed people have. Could this be true? Every depressed person I have met possesses a higher intelligence than the normal person in society. Could it be their mind has progressed pass the simple thoughts of a normal person therefore it is hard for them to socialize with normal society?

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Posted

I have wondered about this as well. Instead of depressed people being more intelligent, maybe intelligent people are at a higher risk of depression.

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Posted

I've thought the very same thing. I've though that I must have been given another gift, something that makes up for the fact that I've been so depressed and unhappy for so long. And I am smarter than the average bear. I'm no rocket scientist, but I do feel as though I've got something, either creative talent, or powers of observation, or whatever, that sets me apart.

I think depressed people just think things through more than other people. They have more time alone with their thoughts, so their ideas are a little better rationalized, a little more fleshed out. I don't think that this is really a sign of advanced intelligence.

So, in fact, my depression has given me the gift of thinking things through more thoroughly, and in the course of pondering whether I was more intelligent than most, I've come to the determination that I'm not more intelligent, but instead just think things through more thoroughly.

I think what you are talking about is a myth that depressed people tell themselves, something to make them feel better about themselves. The moody, depressed creative artist, also a myth. Sure I'd like to believe these things, but at this point I just want to be "normal". I'd like to have those problems for a while, instead of a brain that plays tricks on me.

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Posted

I would say that this is not so, unless "more intelligent" people are more inclined to "think themselves into *****" by developing more complex "negative perceptions" and therefore inclined to "stress themselves" more.

Having worked in mental hospitals, I've seen people from all walks of life and all levels of intelligence.

I would guess that people that are socioculturally disadvantaged are less inclined to recognize that they are depressed, less inclined to allow themselves to be "labeled" as depressed, and less inclined to access mental health services.

So I think that socioculturally disadvantaged people who are depressed are there, but just not visible for these reasons. There would be no reason for the incidence of depression to be any lower in that population. It's an equal-opportunity problem.

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Posted

This is a yea-nay observation regarding who is more intelligent. I belive that people with depression can be more intelligent than others because we tend to analyze more of our thoughts-even though sometimes our thoughts are irrational. There are exceptional intelligent and creative people who have suffered from mild to severe depression, such as Einstein and Vincent van Gough. However, there are also non-depressed people who are just as intelligent and have great artistic talents. The down side for most of us is that we have great difficulty in expressing our intelligence because depression stifles and takes away the energy to do so.

Just my two points of view. I feel that I'm intelligent. Of late, that intelligence does not always shines through. Like most of us, I have my ups and downs, too.

Sheepwoman :hearts:

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Posted (edited)

I honestly wouldn't even go there, man. Intelligence comes in so many different forms and on so many different levels, that it is just too much of a generalization to be right.

Just off of the top of my head I can think of:

Booksmarts....

Probably the "classical" definition of intelligence, someone who learns well from reading and does well with their grades in school. Does depression make someone booksmart? I really doubt it. Usually these people are high acheivers and do well in society, something depression usually doesn't help very much with.

Mathematicians....

Some people are literally geniuses with numbers. They can solve equations on the fly and can solve things much, much quicker than your average person. These people are the most amazing to me and we still haven't been able to figure out scientifically for sure what makes them so much more effective at this skill, but if any of these forms are something you are born with, I think it is this one. I have never heard of someone "becoming" a math genius at a later date, so I doubt that depression will make this happen either.

Philosophers....

I think this one is probably connected to depression. In simple terms what a philosopher does is "think about things," and when we are depressed and isolated we have a lot of time to do that. I should know, I have been isolated for the the past 7 years. Of course this doesn't mean depression causes philosophy, it just may be a product of the side-effects of depression.

Verbal/communicators....

Some people are very good communicaters and are good with words to the point of acheiving success. This can be in a workplace, politics, relationships, words go a long way. Depression if anything tends to isolate us as you said and usually depressed people don't make the best communicaters because we are too "in our heads" about things.

Artists....

I don't know about this one. I am a struggling artist right now and my depression has not made me good at it so far. I have had to work very hard to even get as far as I have. I honestly think the biggest factors of artistic intelligence come from two places, exposure to it when we are young and our brains are developing and drive/passion. If depression has done anything to help me with my art it has given me time to find my passions and hone my skills.

Competitive....

Some people have a very competitive mindset and are very effective when in a competitive environment. From what I have seen, depression hurts this kind of intelligence because winning usually takes a positive mindset and high self-esteem. Depressed people are usually more "down" about their skills, worth, effectiveness, and such. If you don't think that you are going to "win," you probably won't even try right? And if you do, the chances of it being a half-hearted attempt because "you couldn't do it good enough anyway" are pretty likely.

Money....

There are people out that can get and save money much more effectively than a lot of other people. Some people seem to just make all of the right business decisions and wind up pretty rich. I know there is a lot of luck involved here, but I think there is also a certain cunning that some people have for money that helps them get rich while the rest of us kind of sit around waiting for something to happen or get tricked into working a dead-end job. This seems to tie into the competitive mindset as well. In order to be good with money you have to pursue it, making the right decisions when to spend and when to save. Since my whole family is depressed and we all have pretty serious troubles with money, my experiences are that depression is not good for money smarts.

Do you see what I am saying? Intelligence in itself is so complicated that trying to generalize depression into this whole range of the human mind is not going to get the correct answer.

Edited by chaku

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Posted

I did a Google search using the terms "intelligence correlation depression", and actually didn't find much at all. What I did find, here:

http://mangans.blogspot.com/2006/01/iq-and-depression.html

was an article that suggests that more intelligent people are better able to cope with complex stress, and therefore less inclined to get depressed.

Could it be that some depressed people that happen to be intelligent "tell themselves" that it's because they're intelligent in order to make themselves feel better, even though there's no real evidence to support that?

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Posted

I think that depressed people tend to be more right-Brain intelligent...or, right brain intelligence gives one a better chance at being depressed. The more creative one is, ususally the more emotional they are. WHen you look at the vast list of creative people with depression, it's almost endless...so many have it.

I often don't feel I fit in in this world, I go out and there aren't too many people I can connect with in suburbia, I am driven nuts by the statis quo...so many things bother me, because I think about them too much. I remember watching an episode of the Simpsons where Homer found out he had a crayon stuck up his nose and was pushing into his brain for years which caused him to be stupid...when he had the crayon removed he was really smart. They showed him in a movie theatre watching a spoof of "The Runaway Bride". Everyone was laughing and Homer couldn't get why...he kept saying "this is so predictable" "this is so stupid" and everyone in the theatre was getting mad at him. That's how I feel a lot of the time about so many things. I can't enjoy a lot of things because I see through them. So often I wish I could just live, live everyday just to live instead of seeing into the deeper meaning all the time. Now, it dosen't mean that I don't enjoy silly comedies etc...but there are many, many (ooooh so many) things that I find stupid and can't understand why people give into them, why others can't see what I see. But, maybe if I was happy I wouldn't notice those things so much? Or is it those things which cause me to be depressed? I am not sure.

Misfit

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Posted

I would say two things-

First, show me the statistics.

Second, you could just as easily turn your intelligence and insight into coping skills for the parts of lfe that you are dissatisfied with.

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Posted

I've wondered if people who are depressed are more creative, but I don't think I've considered the 'more intelligent' theory.

I've also wondered if people who are depressed...and not with situational depression but a depression with a neurochemical component... have access to a part of the brain that others don't. Sort of like an undiscovered sixth sense ability. I briefly toyed with the idea when I realized how closely my moods are tied in with weather and other unknown factors (time of day? depressed people around me?)

Kay Jamieson (sp?) wrote a book on the link between bipolar illness and creativity called Touched by Fire. The original poster may want to check this out.

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Posted

Hmmmm...there have been many good points made here! It is tough to make a statement like that, because it includes too many broad categories. There are all different types of depression, and all different types of intelligence, like others have mentioned.

I don't know if this applies directly, but I've always felt that a person cannot experience true happiness without experiencing true sadness. Of course happiness and sadness are quite arbitrary terms...lets say lower end emotions and higher end emotions. Think of them as two ends on a continuum. I believe that the farther one can experience on one end, the farther they can experience on the other. Sooo...under this theory, "normal" people's range would be much smaller than that of a depressed person. That is why they don't think so much, and why they can get upset and be fine minutes later, or excited and then devastated in the same minute. Does that make sense? Because what they are feeling is not so far from the neutral middle point, it does not take as much work to get bacck there. Nor does it take that much time to get there. So it may seem as though they are able to handle themselves better, but it is because they are not truly experiencing as much as a human can. For example, how can a "normal" person really appreciate how good it feels to have someone they love in their arms, when they have never felt the sadness that comes from losing someone they love? I don't know if that makes sense. I know "normal" people do get upset, do fall in love, etc. but I feel like it is not as genuine or as real as one of us would feel.

Now you're probably saying 'well if this is true, then howcome I haven't felt extreme happiness yet?' but like I said, happiness and sadness are just arbitrary terms. Happiness could be replaced by appreciation, contentment, understanding, being able to relate to another person or people....does that make sense?

This is just a working theory that I've thought of before. I kind of just elaborated on it for the first time now, so I'm sure there's flaws...critiques welcome! I can see where there are some holes...but I'm no scientist, so cut me some slack. Hehe :)

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Posted

Harlequin, I don't know this for sure, but I think that maybe instead of being smarter, or even telling themselves that intelligence is the reason for their depression, it could also be a matter of honesty, too.

There are many ways to look at what the "most intelligent" response to any situation would be. Misfit's situation is one I think all of us depressed people have been in, we see so much negative garbage and it gets on our nerves. As an example, me being a musician for the latter portion of my childhood I got to watch everyone else listen to Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, Limp Bizkit, and other things that came across to me as being some of the most shallow, ******** crap that it would amaze me that someone could actually go to the store and buy it. I am not proud of how judgemental I was, but I would wind up thinking things like "what is wrong with these people?" or "Are they stupid?" I still slip into that now and then, watching some of the new music that comes out, it just makes me so mad.

But some would argue that the more intelligent way to act in that situation would be to just like it too, sure it may be dishonest, but it will let you be part of the crowd. It is much easier to make friends when you just do what they do. That kind of resistance creates problems in any social circle, and can extend to literally any part of your life, jobs, relationships, basically everything.

So perhaps by being more honest about things depressed people create a lot more problems, and that could be argued to be less intelligent.

I love my honesty though, :hearts: smart or not smart I will stick with it.

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Posted

I honestly wouldn't even go there, man. Intelligence comes in so many different forms and on so many different levels, that it is just too much of a generalization to be right.

I am leaning with Chaku on this one. Animals become depressed when they are kept from their natural inclinations and made to feel helpless. I think that is one of the factors that keeps many of us depressed, and if being intelligent makes others more inclined to exert control over us, the stressors would be higher for intelligent people, leading toward more depression.

When I look over the many many threads over the years here at DF, I see some who are clinically, long-term depressed for no other reason that brain chemistry. But I have seen a lot more people come here who have stressors from untenable living situations. They are depressed because they have no resources to change things that are really bad in their lives. There are a few who have plenty of money but just do not see how they could live with all the upheaval of making changes, but it is much more common that money is the big factor. Who would NOT be depressed if they lived with an addict in an unstable environment with lots of abuse, but they had no place else to go? Perhaps if they were less "intelligent," their abusers would not have to work so hard to keep them down, but a beaten down being of any intelligence level would still be deeply depressed from the helpless feeling that comes with inability to persue happiness, a supposed constitutional right.

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Posted

maybe not intelligent, but definitely more thoughtful imo

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Posted

this is a topic ive thought a lot about over the years..especially as an adolescent when I had not met anyone i could remotely even relate with. as others have stated, there are many different types of intelligence. Depressed individuals seem to be more sensitive and more aware of surroundings than others..and unfortunately to our detriment. Many of us naturally place ourselves in the shoes and perspectives of others..and have this innate ability to feel pain (lovely eh?)

very unscientific, but every genius i have ever met was 'off'. 'off' socially and/or emotionally. I remember one in particular..he couldnt even enjoy class..because he saw through the errs of the text. He had trouble coping in a life where so many things bothered him that didnt bother others (yay for self destruction >_<)

wow im rambling.. in the end.. brains of people who are depressed, who are extraordinary geniuses, or autistic..etc.. just work differently and science has yet to figure out all the consequences/ (ugh cant think of word...drives self crazy..stupid memory loss...****..i miss my brain) im gonna just take a break..i cant go on with this reply until i figure out this word) MANIFESTATIONS of these differences.. that took me nearly 10 minutes >_<

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Posted (edited)

I honestly have no idea, i doubt it. People generally tell me i'm stupid. On the other hand my average academic grade is an A. Universities love me, the general public tends to hate me.

Im book smart im not street smart. I see things differently to a lot of people. I dont fit in, and i suffer from social phobia as a result. Because of my social phobia and the fact that i sometimes feel isolated (lonely), that can sometimes play a role in my depression. No social network to fall back on when i need help on you see, generally i have to cope on my own becuase i dont always have anyone to turn to for support. Im a single parent and i cant work at this time, so im stuck at home all day aswell. That doesnt help.

Mind you im just weird full stop, regardless of how well i do at academics. These days, i tend to veer more towards creative pursuits than i do academics although i still have an interest in a variety of subjects. I find that creative pursuits give me more of an outlet for self expression than do academics. That helps me channel my emotions into something positive.

EQ may play a stronger role than IQ, although according to most tests my EQ is above average as is my IQ. (i do these tests for fun because i enjoy doing them). Then again, more often than not in most tests ive taken the right answers have been pretty easy to guess using basic common sense.

But just because i know what i should be doing, it doesnt always mean im going to do it! Its like hoovering, i know i have to get up and do it at somepoint, but on the other hand i might decide to procrastinate for hours on end instead.

Actually if anything id say my depression (other than being a chemical imbalance) is more closely linked to my idealistic nature. Im an idealist, a perfectionist and when i look outside i see s***.

Im also highly sensitive, oversensitive at times infact.

The realist in me knows that the real world is nothing like my ideals, but all the same, its still disappointing when you realise that, at times, reality really does bite. I used to say "depressives are not depressed because they are depressives, depressives are depressed because they see the world for what it is". Obviously i cant speak for all those with a mood disorder, but when i came up with that quote i was refering to myself.

These days i try and keep my strange illogical quotes more optimistic in nature (like the one on my sigline).

Add to that im a romantic thats not had much luck in love and voila, one depressed and incredibly lonesome soul crying out for something to fill the huge void it feels is consuming it, with something meaningful, if only it knew what that was.

Passion, it has something to do with passion (not nessacerily of a sexual nature), i need to find something i have passion for.

Creative pursuits i find come closer to filling that gap than academics did, as much as i love them; And chocolate icecream doesnt fill the gap at all (so ive discovered). Well ok it does for an hour and half or so, but my waist line is starting to complain a bit now, or rather my jeans are!

On the other hand it could be i dont fit in cause i insist on telling bog awful jokes. If i didnt find myself funny id stop.

So to sum up im a perfectionistic, oversensitive idealistic romantic thats prone to depression and social phobia with an above average IQ and EQ (according to the tests ive taken) so its no wonder im just plain weird then. Me thinks i should have been a poet or some such. Actually i had some poetry published once, actually three times, but i stopped writing years ago. Got a block, still got the block, had the block for years. It was awful poetry anyway.

Anyway, enough whinning, but depression may be linked to specific personality traits. Ive not looked into it.

On the other hand both my parents suffered with depression and anxiety, so maybe i just got a faulty gene or something.

Edited by Angelofshadows

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Posted

There are two types of data that can be applied to this question.

What we see here in this thread is "anecdotal" data, in which a very few people share their ideas about this.

But the only way a real answer to this question can be found is to look at the scientific data- like some sort of comparative-experimental data. I have looked for this on Google, and not found any either way. So I cannot know for sure.

In the absence of this data, I am forced to assume that depression is an equal-opportunity illness.

But the data also gets confounded by the interaction between the "stressor" and the individual. It's the individual's response to the stress, which is partly genetic and partly learned, which really determines who gets depressed, except for completely involutional depression- and I've only maybe met one of those in my 54 years of life.

Statistics. Show me the statistics, or ignore me.... :)

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Posted

I know people who suffer from depression... some I would class as intelligent, others I wouldn't!

Neatoboy

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Posted (edited)

Harlequin, you are never going to find accurate statistics on something like this. Whether or not someone seems smart or like a complete imbecile is usually more of a feeling you get based on your interpretation of their beliefs and the way they act. Sure there are things like IQ tests and such, but those are not accurate either. If you were to go to lets say Africa, and give one of our IQ tests to one of the primitive tribes there, I very much doubt that it would accurately reflect their intelligence. I am pretty sure those tests are fallible and not perfect just like the opinions here.

The people here are talking from their experiences because that is all they have to go on. Our opinions are just that, educated guesses. We all have our experiences that basically wind up being our own limited studies much like a scientific study would be. You really can't quantify intelligence factually, it always winds up being an opinion.

Edited by chaku

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Posted

Well, statistic would show women are at a greater risk than men for depression. However this is currently being debunked because the way men show/are tought to show certain feelings are different than women. And the warning flags are different for the sexes. The same could hold true for different types of people. There could be whole groups being missed who have depression, but their warnings signs are deemed "normal" I am one of those types. My behavior was deemd normal because of my profession/interrests. BUt when that wa taken away huge warning flags emerged. I doubt we will ever have a good break down by intelect/personality types if it is taken this long to figure out there are differences between the sexes. It would be very usefull because people of a certain type can be on the look out for warning signs.

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Posted (edited)

It's true that people with depression are often intelligent, but I think it's just that we're more in-tune with our environment and we think about things a lot. :bump:

Membrain :hearts:

Edited by membrain

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Posted

Depression and 'creative' intelligence are inextricably linked. Google 'musicians and depression' or 'writers with depression' or 'poets and depression' etc. There has not been one great artist who didn't suffer from depression.

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Posted

Guys I have been thinking and I have been thinking that people with depression, from the people I have met, are very intelligent people but are depressed because they cannot cope with normal society because normal society doesn't have the level of intelligence depressed people have. Could this be true? Every depressed person I have met possesses a higher intelligence than the normal person in society. Could it be their mind has progressed pass the simple thoughts of a normal person therefore it is hard for them to socialize with normal society?

Hey, thanks for making me smile for the first time today. :hearts: And I definitely do think that you might be on to something here. Hmm... :bump:

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Posted

You're probably not going to find stats on this sort of thing on google, they will be in scientific journals if they exist. Do they? I dunno, never looked them up when I was uni, had other things to do. It is as black and white as stats and as cut and dry as smart/stupid, depressed/happy...there are so many forms of intelligence and so many forms of depression.

I think that people who are creative tend to have a higher chance of becoming depressed. It's again the right brain intelligence. It's just what I have observed and read about..and many sociologists and psychologists believe that observational data is just as convincing as "true scientific data". Science doesn't always have the answers either.

I had a lactose intolerance test a few years back...I had eaten nothing that day, went in, drank a bunch of lactose then got violently ill and had to go to the hospital. I went to my doctor a week later and said "guess I am lactose intolerant eh?" she said..."well no, we don't really know you never finished the test"-o....k....just had the most violent reaction the lab had ever seen, my doc saw my in emergency, but because science didn't show it she didn't believe it. It was pretty clear...and still is everytime I have something with lactose in it, that I am lactose intolerant.

I can understand why you want real stats to prove things-and I think that is good-however I don't think we should dismiss observation either. There are many explanations to many questions...Maybe it is that depession is experianced differently for those who are intelligent and those who are not...but then I guess depression is different for each individual, so who knows. Maybe someone does need to do a real study on it...there probably is somewhere, but you would need to get a hold of academic journals.

This link shows some famous people (many highly intelligent) who have suffered from depression...This is where I see the link with artistic intelligence and depression.

http://mixednuts.net/depression-famous2.html

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Posted

I think depressed people think on a different level than others. I think since they are more in tuned with their feelings.. whether they verbalize it or not, they outwardly express it in creativity. I think their thoughts are on deeper matters. The undepressed seem more nieve in some areas. I think as someone said, they/we ponder about things.. things the average person would not think twice about. I wonder if, like a blind person whose other sences are stronger, depressed people, or people with syndromes, are stronger in other areas. Does that make sence? I think it's likely, atleast possible. I think I would just rather be the average nieve person than the worrisome depressed chic I am though. I'd give up my poetry, writing, and any other artistic ability I possess for a simplistic happy life.

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