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The Consequences of High IQ and Recommended Interventions for Relief of Anxiety/Depressive Symptoms

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Many of us wish that we were the smartest in the city. For others, being the smartest in the room is exceptional too.

It is a common misconception that life would be so much easier if we just were smarter.

Being smart has it's own challenges.

In a study titled High intelligence: A risk factor for psychological and physiological overexcitabilities, they surveyed over 3,700 Mensa members (certified geniuses) and found that people high IQ scores were more likely to suffer from mental illness and other conditions as well.

According to their data, people with a high IQ were:

  • At about twice the risk of developing an anxiety disorder, asthma, and an autoimmune disease.

  • Roughly 3 times as likely to develop environmental allergies or a mood disorder.

These are staggering numbers and show how the blessing of a high IQ can also be a curse.

The researchers' hypothesis revolves around the idea of hyper brain/hyper body.

"The model posits a unique psychoneuroimmunological process such that those with a hyper brain in the form of very superior (at or above 130) cognitive ability lend themselves to a greater tendency to respond to environmental stressors by ruminating and worrying which are positive predictors of risk for psychological overexcitabilities leading to affective disorders."

Seeking mental health treatment for kids and adults with high IQs is available now, more than ever.

These services have the potential to have a significant positive impact, and to relieve a lot of the distress and mental/emotional suffering one might go through.

With the hypermind/hyperbody hypothesis in mind and having these overexcitabilities as contributing factors to mental illness, it is my own theory that being able to slow the mind down and focus attention may help individuals have more control over the excitability of their mind.

I believe that a particularly beneficial intervention in therapy, and something you can practice in your home today, is mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation.

Practicing mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation can guide individuals to slow down their thoughts in order to focus and connect with the present moment. Developing the skill of guiding their focus towards a less anxious state may help relieve much of the mental suffering someone with a high IQ might experience.


Jesse is a Licensed Associate Counselor in Northwest Arkansas. When Jesse was growing up, he had people with deep character pour into his life, motivating him to be the change that he wanted to see in the world. Jesse wants to pass that on to others by providing encouragement, support, and smiles to the individuals he works with through counseling, volunteering, networking, and writing. Jesse believes every person has the ability to become the best versions of themselves given they take intentional action towards their goals, give it time, and allow themselves to experience grace along the way.

If you live in Northwest Arkansas and would like to schedule a counseling appointment with Jesse, send him an email at



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