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    #160585 - 06/19/13 01:40 PM Comorbidity between Giftedness and Mental Illness?
    QT3.1414 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/09/13
    Posts: 63
    I am a PG 23 year old who can't help but question if there is any relationship of statistical significance between depression (and other mental illnesses like Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, for instance) and extremely high intelligence (i.e. giftedness).

    What do you all think? Do any of you have experience with this and know how to get a handle on it?


    I am really hoping to get some answers; I know I am suffering a lot from mental afflictions and I always have. I don't want to feel alone in this anymore.

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    #160586 - 06/19/13 01:45 PM Re: Comorbidity between Giftedness and Mental Illness? [Re: QT3.1414]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2612
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: QT3.1414
    I am a PG 23 year old who can't help but question if there is any relationship of statistical significance between depression (and other mental illnesses like Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, for instance) and extremely high intelligence (i.e. giftedness).

    What do you all think? Do any of you have experience with this and know how to get a handle on it?

    I am really hoping to get some answers; I know I am suffering a lot from mental afflictions and I always have. I don't want to feel alone in this anymore.

    I am sorry to hear of your afflictions, but whether there is a correlation between giftedness and mental illness in general is a separate question from what kind of help you need.

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    #160590 - 06/19/13 02:16 PM Re: Comorbidity between Giftedness and Mental Illness? [Re: QT3.1414]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: QT3.1414
    What do you all think? Do any of you have experience with this and know how to get a handle on it?

    I am really hoping to get some answers; I know I am suffering a lot from mental afflictions and I always have. I don't want to feel alone in this anymore.


    Different mental afflictions require different things to "get a handle on".

    For instance, schizophrenia generally requires anti-psychotic medication, whereas severe depression may be helped by ECT treatments.

    My wife has a good friend with bipolar disorder who apparently wants to try to deal with it through distance running (exercise), rather than medication. I'm not seeing how that's a good idea, since I've never seen bipolar disorder controlled without medications.

    You are asking a medical/psychological question here, which is why Bostonian gave the reply he gave.

    I don't know of any "gifted/mental health" forums or support groups, but then I'm generally professionally dealing with the bottom portion of the IQ distribution, so it's not something that I would look for.

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    #160594 - 06/19/13 03:03 PM Re: Comorbidity between Giftedness and Mental Illness? [Re: QT3.1414]
    onepie Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/28/13
    Posts: 10
    I have wondered this myself sometimes. I don't know the answer to your question exactly. But from what I've read, I believe that gifted people are less likely to seek treatment for their mental health issues. This is because they are more likely to continue to function successfully in their jobs and public settings. They are better able to cope with the symptoms of mental illness, but the underlying issues and inner suffering go untreated.

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    #160596 - 06/19/13 03:26 PM Re: Comorbidity between Giftedness and Mental Illness? [Re: QT3.1414]
    CCN Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/25/12
    Posts: 978
    Loc: BC, Canada
    A friend of mine's husband who is gifted suffered from Bi-polar several years ago and was successfully treated with medication. He no longer needs it and has stabilized very well.

    I think there could be a correlation, but whether it's due to extremes of excitability or some kind of cognitive reciprocity I have no idea. I myself am HG and have always been prone to emotional intensity as well as OCD and anxiety like behaviours.

    I look at it this way. What is giftedness on a neurological level? More neurons firing? So if you have all that extra wiring hooked up, you won't just be "typically" sad, you'll be REALLY sad. The same can be said for any emotion: fear, anger, joy, etc. The more circuits there are firing, the bigger the emotion.

    I remember DD10 having an extreme meltdown when she was about 4 over something that would not provoke such a reaction in a typical kid, and DH just couldn't wrap his head around it. I tried to explain "it's because she's smart" ...he got really annoyed (not being gifted himself and having any frame of reference to judge from).

    sigh.

    Anyway, know that you're not alone. This is an intense road. If your feelings and behaviours are extreme enough to interfere with your life and possibly cause you or someone else danger, then you should seek some help (like my friend's husband). On the other hand, if you're just intense and feel ostracized and alone because of it, not to worry, because you're not alone smile


    Edited by CCN (06/19/13 03:31 PM)

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    #160597 - 06/19/13 04:23 PM Re: Comorbidity between Giftedness and Mental Illness? [Re: QT3.1414]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Here's a national spelling bee champion with bipolar disorder (who I know personally, which is why I know this).

    "Nevertheless, it took Pennington nine years to get his postgraduate degrees at the University of California-Berkeley. During that period, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which he believes may have prolonged his academic quest. "That was one thing I didn't even know about myself when I was in the National Spelling Bee," he says. "I'm generally quite open about it. It shows that many people with bipolar disorder are high functioning professional members of society. I do all the things I need to do to keep it in check. I keep healthy, take the right medicines and try to live right. I guess we all have our crosses to bear, everybody's got their 'something.'"

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1624100_1624098_1623359,00.html #ixzz2WhvItcHR

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    #160598 - 06/19/13 04:38 PM Re: Comorbidity between Giftedness and Mental Illness? [Re: QT3.1414]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    There are correlation studies out there with IQ and a variety of mental health disorders. But you should be aware as you go looking at those things that definitions for "schizophrenia" and "bipolar" and "depression" were very, VERY different fifty years ago, and that is when many of those studies were completed.

    They did find, interestingly, that schizophrenia and affective disorders were considerably more common in gifted persons-- and that the bell curve of cognitive ability basically looked very much as though it correlated to a linear probability map that showed increasing incidence as one went to the right on the cognitive ability distribution.

    There are two important caveats about those studies in addition to the DSM-shifting-definitions one that I listed above:

    a) there is little question in MY mind that this was an era in which many researchers in the field were probably biased toward finding something when they were looking for those effects. Pay very close attention to sampling methodology. Terman's group does NOT show this effect, as I recall.

    b) not all mental health disorders are created equal there, but remember that affective disorders in general terms are quite common among the general population anyway. So saying that 40% of HG+ persons will have one of those disorders in their lifetime.... meh... maybe that is statistically significant and maybe it's just not a large enough sample size... because recall, too, that you're considering a TINY fraction of the general population-- unless your sample is hundreds of THOSE individuals, errors are likely to be large.

    The effect IS striking enough, however, that everyone in terminal-degree-granting institutions is well aware of it. The rate of psychosis among my graduate department seems to have been about 8-10% over a period of some 15 years that I'm aware of. Pretty sure that incidence is nowhere NEAR that in the general population, though I don't know exactly what it is. Most of those people experienced psychotic breaks as a result of apparent schizoaffective disorders. This is one of those anecdotal things that 'everyone knows' who deals with large numbers of HG/HG+ people, but few studies with good design have ever been done on that cohort to tease apart just HOW real the effect actually is.

    I'm also with Jon here-- I've seen a lot of bipolar up close and personal... let's just say very personal... and medication is the only thing that works to control it. Period. It might be fine to dabble a bit with milder presentations, but for those people that are BP-I, just... no. I watched the smartest person I've ever personally known destroy everything-- repeatedly, over a period of decades-- trying.

    Also be aware that many mental health disorders are the result of epigenetic/genetic factors. So find out the scoop in your extended family. That can really help when you're trying to find out what issues to explore with a professional's help.

    It's good to get help and develop better coping skills. I'm VERY glad that having a mental illness is losing it's fearful stigma. smile





    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #160599 - 06/19/13 04:47 PM Re: Comorbidity between Giftedness and Mental Illness? [Re: QT3.1414]
    La Texican Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    Here's a link to the Davidson database list of articles of articles about psychological issues in profoundly gifted asolescents, including succesfully completed suicide, existential depression, and articles from James Webb who wrote the popular book, "The misdiagnosis and dual diagnosis" guide book.
    http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/browse_articles_188.aspx

    I have read here that people seek the services of gifted specialist psychiatrists like Dr. Amand because psychological problems have different needs in gifted than non-gifted people. I've seen him talked about for little kids who have ADHD plus high giftedness. I can't tell if that's only for learning disorders or all other problems, or if his services extend past school aged kids.
    http://www.amendpsych.com/

    I don't know if this is helpful, but at your age if you're not doing anything else you could go to the college and take psycology classes and learn all about it. The college students are likely to be gifted and the professor moreso. You can learn as much as you can there as anywhere else. Maybe you'll learn something nobody else learned yet about 2e (which they call twice exceptional-having two labels, giftedness plus something else.) You'll be finding answers and be less alone. I think twenty-one's too old for job corp and you may not want to join the army to get a scholarship, but there are pell grants to help you and I think they help pay for your books if you ask the college counselor. It's worth asking about.

    _________________________
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

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    #160604 - 06/19/13 07:17 PM Re: Comorbidity between Giftedness and Mental Illness? [Re: QT3.1414]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2612
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    The effect IS striking enough, however, that everyone in terminal-degree-granting institutions is well aware of it. The rate of psychosis among my graduate department seems to have been about 8-10% over a period of some 15 years that I'm aware of. Pretty sure that incidence is nowhere NEAR that in the general population, though I don't know exactly what it is.

    During graduate school, when I doubted I would be able to finish and worried that I thrown away X years of my life, I was at times *very* unhappy. Finishing and getting a good job fixed that. I wonder if graduate school attracts people with psychological problems or creates them.
    _________________________
    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell

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    #160610 - 06/19/13 09:35 PM Re: Comorbidity between Giftedness and Mental Illness? [Re: QT3.1414]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    The running hypothesis (at least in our lab) when I was studying neuroscience was that it was a perfect confluence of epigenetic factors brought to bear on a particularly susceptible population.



    In other words, that much pressure makes some people break with reality to escape it.


    In other words, Bostonian, I think it's probably both of those things.


    You do, however, see the same general phenomena in POW's, so clearly applying relentless, all-consuming pressure to human beings is... unwise... to begin with.

    For PhD students, "Stockholm" means a lot more than Nobel. My DH and I have speculated that it's a mark of how non-violent HG/+ people are as a general rule that there aren't more instances of students going postal on their committees around oral qualifiers. It's remarkable to me that it remains quite rare.


    The military also does a LOT of heavy-duty mental health screening/stress-testing for high pressure service occupations. My FIL shared some of the stuff they put him through as one of the original Nuclear Sub chiefs/officers, and it is really thorough. So they certainly recognize that there is a risk, and want to carefully evaluate prospective sailors before turning them into nuclear submariners, where the pressure of the environment can serve to destabilize a person with the right set of characteristics. The space program also did/does a lot of psych evals as part of screening potential trainees.







    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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