Why Intelligent People Experience More Mental and Physical Disorders

Most people believe that those who have high IQ’s enjoy an advantage in many different domains. It is predicted that they will attain higher educational levels, more enhance and better jobs, and most certainly a higher level of income. However, as it turns out, it seems that a higher IQ is can be associated with several mental and immunological afflictions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD and even asthma, allergies, and certain immune disorders. Why is this exactly? A band new report that was posted recently in the publication Intelligence has reviewed all the literature and assessed the triggers that could potentially underlie this link.

Study Outline

The study researchers sought to compare information and data obtained from 3,715 current members of the American Mensa Society (a group of those who scored within the top 2% of standard intelligent tests) to existing data obtained from national surveys for the purpose of examining the prevalence of certain disorders in people with high intelligence and comparing those to the normal population.

Study Results

The results of this exercise has indicated that highly intelligent individuals are about 20 percent more prone of being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 80 percent more prone of being diagnosed with ADHD, 83 percent more prone of being diagnosed with anxiety, and 182 percent more prone to developing at least a single mood disorder.

And when it considering physiological diseases, those with higher cognitive abilities are actually 213 percent more prone to suffer from environmental allergies, 108 percent more prone to suffer from asthma, and 84 percent more prone of having an autoimmune disease.

The scientists then appealed to the world of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) as they sought answers. PNI evaluates the way that chronic stress is accumulated in the form of a response to their environment influences how the brain communicates with the immune system. 

The researchers also noted that those who are highly intelligent have tendencies for “intellectual overexcitabilites” and also a hyper-reactivity of their central nervous system. On one hand, this would provide people with higher IQ’s a heightened awareness that would help their creative work. Actually, this field of cognitive behavior has recognized one element of those who are highly intelligent to be “a broader and deeper capacity to comprehend their surroundings.” 

The hyper-reactivity will also generally lead to deep depressions and eventually poor mental health and well-being. This has been observed particularly in occupations like novelist, poets, and people who have high verbal intelligence. The intense emotional response they are prone to have for life’s worries and rumination, both are factors which typically precede depression and other anxiety disorders. 

Psychological responses that are heightened will usually have a negative effect on immunity, claimed  the researchers in their final report. People who exhibit overexcitabilites generally have very strong reactions to what appears to be harmless external events. This reaction could eventually become chronic stress at low levels and start a very inappropriate immune response.

Whenever the body feels that there is danger (regardless of however real is it), it will begin a series of physiological reactions including a group of neurotransmitters, hormones, and signaling molecules. Whenever processes like these are activated chronically, they will alter both the body and the mind, and could very well lead to afflictions such as allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases.