Existential depression is common in people with high intellectual abilities

Existential depression is rooted in a theory developed by Kazimierz Dabrowski (1902-1980). This approach is called positive disintegration, and is based on the following explanation:

  • A person can go through five stages of personal growth.
  • About 70% of the population does not progress beyond the first three stages.
  • 30% of the population, on the other and, reaches the peak of personal development. But instead of bringing them more wisdom and well-being, it actually leads to an existential crisis. They don't feel part of what society expects of them. 
  • This is what Dr. Dabrowski called “positive disintegration”. In other words, all individuals who reach that level have to reconstitute themselves and disintegrate in order to rebuild themselves.
  • It is common for these individuals to doubt themselves, feel anxious, and not find meaning in anything around them.
  • Such suffering is common in people with high ÄO. Such men and women most often suffer from existential depression.

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Treatment strategies

Can existential depression be treated? Like other mood disorders, this problem is also treatable.

In general, it is important to individualize the treatment strategy and take each patient's own needs into account. In addition to psychological therapy, some patients may benefit from medical treatment (anti-depressants). But how can one help a depressed person with high intelligence?

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a very good strategy. It helps patients to direct their thoughts toward a more positive attitude so that they can find a new purpose in life. In addition, it helps them set achievable goals, which means they get excited about the future again.
  • Emotion management needs to be worked on so that the most negative or difficult emotions do not affect them so strongly. The goal is to ensure that the patient continues to develop without the burden of anxiety or negativity.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy. This approach makes patients understand that the world is not always as we would like it to be. We must all accept uncertainty, contradiction, and injustice without letting suffering invalidate us. We must commit to setting different values ​​and goals.

Existential depression should be addressed, even if it is not found in medical textbooks

Although existential depression is not found in diagnostic manuals, there are effective strategies to treat it that increase the well-being of those who suffer from it. Although it may be difficult for the patient to go to the doctor for this, their feelings about the world around them eventually drive them to se

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