3 Psychological Disorders Commonly Seen in Scientists
It’s no secret that mental health issues are hot topics in the media right now. Of course, people of all professions and all walks of life are susceptible to mental health issues. But there are studies done that suggest that people in different professions are more likely to have certain mental health issues than others (for example, creative people are more likely to suffer from manic depression and alcoholism/addiction). Some mental illnesses have been shown to link specifically to higher IQ, and can thus occur in higher densities among scientists.
Anxiety disorders are more common in those who have higher IQs because they tend to overanalyze their thoughts. Anxiety is caused by an excessive focus on major or minor aspects of life that causes a physical reaction in the body. Those people with higher IQs have higher mental capacity, but that gift comes with a higher likelihood to excessively worry. Additionally, those with higher IQs generally have more stressors to focus on, which can lead to more anxious thoughts. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Most counselors will offers a Q&A to help people identify if they might need to seek help for an anxiety disorder.
For many years, there have been thoughts that intelligence and bipolar might be linked, but the scientific evidence to support it was weak. However, a recent study has shown that students who have straight-As and higher grade point averages have an almost 4 times higher instance of bipolar disorder later on in life. Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of depression followed by periods of happiness, or in Bipolar II, mania (excessive happiness and impulsivity). It is thought that the link between intelligence and bipolar has something to do with the ability to quickly link ideas and processes, which causes a similar neurological reaction to those who are in the manic states of bipolar disorder.
Schizophrenia has sometimes been linked to high intelligence as well. The most famous case of this was portrayed in the movie A Beautiful Mind, which is the true-life story of mathematician John Nash. Essentially, Nash’s incredible IQ caused his brain to hallucinate and led him to believe he was working for the government; he later became highly paranoid and was institutionalized. This is a rare case, of course, but there has been evidence that high IQ and schizophrenia are linked – perhaps for genetic reasons, or (as with bipolar disorder) the heightened ability to process many stimuli. In an attempt to be fair and balanced, I also feel I must mention that there have been studies that show that schizophrenia is linked to a neurological and intellectual deficit and that it is more likely related to increased creativity rather than IQ.