The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. As a psychological disorder, depression affects more than 350 million people all over the world. Studies reveal that some people are more prone to depression, including those with introverted personalities.
Characterizing an Introvert
Introverted people are energized by the inner workings of their minds. They thrive on their own thoughts and ideas. Although they can be social and talkative in the company of close friends, introverts are generally quiet, especially in the presence of strangers or when they are in large groups. Introverts are observant and learn from what they see. It takes longer for them to make decisions because they are trying to process all the information within themselves.
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Unlike extroverts, who tend to be invigorated by other people, an introvert’s energy is generally drained by socializing; thus, their preference to spend time alone in order to recharge. This natural interest in solitude is one of the most common traits of introverted individuals. Often, it is seen as part of the behavior that makes them prone to depression.
An introvert characteristically avoids social interaction and prefers to spend time alone or in the company of a few people. This, however, is not a negative trait indicative of antisocial behavior. Simply put, it is a personality trait typified by introspection. Many times, introversion is considered the same as shyness, but the two are not necessarily associated; a shy person may be either introverted or extroverted.
The Health Risks of Introversion
Being an introvert often leads to a better understanding of the world. Unfortunately, introversion is not without its negative points. Award-winning mental health journalist and author John McManamy wrote that introverted behavior may lead to isolation and depression. As an introvert diagnosed with bipolar disorder, McManamy knows the topic very well.
The tendency of introverts to isolate themselves makes them more susceptible to emotional health issues. Introverts often feel that people perceive them as odd or weird, and inability to speak up about their physical health problems may lead to a poor state of health or failure to get access to the best standard of care. Research indicates that introverted people have weaker immune systems than their extroverted counterparts.
The Relationship between Introversion and Depression
It is normal for anyone to have either an extroverted or introverted personality. Extroverted individuals may have lots of friends and be more action-oriented, while introverts prefer solitude and contemplation. This is not a sign of a personality disorder. However, studies confirm that introverts are at higher risk for depression.
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A study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that the population of those with depression is 74 percent introverts. Another study suggested that introverts have lower psychological well-being and are more likely to engage in self-harming behavior. The same conclusions were published in an article in Current Psychiatry Reports, citing Dr. Janowsky’s scientific research on the persistence of depressive symptoms due to increased introversion.
As a matter of fact, the American Psychiatric Association added introverted personality disorder to their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) more than 30 years ago. For decades, the World Health Organization has also been including introverted personality in its manual, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-9 CM).
Overcoming Depression as an Introvert
The studies associating introversion with depression do not mean that other personality types cannot develop the condition. Depression is a condition that you should not be ashamed of. You cannot be blamed for being depressed, just as you would not blame people for having other medical issues.
If you are an introvert, there is nothing wrong with you. Your penchant for isolation may, however, trigger a depressive condition. It’s true that depression is manageable, but your introverted tendencies can make it difficult to reach out for help because you prefer to stay in your head. Keep in mind that you cannot just will yourself out of depression. It is not something that disappears on its own. Depression requires treatment. You don’t need to suffer in silence.
If you believe that your introverted behavior has become a gateway to depression, you can rise above the gloom. Recognize your need for professional care and seek out the right-fit therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services in Pinehurst, NC. Counseling can help you adjust better when your introverted personality is prone to depression. Call now to request an appointment.
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