Comorbidity of high IQ and PTSD?

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Ok, I really don’t know where to post this so I’m just opening the discussion.

As a disclaimer I want to stress that no, IQ tests aren’t entirely reliable and they test a set of very specific things. Also, you can literally sneeze and lose 10 points. I have very conflicted views on this question and I didn’t ask to get an IQ test. The disclosure of the difference was a social nightmare at school. Now it’s perceived as a weirdness and something quite narcissistic to talk about, so I tend to generally keep that for myself and it’s been a plague in my life. There is clearly a community of HIQ fanatics that I find quite repulsive and with which I don’t want to be associated by any means.

But the question I have here is linked to the possible neurodivergence of having a very high (or a very low) IQ according to the average. That theory says that sorts of thresholds in patterns of thinking can be observed from two "deviation units," arbitrarily set at 15. So, average is set at 100, it means that from 130 a person has a different approach to things and problem-solving, with more global, shortcut and jittered thinking than the average. Some studies (I should reference the papers here) claim that you communicate easily with people that are situated under or above 15 points of where you are, and okay around 30 points. So it means that if you score really low or really high, you’re in some sort of heavy neuroatypical spot. I don’t know if it’s really understandable in the way I’m explaining, and I’m also a bit uneasy about this because IQ has been used to justify a lot of stupid shit and I think the very idea of testing intelligence is problematic.

But what has struck me is that during my endless nights on the Internet and having been on high-IQ forums by curiosity as I got tested around 12 and scored very high (and honestly, all that process of psychometrics was quite traumatic too). Therefore, according to the deviation units problems, I’d be technically in much difficulty to communicate with most people because my easy spot would start at a certain threshold, leaving me at the tail of the curve.

To be short, it would affect your capacity to share on your comfort level. And what I observed in these high IQ forums (never been to a society, sounds super creepy), were loads of people complaining about getting triggered with an immense tendency towards rumination, emotional distress and dysregulation, and quite unaware of it. I also was unaware of the entire world of triggers, emotional dysregulation and all sorts of behavioral disorders before I’d say a year ago. Anyway, I’m diverging!

So I wonder that by having this deviation in patterns of thought and communication, it couldn’t actually create a more vulnerable terrain to develop PTSD or CPTSD as

1) the feelings of emotional/intellectual loneliness and its social consequences can be problematic and traumatic by themselves,

2) the very pattern of thought has a tendency to make links between everything and circulating in shortcuts (and this is my pure speculation, but it might worsen the processing of emotions and cause anxiety because everything rushes fast, furious, and on the top of it convoluted) and

3) it might prompt to that high-achieving appearance and articulation that might complicate sought for help.

As it seems that there is a link between borderline personality disorder and high IQ (again I should reference the papers here), as the disorder is developed in people that have a tendency to "feel" more strongly and being maladaptive in hostile or invalidating environments. Knowing that BPD very frequently overlaps with CPTSD or at least a traumatic background, it doesn’t seem so much of a stretch to think that there might be a link between emotional vulnerability and HIQ. I don’t know.

I wonder if anyone else has had experience with IQ tests and what it means for you?
 

siniang

MyPTSD Pro
Interesting thoughts.

I just posted in my own diary that I absolutely do think that being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world is in itself traumatic (and I think there are even studies on that, but I wouldn't be able to reference any right off the top of my head).

Whether or not it can indeed cause (C)PTSD? You'll probably find that folks on this forum here will tell you a very definite "no", mostly because they will tell you that a) it's not "Category A trauma", and, resulting from that, b) not life-threatening. And hence cannot cause PTSD.

Which all in itself is kinda arbitrary and very open for discussion - just not on here ;) Folks here are quite obstinate adamant about that. Just giving you the heads up :)

I'm considered high-intelligent although I tested a few points shy of that arbitrary 130 points threshold. However, I realte a lot to what you described about communication thresholds. Being ADHD, I'm having that added layer of neurodivergence, which complicates things quite a bit.

And I agree, I too have made the experience that it's kind of taboo to talk about being (highly) intelligent. It's considered arrogant and narcissistic, as you described, and that some high IQ folks are really obnoxious (I too find quite a large part of the high IQ community repulsive) really doesn't help the cause...

Coincidentally, I was curious about the overlap of ASD (and ADHD) and high IQ, as I'm convinced from personal observations and reports that a LOT of high IQ people are on the spectrum (add in that a really large proportion of ADS people? Also have co-morbid ADHD - cluster f*ck!). And that those people are particularly vulnerable to mental health struggles...including PTSD.

This i sone of the links I came across (I just started reading into this, been too busy to spent a lot of time research, yet): Why High-IQ Patients with Autism or ADHD Face Elevated Risk

Just thought you might find this interesting, even if it goes one step further than "just" high IQ.
What’s surprising is that half of these children also have an average or considerably above-average IQ. What’s more, at least two-thirds of people with ASD, particularly those with a high IQ, also have attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). Needless to say, it is difficult to disentangle symptoms that include social difficulties, namely the inability to understand how others are processing a situation.

In part because symptoms overlap, high-functioning, high-IQ people with ASD comprise a vulnerable population.

Btw, and this kind of expends on my two spoilers above, BPD is really really commonly misdiagnosed in women with undiagnosed ADHD and ASD - especially due to the emotional dysregulation component.
 
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Teamwork

MyPTSD Pro
What’s interesting about it is that if you have a higher than typical IQ, then at some point you begin to self monitor as people indicate that you are a bit off. Too many people jumped ship in my life citing, couldn’t understand me as the reason. This happened frequently. I was certainly treated as odd throughout life and if not that then propelled into situations that were not really suitable. One example is that I was given a task of teaching reading to moderately delayed students when I was in 7th and 8th grade during recess. I skipped second grade and was accelerated through 8th grade so that half way through I was sent to the high school to do my math and english. Did it cause harm, in retrospect much was done that would be suspect today and not allowed And the harm was done to the social aspects of my life. I was academically advanced and socially delayed. Teaching reading during recess was there way of taking me off the playground scene where I stood on the sidelines and observed. My times of being tested were also marked with intrigue by the testers and stress by me. The other really big thing I suffered from was extreme lack of understanding of people, their actions, emotions and intentions. I could read a book long before I could read a person.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you! Yeah, I do think that feeling "incommunicable" is quite problematic.

Whether or not it can indeed cause (C)PTSD? You'll probably find that folks on this forum here will tell you a very definite "no", mostly because they will tell you that a) it's not "Category A trauma", and, resulting from that, b) not life-threatening. And hence cannot cause PTSD.

This I don’t think. But what I wonder is if it’s not a supplementary vulnerability. Like there are people-who go-through-the-trauma-quite-well, or people who develop depression because of environmental factors and get out of it, then others who do tend to remain in that state for longer, developing a long-lasting disorder rather than an episode. This seems to have genetic grounds and then it gets batshit to know which genes do what and how, but with the latest developments on epigenetics it is quite certain now that you can genetically develop vulnerabilities to depression and anxiety because of the trauma of your parents. It is quite bleak to think of it on a large scale, such after genocides and racism.

So my guess was that neurodivergence could act as a risk factor, not a cause in itself.

But yes I did suffer a lot from saying stuff that seemed just normal and interesting to me and everyone was like, wtf. For the obnoxiousness of the HIQ communities it’s at times so bad I even wonder if HIQ isn’t a risk factor for NPD lol. Or cluster B personality disorders and traits in general. Here I just can remain completely speculative because I don’t have the data or the papers to back this idea.

Actually it is in the set of my now distorted fears that I’ve got some sort of covert NPD and that it makes me horrible to be around. .

@Teamwork I can relate to this thing of the book too. The IQ thing really didn’t help with that, and when you get trained to be praised for your intelligence at the hands of people who are also emotionally dysregulated or narcs, the perceived "intelligence" becomes a pride and a nemesis at the same time. Very tricky, quite difficult to talk about. I also remember the creepy intrigue of the testing team, with this sort of excitement around you, I remember finding it so disturbing that it made me stop the testings when I reached the personality & emotional ones. Didn’t want these people to examine my case with all that frantic energy, it really felt like I was a curious animal to study and not a person.
 

mumstheword

MyPTSD Pro
Yeah. I got the ASD HIQ CPTSD thang, also was misdiagnosed as BPD but that was while long term heavily embroiled with a Cluster B type dude (I had a shitetonne of offspring with him).

I don't have the time nor brainpower to comment further along these lines, ATM, but, I'm following the thread. I look forward to the more.

It's true it's super awkward to even admit one has a top-end-of-the-bell curve IQ. Kinda embarrassing and flinchworthy. We have a cultural cringe thing, here, in AU, called "the tall poppy syndrome". We, don't like people who are better at stuff than we are, it seems. So "smart" peeps? Nah. Social pariahs.
That's a wee bit traumatizing, but, as has been elicidated, not CritA level.

I have the socially clueless Aspergers ASD component, which has probs led to more actual trauma-transpiring events due to, in part, on occasions, desparation for any shred of acceptance. Desparation is never safe. Never a leads-to-good-social- situations thing
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
@siniang , also reflecting on the AS, I’ve heard of it too. I’m reading the links.

Yup, BPD at times is this all-goes-there diagnose for more or less everything we can’t explain, I almost got it too because of emotional dysregulation and fear of abandonment… I perhaps would have bought that if I didn’t spend, like you @mumstheword , so much time with someone who wasn’t just ticking the criteria boxes, but exploding them with smoke. Like my pdoc would say "Frankly, f*ck the DSM-V. Who isn’t scared of being abandoned?! There is a point where everything can have a name, but what counts is what we can do to help you." She’s quite certain on GAD and CPTSD and pdoc2 also is oriented towards CPTSD. I find it tricky when you’re sort at the crossroads of everything but never completely fitting in, at times it gives me the impression you aren’t allowed to suffer because even suffering you do it in your weird ways.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
This is really interesting topic. Thank you for posting it so succinctly.

Personally, I suck at IQ. I simply cannot do it but I am very high in adaptation to situations so I survive in most situations in life and lead highly functional if not even considered successful including my health (after brutal childhood). I thought one time maybe I was too stupid to be bothered but no I was bothered but I am high in accepting certain things and then seeing how I can maneuver. I grew up very gendered society and one reason I suck at IQ is anything systematic or involving shapes - just forget about it.

But I am interested in so many levels. when I read Erik Erickson's developmental stages, I recall thinking the reason I suck at IQ is I did not develop competency and industrious phases in my childhood (too afraid and survival mode). But I am high in initiative (coming up with ideas and not losing myself or identity to things I am good at or do. You can see a lot of times the show Survival (not sure it is on Tv still or not), the most highly intelligent people (in terms of IQ) do not do well although some of them do quite well. So maybe IQ is not a good way to measure in regard to trauma or PTSD.

I found this link that I thought may differentiate what it may mean to have high IQ Multiple Intelligence | Foundations of Education 201

Just looking at it, I would also suck at spatial (anything involving space) and many other areas so if I do IQ test today, I would be considered mild retardation but yet obviously reality would demonstrate otherwise. just saying.

My point is trauma and IQ are not at crossroad or even related for any meaningful way. If you feel neurodivergent, then you may experience the society as gaslighting sometimes because they do not see your POV and that itself without awareness can create certain trauma (especially as a child growing up being invalidated so much) and that itself unrecognized and as a long term approach in one's life can become trauma. I hope this makes sense...

I am really curious to read more and see where this goes though.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
But the question I have here is linked to the possible neurodivergence of having a very high (or a very low) IQ according to the average
I was talking about this in here with another member, yesterday, and so, here's my awareness on the topic. I did some research in college that led me to studies that found that people with low levels of latent inhibition were more likely to be highly intelligent, mentally ill, and/or creative.

Latent inhibition is basically the ability to filter out things that don't appear to be relevant to survival and functioning in the current situation, at the current time. People with low levels of latent inhibition notice a lot more in any given situation, such background noises, smells, small items in a room, etc. My interpretation is that if you notice more and process more you can just be smart but your processing can also become very overwhelmed when stuff gets to be too much, as in PTSD and Autism. There is also a well-known known correlation between IQ and anxiety which I believe has the same origins.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I was talking about this in here with another member, yesterday, and so, here's my awareness on the topic. I did some research in college that led me to studies that found that people with low levels of latent inhibition were more likely to be highly intelligent, mentally ill, and/or creative.

Latent inhibition is basically the ability to filter out things that don't appear to be relevant to survival and functioning in the current situation, at the current time. People with low levels of latent inhibition notice a lot more in any given situation, such background noises, smells, small items in a room, etc. My interpretation is that if you notice more and process more you can just be smart but your processing can also become very overwhelmed when stuff gets to be too much, as in PTSD and Autism. There is also a well-known known correlation between IQ and anxiety which I believe has the same origins.
That’s very interesting.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
That’s very interesting.
I think so.

The rest of this is merely my interpretation of what I have read, coupled with what I have experienced, personally, and witnessed others experience.

It seems to be a known thing that modifying what is taken in during daily life helps people with Autism and PTSD to cope. For instance, I own a pair of sunglasses that work on the same principle as horse blinders by cutting off peripheral vision and they definitely do help my anxiety if I am not in a crowded place worrying about what I can't see. A lot of us also wear headphones because cutting down on chaotic noise also helps with anxiety. It seems obvious that too much sensory input or sensory input of the wrong kind is a real problem for a lot of people. It makes a lot of sense to me that people with low levels of latent inhibition would suffer the most because they are taking in and processing more, to begin with.

If you add the latent inhibition information to the stress cup idea that is talked about in this group, my attitude is that most people with PTSD probably already have a fuller than average stress cup when a traumatic event occurs, often due to low levels of latent inhibition, and so when a truly traumatic event happens, the stress cup is overwhelmed and they lack the processing power to process the event, and so, it doesn't get processed. Again, this isn't something I have read but a theory pieced together from a lot of different sources of information. Someone else may have figured out the same thing. I don't claim the rights, but I don't know.

The latent inhibition part is real and studied. I have had a lot of time to think about it since college and seems to explain a lot about my own experiences.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
high IQ here, outside looking in since about 5 I think. PTSD can happen to animals too, so no, I don't think there is any real correlation except that it does make for some interesting discussion. No matter what's out front in the frontal lobes, the same stuff is still carted around outback and in the basement, we all have the same basic reptilian level wiring to try to problem-solve after we get stuck in fight/flight/freeze.
 

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
Here is one paragraph from the paper I wrote that includes the "latent inhibition" discussion, along with the references if anyone is interested in the original information. Obviously, the paper was about bipolar disorder, but at least the Harvard Gazette article is relevant to the current subject matter.

I have often heard people describe persons affected by bipolar as inept or lacking in ability or aptitude. This is simply untrue. In fact, there is strong evidence that the opposite is usually the case. Following one study, the Harvard Gazette reported on the link between creativity and mental illness. It was found that highly creative people tend to lack something called “latent inhibition”. Latent inhibition is described as the ability to filter out the seemingly irrelevant in daily life. Lack of latent inhibition was also found to be linked to mental illness. Further discussion revealed that the higher the IQ, the more likely a lack of latent inhibition would be seen (Cromie, William, J.). Thus, the findings of the study clearly indicated that those affected by severe mental illness were not only more likely to be highly creative they were also likely to be more intelligent than the general population. Another study found that 16-year olds exhibiting high academic achievement were four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder later in life than were their average-performing peers (MacCabe, James H., et al). This being the case individuals affected by bipolar are actually more likely to have strong aptitudes, and are less likely to be truly inept than the general population.

Cromie, William, J. “Creativity Tied to Mental Illness”. Harvard University Gazette. 2007.

MacCabe, James H., Lambe, Mats P., Cnattingius, Sven, Sham, Pak C., David, Anthony S., Reichenberg, Abraham, and Murray, Robin M. “Excellent school performance at age 16 and risk of adult bipolar disorder”. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 196. 2010.

Not surprisingly, some of this information really is not relevant. Sorry. I was going to edit it, but it makes a point.
 
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