Four Reasons Why Highly Intelligent Individuals are Prone to Depression

A man that seemed frustrated with what he is reading


Being smarter than the average society does has its advantage. It’s more likely individuals with higher IQs have a better chance at greater success in education, career, and thus, wealth, but there’s a downside to it that people tend to overlook. 


In a study of one of the smartest group of people in the world, MENSA, they found that more than 20% of them suffers from a mood disorder such as depression (“Why Are Intelligent People More Prone to Mental Illness?”, 2022)

Here are four reasons why individuals with higher IQs tend to be depressed. 

Number 1, Individuals with higher IQs tend to overthink and analyze.  

Highly intelligent people have intellectual and psychologicaloverexcitabilities (Karpinski, Kinase Kolb, Tetreault & Borowski, 2018). Simply put, they haveexcessive inner thoughts (Bainbridge, 2022).And with more thoughts processing through their mind, they tend to overanalyze and over-worry about things.  

Things an average person wouldn’t dwell on, such as philosophical questions and, thus, the saying, ‘ignorance is bliss.’

Without proper social support, they end up in an endless tunnel of questions and negative thoughts that could lead up to anxiety, helplessness, and depression (Seltzer, 2022).

Number 2, Individuals with higher IQs set too high an expectation of themselves.

Individuals with higher IQs realize the potential and abilities they have. And with that, they also expect a lot from themselves (Seltzer, 2022). They are rather hard on themselves and have difficulties accepting and being satisfied with their achievements (Belludi, 2022). 

They end up falling into a cycle of disappointment when they can’t achieve the standard they have set.

Number 3, Individuals with higher IQs are accustomed to easy success.

Individuals with higher IQs thrive in school. They grew up accustomed to easy success, as most schools’ grading system relies on concept and theory. 

However, success, in reality, is not singly reliant on intelligence. It’s a mix of intelligence, skills, practicality, and creativity. As they grow up having it easy in life, they lack perseverance, which is vital in the long term (Seltzer, 2022).  

Number 4, Individuals with higher IQs have difficulties making and maintaining friends. 

Individuals with higher IQs can be easily mistaken as being arrogant with their knowledge. Some may find it challenging to be good friends when they are not in the same league as them (Seltzer, 2022). 

Highly intelligent individuals may feel frustrated when others can’t understand what they are trying to convey despite repeating and even dumbing it down. Communications are difficult as both sides are not in sync, and they are not able to understand each other well. 

A study of children with high IQs in Seattle revealed that children with higher IQs tend to be friends with older kids and agreed that being smart made it hard for them to make friends of their own age (Janos, Marwood & Robinson, 1985). 

Conclusion/Final Thoughts

It’s easy to assume that those born with higher intelligence will always have it easy in life, but the reality is far from it. 

If you are a highly intelligent person yourself and struggle with these, reach out to a trusted friend or professional help. It’s not easy being different from the average society. 


[Include citations in APA format here] 

Bainbridge, C. (2022). What Does Intellectual Overexcitability Mean for Your Child?. Retrieved 24 July 2022, from,What%20Is%20Intellectual%20Overexcitability%3F,and%20a%20quest%20for%20understanding.

Belludi, N. (2022). Smart Folks are Most Susceptible to Overanalyzing and Overthinking – Right Attitudes. Retrieved 24 July 2022, from

Janos, P., Marwood, K., & Robinson, N. (1985). Friendship patterns in highly intelligent children. Roeper Review, 8(1), 46-49. doi: 10.1080/02783198509552929

Karpinski, R., Kinase Kolb, A., Tetreault, N., & Borowski, T. (2018). High intelligence: A risk factor for psychological and physiological overexcitabilities. Intelligence, 66, 8-23. doi: 10.1016/j.intell.2017.09.001

Seltzer, L. (2022). 13 Reasons Why a High IQ Can Make You Less Happy. Retrieved 24 July 2022, from

Why Are Intelligent People More Prone to Mental Illness?. (2022). Retrieved 24 July 2022, from,to%20more%20anxiety%20and%20depression.

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