Are INTJs Prone To Depression?
Every Myers Briggs type feels the pangs of sadness, but INTJ depression, like all depression, is more than the occasional despair we all feel from time to time. Normal sadness is a natural response to upsetting events and set backs that take the wind out of our sails, but it is a relatively short-lived experience for most people.
Depression however can linger for much longer, and in the process may have debilitating affects on work performance and concentration and also damage relationships. It is a mental illness that afflicts 1 in every 21 Americans and it manifests in a variety of forms under an assortment of names like Seasonal Affective Disorder, Dysthymia and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be present most of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks.
The occurrence of depression, especially INTJ Depression is not a sign of weakness nor something that can be redressed with a simple attitude adjustment. People who suffer from it cannot simply “snap out of it”. It afflicts women more than men, possibly due to hormonal factors that are more present in females. There are various treatments for depression including Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), psychotherapy and anti-depressant medications. Scientific studies have shown that good nutrition and physical exercise are also effective at improving symptoms mood disorders such as depression.
The INTJ is among the types considered most prone to depression. This may be due in part to their statistically low satisfaction in relationships and excessive isolation. An INTJ may often feel at odds with a world filled with superficiality and banality. They don’t easily identify with others and this will often lead to misunderstandings on both sides of the divide.
Although INTJ people are upfront about what they think and feel about others, they often ignore rather than address much of what bugs them. They maintain a poker face in most situations and are not easily goaded into losing their temper. They may internalize unexpressed resentments that may have a toxic influence on their psyche and lead to intense outbursts.
INTJ Existential Depression Causes
The causes of depression are complex and varied but genetics may play a role (an even bigger role in bipolar disorder). Research suggests that a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors are at work. Some people may have a genetic vulnerability to depression which may run in the family but external familial relationships may also contribute to this.
Depression can occur along side other serious illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Depression can make these conditions worse and vice versa. Sometimes medications taken for these illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression symptoms.
The onset of INTJ depression can be very gradual and thus may be mistaken for normal sadness. The effects are cumulative and may develop over the course of years until it becomes obvious that it has been hindering quality of life. It can lead to nihilism, suicidal thoughts, depersonalization and anxiety. Causes of depression in the INTJ personality type may include:
- Being unable to look after themselves and feeling dependent on others.
- Severed relationships
- Repeated failures related to their goals and plans
- A radical change or major life-shift
- Feeling powerless and not in control over their lives
- Being persecuted or having their work rejected
Others may not even recognize INTJ depression since INTJ people often do not exhibit tell tale signs for others to see. They soldier on in stoic fashion publicly but frequently withdraw into solitude where they may brood and wallow in a pity party to which no else is invited.
Signs Of A Very Depressed INTJ
- Anhedonia – Inability to experience pleasure and interest in things normally enjoyed.
- Diminished motivation and confidence
- Excessive reliance on alcohol or caffeine
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Feeling sluggish and energy-depleted
- Feeling excessive anxiety, restlessness and worry
- Consuming prescription medicine above the recommended dosage.
- Having low self-esteem and irrational feelings of guilt
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
- Restlessness or irritability
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
INTJ Depression Stages
When they descend into depression, an INTJ will exhibit a number of progressively self destructive and self defeating characteristics such as:
An INTJ will isolate themselves even more than normal when they are in a depressed state. They may spend excessive time in their heads fixating on negative thought loops and unhealthy behavior patterns. At this time they will have little to no interest in connecting with people or reaching out to others for help. They prefer to sort out their issues on their own, but feedback from a trustworthy confidante can be of help in bringing an INTJ back to normal. On the other hand, INTJs are also said to be one of the types most likely to seek out professional help for troublesome situations.
2. Nihilism and Misanthropy
INTJ types carry a reputation for being high-handed and blunt in expressing their contempt for what they view as stupidity from others. They may cultivate an abidingly anti-social attitude that may leave them with a sense of loneliness over the lack of kindred spirits or like-minded souls with whom they can relate. This can engender spitefulness from others and social ostracism which may only reaffirm or further deepen INTJ’s grievances against the world.
3. Loss of Purpose
The INTJ’s sense of willful purpose and desire to take action and affect change will give way to hopeless despair. In their demoralized state, the INTJ will have difficulty mustering the energy to do much of anything productive. They will be hard on themselves and second guess their abilities. They will feel generally defeated and powerless in their capacity to control their future.
4. Self Medicating with Recreational Drugs and Alcohol
Many INTJs will turn to drug use and drinking habits as an unhealthy coping mechanism fueled by inferior extroverted sensing. This of course only makes things worse and numbs the pain rather than heals it. This is often part of the downward spiral that will reinforce feelings of worthlessness and leave an INTJ feeling hollow and dead inside.
5. Hindered Problem Solving Skills
Under depression, an INTJ will feel less intelligent and there is science behind the damaging effects of depression on intelligence. INTJ types are excellent problem solvers but this ability will be noticeably impaired by the low-functioning malaise depression creates.
6. Reckless Behavior
INTJs will be inclined to make bad decisions when in a depressed state and may engage in risky behavior such as gambling or impulsive acts that are poorly thought out. They may throw caution to the wind and allow themselves to just unravel and take whatever comes.
Treatment for INTJ Depression
Because INTJ types have a great ability to self-identify the sources and causes behind their psychological torment, they are often capable of overcoming their depression through private analysis and reflection. Here are some tips for anyone dealing with depression:
1. Focus on making a distinction between your emotions and moods. Emotions are temporary fluctuations of feeling whereas mood is a more persistent state. Temporary thrills like junk food binges may feel good for the moment, but will likely not improve your overall state of happiness.
2. Taking action in and of itself has an antidepressant effect and can boost self-esteem and suppress negative thinking surrounding yourself. Physical exercise is one way in which we can feel improvement in ourselves. It is stimulating and can activate a number of psychological reward systems related to accomplishment.
3. Venting and verbalizing your grievances can have a therapeutic effect on depression. If you don’t have a therapist, ranting to a friend or sympathetic listener can help lift your mood. According to psychologists, this has to do with our desire to manage our status in the eyes of others. It is emotionally satisfying to unload some of our emotional baggage in front of someone else.
4. Get rid of unrealistic personal demands on yourself stemming from unhealthy or unnecessary beliefs. You may be depressing yourself with self-defeating expectations that often set you up for disappointment. “I must appear intelligent at all times or I won’t succeed.” “I’m not good enough to date her.”
5. Find constructive, long-range creative projects to work on. Doing creative work has greater benefit in alleviating depression than mindless busy work which may only provide a temporary distraction.
Where can I go for help?
If you are unsure where to go for help, ask your health provider or check out the NIMH Help for Mental Illnesses webpage at www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp. Another Federal health agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), maintains an online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ . You can also check online for mental health professionals; contact your community health center, local mental health association, or insurance plan to find a mental health professional. Hospital doctors can help in an emergency.
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression:
Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TYY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)