Mood Disorders May Be the Cost of High Intelligence, Study Finds

mood disorders high intelligence

Mood disorders and mental imperfections may stem from high intelligence and natural talent.

The cost of intelligence, rumour has it, is insanity. Well, not exactly, but I got your attention so listen.

First of all, I hope you don’t take offense of my use words like, ‘madness’ or ‘lunacy’. If it makes you feel better, I’m mad as well. Now, let’s turn our attention back to our smarts.

There is a high cost for being intelligent. I don’t speak of intelligence from the classroom, per say. True intelligence is usually there long before the school years. There are characteristics which brand a person of intellectual nature. Now, we’ve established that.

It’s kind of complicated, in a way, but it would stand to reckon that when an individual is smart, they suffer from an over-abundance of thoughts-hence mental. Sometimes these thoughts are in disarray, fumbling over each other and striving for the spotlight. I guess this sounds silly, but imagine thoughts as millions of ants, all trying to get at the top of the pile. These are the thoughts of a highly intelligent person, but one who may lack the ability to focus. This is where we encounter our point. Mood disorders, mental imperfections and awkward personalities may stem from an intelligent mind.


Psychologists have found that childhood high IQs are linked to early adulthood bipolar disorder. Although bipolar disorder is thought to be primarily genetic, being triggered by childhood trauma, now there’s a link to high IQ scores as well.

So, how did we test this?

To test the facts about childhood IQ and its connection with bipolar disorder, 1,881 children, age 8, were followed until they reached their early 20s. Along the way, IQ was measured and characteristics of mood disorders were recorded. Just a 10-point difference made a change in adult mental health. There were signs of bipolar mania. So, it’s true. All along the roadway of development those test subjects can quote ‘Queen’.

“I’m going slightly mad.”

Mad Creative Intelligence

Professor Daniel Smith, one of the authors of the study, reported,

A possible link between bipolar disorder, intelligence and creativity have been discussed for many years and studies have suggested a link.

Creativity has indeed been lumped with lunacy. As you know, art of all kinds has been an indicator of some sort of mood disorder. In fact, many artists, like Van Gogh, have displayed symptoms of mood disorders and we know how talented he was. Poets, like Poe, displayed symptoms of depression as well. Yes, I know we are talking about intelligence, but there’s a link here somewhere – a connection of the three – intelligence, mental illness and creativity. It takes a great mind to be able to tap into emotions needed for awe-inspiring works of art.

The truth of the matter

Of course, it’s not cut and dry. There is a clear connection, but we need to understand why. There are other factors, childhood adversity and drug use, which can trigger mood disruptions, namely bipolar disorder. The thing is, this could make others assume that those with bipolar disorder have a weak mind and cannot cope with the trauma and stress in life. On the contrary, those with bipolar disorder strive for a perfect world while fully aware of the immortal imperfections that will always remain. They just think too much and are aware of things that they rather not know.

Maybe I’m an advocate for mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, and that’s because I suffer myself. There’s not one day that I’m free from racing thoughts, sleeplessness and strange bouts of inhuman energy – that’s the ordeal. Could I be intelligent? I have no idea, I don’t like to assume those things about myself. But yeah, there’s a price to pay and a huge one.

Appreciating great minds

The objective would be, in my opinion, to study these indicators so that children can learn how to control this massive amount of information that swirls within their brains. Also, raising awareness of this theory can speak volumes, and finding fact is key. For the rest, being kind and killing the stigma of mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, will bring acceptance of our intelligence. After all, we’re in this together… how cliché. 🙂

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Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.

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By | 2017-01-13T21:48:00+00:00 June 19th, 2016|Categories: Human Brain, Psychology & Mental Health, Uncommon Science|Tags: , , , |9 Comments


  1. Kripi June 19, 2016 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Exactly what I have been feeling for myself. It’s kind of like those who are good and doing tough things, are often face difficulty doing easy tasks…Even if we see the examples of many change makers like inventors and all, they had also suffered, Such people face a lot of difficulties though but as per me ability of being different drives me, sometimes it acts as a drawback but mostly it feels good by being unique 🙂

  2. Fred gillum June 19, 2016 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    I, too, have stumbled through life with a sense of bewilderment. I’ve tried many ways to {not think) about so many things, but not always successfully.
    How did you wake up so young? I’m almost 74 and still seeking.

  3. Mantramurti June 21, 2016 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Bipolar type 1, all of the above, intelligent (although not genius), childhood abuse, had psychotic episode at 27, great for creativity if you can harness it. On lithium for three years and then started with yoga (asana, pranayama & meditation) found that to bring about same calm as lithium. Been drug free for 15 years now with no mania and a little bit of depression. That said, have to maintain yoga practices otherwise start to backslide after a few days…Alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodhan) seems to be best practice for creating internal mental peace.

  4. Bonny July 19, 2016 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Great article. Thanks! I too manage my life with bipolar disorder and have been told many a times that I am too smart for my own good. I personally struggle with the mundane, slow ways of life – people don’t seem to understand that if I wasn’t on medication – they’d never be able to keep up!

  5. Ralph Monteath July 20, 2016 at 12:07 am - Reply

    Thank you for your article. I agree. But with mental disarray comes the lesser ability to overlook perfectionism and actually focus.

    I strongly believe that the most valuable persons in the world are the one’s that are able to execute and showcase their amazing thoughts in an output that others can consume – if not, then another amazing mind is being lost with just the winds of thoughts.

  6. TjAdams July 20, 2016 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Anyone ever been a target of gaslighting by a disordered relative (narcissist)?

    • Sherrie
      Sherrie Hurd July 31, 2016 at 5:39 am - Reply

      Yes, many times. I just walk away.

  7. philip coleman November 18, 2016 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    like you stated Sherrie the world becomes two complete different places at the flip of a switch.For me the world has ended with the corrupt election of a madman and his choices of bigoted idiots around him. I can no longer turn on the teevee. With LOVE PHIL.

  8. Christina January 21, 2017 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    To Philip Coleman…our newly elected madman is our president,,but, that does not mean our world has ended, in fact, its a new beginning! Don’t turn on TV..don’t pick up you iPhone, remember back in a day when there wasn’t cable TV, iPhone or the web..I find it refreshing not to be strangled with modern technology every second of the day,,go outside, breath the fresh air, enjoy the foliage, the trees…in four years, our idiot will be gone..hopefully!

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Mood Disorders May Be the Cost of High Intelligence, Study Finds