Depression Genius (5 reasons why it occurs)

In this guidepost, we will be analyzing the topic, “ Depression Genuins”, throw some light on depression and it’s symptoms with classifications of depression, further, we will study the association between depression and genius with some personalities and then answer some of the questions around this topic.

Depression genius occurs because

  • Association between creativity and mood
  • They are alienated and isolated
  • Geniuses are immersed in their own inner world
  • They find it tough and challenging to cope up with reality
  • Geniuses are socially withdrawn
  • Excessive thinking and obsession
  • Vulnerable to breakdown and emotional distress


Depression is a mood disorder where the individual experiences prolonged sadness, lethargic, worthiness, helplessness and melancholic that interferes or hampers their daily functioning.

According to the World Health Organisation (2020), it is one of the most common mental disorders which affects 264 million people from different age groups. Women are more vulnerable and affected by it than men. Unlike the mood swings which we experience normally, depression when it lasts long, it is a serious health condition, in the worst case, might result in suicide as well. 

The noting symptom is the profound sadness and the inability to experience pleasure, anhedonia. There are also physical symptoms associated; few of them

are difficulty in the sleep cycle, psychomotor retardation, loss of appetite and tiredness. 

Symptoms of Depression

  • Depressed and Low mood
  • Anhedonia
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Worthlessness and Helplessness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Thoughts on ending life
  • Difficulty in sleep
  • Irritability and Agitation
  • Fluctuation in appetite
  • Difficulty in decision making.

Classification of Depression

On the basis of severity of the symptoms and their duration, there are two major types of depression which are Major Depressive Disorder or Clinical Depression and Chronic Depressive Disorder/ Dysthymia. 

Apart from these, there are Bi-Polar Disorder and Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

Based on the severity of the symptoms and their duration, two major types of depression are Major Depressive Disorder or Clinical Depression and Chronic

Depressive Disorder/ Dysthymia. 

Major Depressive Disorder

To be diagnosed with MDD, there should be five depressive symptoms that last for at least 2 weeks. Adding to that, there should either be a depressed mood or loss of interest. 

MDD is a periodic or episodic disorder where the symptoms go on and off over time. Along with it, suicide ideation and thought of death are common. 

Persistent Depression Disorder, Dysthymia

One of the essential features of Dysthymia is a depressed mood that lasts throughout the day for at least 2years, in the case of children the duration is for 1 year. Along with depressed mood, they should also experience two of the six symptoms (poor appetite, sleep disturbance, low energy, low self-esteem, trouble in concentrating, and hopelessness) It has an early and insidious onset. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder

It is known for recurrent depressive episodes occurring typically in winter. The severity of the episode ranges from mild to moderate and in the worse case, has a risk of suicide ad well. It is more prevalent in people in the northern part of the world than in summer. The change in melatonin is responsible for this episode, they show more change in melatonin than the rest.

Bi-Polar Disorder

There are basically two types of Bi-Polar disorder that is, BP-1 and BP-2. Manic Symptom is the defining feature of the two and the severity of the two differentiate these. Bi-Polar 1 is known as Manic-Depressive Disorder where there is a single episode of mania during their lifetime however, they may or may not have depressive episodes. While Bi-Polar 2 is characterised by hypomanic (a milder version of Manic) episodes with Major Depressive Episodes. Bipolar 1 Disorder is much rarer than MDD,

Cyclothymic Disorder

It is also a chronic mood disorder where the proposed symptom (numerous episodes of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms) last for at least 2 years. They experience frequent alternating mild symptoms of Mania and Depression. People with cyclothymia have a high risk of developing Mania and Major Depression.

Genius and Depression

Studies have shown that there is a positive relation and association between low intelligence and depression, and high intelligence with depression. People with low Intelligence Quotient tend to be less satisfied and happy with their life than those counterparts who are high in intelligence. 

With reference to the IQ of a person, an IQ score of 70-79 is believed to be the borderline intelligence and people belonging to this group are reported to be less happy and satisfied than the other group having their IQ score 120-129. The assessments were done on domains like positive mood, elation, satisfaction, a feeling of contentment with their life, quality of life and happiness.

People who have low IQ show a deficiency in their cognitive abilities and are less likely to carry out the job-related task as well as academic work. Apart from that, their performance and productivity are relatively lower and substandard than those with high IQ. Owing to that, they suffer from unemployment, low income, disturbing relationships and frustration making them more vulnerable and susceptible to depression.

Since geniuses and those with high Intelligence are very organised and have fertile inner lives and beliefs where they create their inner world that perfectly fits with their preferences and beliefs, clashing it with reality makes them feel at loss and inability to cope up with it.

Highly intelligent people are socially withdrawn and sensitive that might result in their vulnerability to depression. They are busy and engaged in their own world that it is often hard for them to find someone who shares the same interest like them on an intellectual and emotional basis or simply to find someone to share their feelings and thoughts. The social seclusion and alienation they face results in a feeling of loneliness. 

Depression and any kind of mental illnesses in genius or those with high intellectual functioning can be traced to the popular perception among people that geniuses are mad owing to their unique and different behavioural characteristics. Often in the past, eccentricity and geniuses were linked and associated, 

An examination of many historical figure’s lives has shown that they all have a common experience of having dealt with mental health-related disorders. 

There are much higher chances of mental disorders in creative geniuses than in the general population.

Depression Geniuses

Some of the geniuses who are diagnosed with mental illnesses once in their lifetime are discussed below:

Abraham Lincoln

Despite his own journey and battle with depression for most of his life, he had managed to lead the country during the tough times. Many of his friends often tagged him as “ the most depressed person they’ve ever come across”. During an occasion, he was so drained out with melancholy and depression that he collapsed. 

His vulnerability to depression can be traced down to his family where his mother, as well as members from extended family, had severe symptoms of depression. He was also the author of pome that was published in 1838, “ The Suicide’s Soliloquy”. 

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Beethoven’s battle with Manic was well known among his friend’s circle and when he was high and in an elevated mood, he could finish much of his work all at once.

However, during his low and down, his works were much celebrated and there was an episode form his life when he contemplated on a suicide, which was revealed in one of his letter to his brother. 

Even during the early period of 1813, he went through depression resulting in his complete negligence over physical appearance and thus would roam and loiter around the places. During that time, he also stopped doing his work and composing. 

It was only in 1827, he passed away with liver failure and was also medicated with some other health problem due to alcohol as well.

Charles Dickens

He was the most famous and widely known author all across the world. He was blessed with a wealthy family and was gifted with everything he could ask for. However, after a very difficult and troubling childhood where his father was put behind bars and he had to work in a boot factory, he would fall into depressive episodes.

The depressive episode that he is facing and battling with is very visible and revealing at the beginning of every novel he has published. It was first observed and noted in his less-known work, The Chimes in 1844. 

Since then his friends had noticed the symptoms in Dicken and shared that he would often feel low and down every time he set himself ready for work. His depressive episodes got worse as he grew older and it aggravates after the separation with his wife. 

The major event in his life that hampered and impaired his creativity was the train crash incident that occurred four years before his death. This incident caused the severe injury in Dicken and resulted in severe consequences.

Winston Churchill

Churchill was known for his leadership who is also battling with mental struggle. He shared with his friend how often he was disturbed by “ black dogs of depression”. He contemplated suicide like Lincoln when was sat in parliament. 

In his mild manic phase, he seems to be pleasant and agreeable however when he is in his high manic episode, he would stay late night burning the midnight oil by writing like 43 books as well as attending his political duties alone.

Kurt Godel

He was a logician as well as a mathematician. Godel was a friend of Einstein and is known for his intelligence.

Godel suffered from Persecutory Depression where he constantly feels someone is out there to poison him. He was so disturbed by it that he restricts himself from others and eats food prepared only by his wife.

When his wife was hospitalized, he didn’t eat anything and finally died of starvation.

Leo Tolstoy

The depressive symptoms in Tolstoy weren’t visible until his middle age when it hit so hard to him. He went through severe personality change and started questioning everything about life. There are times when he would just give everything simply to observe celibacy and even went through a phase when he decided to give up his writing as well.

Despite everything he was blessed with, be it his family, occupations and life in general, the inner demons drive him to think of suicide.

These are some of the well-known geniuses who are once sufferers and a survivor of mental illnesses. 

Is depression a sign of genius?

No, it is not always true to say that depression is a sign of genius, however, those who have higher IQ are believed to be more vulnerable to depression and other mental health-related disorders.

Is intelligence linked to depression?

Yes, higher intelligence is reported to have a higher chance and vulnerability to depression.

Does depression lower your IQ?

No, Depression will not lower the IQ of a person rather a study has shown that IQ score actually improves post-treatment.

Why are artists mentally ill?

It is believed that there is an association between mood and creativity thus, people who are creative are more likely to suffer from a mood disorder.


In this guidepost, we analyzed the topic, “ Depression Genuins”, threw some light on depression and it’s symptoms with classifications of depression, further, we studied the association between depression and genius with some personalities and then answered some of the questions around this topic.

Links for more details


Benjamin, K. (2012). 11 Historical Geniuses and Their Possible Mental Disorders. mental floss.

Wlassoff, V. (2014). Does high IQ increase the risk of Depression and Mental Disorders. Brainblogger.