The Link Between Intelligence and Addiction

in STEMGeeks10 months ago

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Image Source: https://academiamag.com/how-to-improve-your-intelligence/

Addiction is something that I have written about quite a few times over the course of my tenure on Hive, but I have never tried to link it to anything from a scientific sense.

Last night, I went down an internet rabbit hole as I sometimes find myself doing. What was shocking about this one (for my standards) was that it was an educational rabbit hole rather than just a time killer.

I was curious when I was told that there is a link between intelligence and cognitive irregularities such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, mood issues and more. Rather than causing these issues directly, a high level of intelligence has been cited as a risk factor for these issues.

A group known as MENSA (basically a group of people with high iq's) was polled for a scientific study and here are the results (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bad-news-for-the-highly-intelligent/):

The biggest differences between the Mensa group and the general population were seen for mood disorders and anxiety disorders. More than a quarter (26.7 percent) of the sample reported that they had been formally diagnosed with a mood disorder, while 20 percent reported an anxiety disorder—far higher than the national averages of around 10 percent for each. The differences were smaller, but still statistically significant and practically meaningful, for most of the other disorders. The prevalence of environmental allergies was triple the national average (33 percent vs. 11 percent).

It turns out that this link actually carries over to addiction of drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, etc. People with high intelligence levels are in a sense victims of circumstance as society was built, by necessity, for the average intelligence level. This can cause those with high levels of intelligence to feel ostracized, feel the need for a challenge, get bored, feel frustrated, etc. This can lead to some poor decision-making to cope.

According to studies identified in this article (https://vertavahealth.com/blog/correlation-intelligence-addiction/) people with high IQ's were more likely to try psychoactive drugs and to do so at a younger age, thus increasing their propensity to develop a dependency on those drugs.

Some have cited the constant need to feel challenged or mentally stimulated as one of the reasons why people with high IQ's have a higher propensity for high-risk addictive behavior.

I have not yet reached conclusions on how these findings relate to me and the issues that I have experienced thus far in my life, but it is an interesting pathway to explore in the coming days. What do you think, do you feel like you are quite intelligent and thus have a predisposition to some negative things? Let me know in the comments.

If you want to take a free IQ test, check out this link (non-affiliate, I just took it last night and thought it was pretty good): https://iqtest.com/

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I don't know if the study has any bearing or not. i can say from some experience with my husband that i thought he was very smart. I used alcoholic drink at a young age. Both his parents worked an evening shift so the children were on their own after school. I do know that they started drinking their parents alcohol at around 16 yrs of age. After high school he started other drugs. He often used pot to quite his brain. I really don't feel that I ever tested to the high end of any IQ test. I also did some experimenting with drugs. So I really don't believe that having a high IQ makes you more likely to use or not. I think that people get bored with their lives and are then willing to try some kind of drugs. Also some people get introduced to other drugs due to pain, and thus comes the pain pills. Any way just a thought.

You bring up great points. The study was not to say that anyone couldn't become addicted to drugs or problem gambling for any number of reasons. The study was to point out that there is a correlation between addiction and intelligence level to say that people with high intelligence levels on average have a higher statistical propensity to fall into patterns of addiction. It can happen to anyone and there are plenty of intelligent people who have no issues whatsoever, it was more just an interesting study I saw

interesting stuff. I am bipolar, so I guess that factors into lots of my life choices..