Depression in INTP Personality (A comprehensive guide)

In this brief guide, we will discuss depression in INTP personality.


INTP and Depression

It has been seen that the INTP is normally very controlled about their emotions, so when the INTP experiences depression this can go against them heavily, as it may isolate them from the world and cut them off.

INTP depression may become visible in phases or stages, and at the start of the problem the  INTP will attempt to push themselves to do things, and might even try new things, which is not necessarily in their nature, to reduce their sadness and restore their original mood state.

The INTP in the original stages of depression may even try to socialize with others, and when the depression first arises they might try to form new connections or strengthen old ones so that they may get a handle on the depression somehow.

Because the socializing does not come naturally to them though, the INTP may often feel exhausted and need to revert inward, and at the same time, the mental exhaustion may further worsen the INTP’s depression. 

INTPs like to spend long periods of time alone, as this is the method they use to ease their discomfort in any situation, and they may feel this need, even more, when they experience depression.

The INTP may also often seem indifferent to other people because of their introverted tendencies, and when they are depressed their indifference might make it rather hard for others to even notice that they are depressed, and even when they do, the INTP support system is likely to be small and therefore not very helpful to their case. 

It is also possible that the INTP experiencing depression may have emotional outbursts, and those around them may find this extremely surprising as the INT normally stays quite reserved with their emotions. 

The INTP in depression may also feel the pressure from the external world, and if they feel this pressure from people closest to them as well, it might result in them snapping and aggression directed at those people.

INTPs always need a safe place to retreat to, and an INTP in depression needs it more so than others, whether that is by themselves or with the people closest to them, and they need to have the pressure from those around them reduced to they can combat depression effectively. 

The INTP in depression also needs to be given free rein to feel whatever they are feeling, and the people close to them might want to be around, but at the same time leave them enough space to figure things out.

Functions and Features of the INTP Personality

INTP stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Prospecting, and it is a personality type in the MBTI system of personality types.

The MBTI is based on Carl Jung’s personality types theory, and in the INTP the dominant function is the Introverted intuition, and the auxiliary is the Extroverted thinking, about which Jung Says in his book, psychological types:

“A person of this type might say: “I know I could give my father the greatest pleasure if I did so and so, but I don’t happen to think that way.” Or: “I see that the weather has turned out bad, but in spite of it I shall carry out my plan.” This type does not travel for pleasure but to execute a preconceived idea. . . .At every step, the sanction of the subject must be obtained, and without it nothing can be undertaken or carried out. Such people would have replied to St. Augustine [see above, p. 39]: “I would believe the Gospel if the authority of the catholic church did not compel it.” Always he has to prove that everything he does rests on his own decisions and convictions, and never because he is influenced by anyone, or desires to please conciliate some person or opinion.”

This excerpt from the book talks about what is undoubtedly the INTP personality, as they are very focused individuals who are unlikely to waste time on unnecessary things, and they turn most things inward rather than outward.

By introvert, Jung does not mean someone who just does not like people, and while that may be a subtype under his concept of introversion, he mostly means that the introvert is someone who might be more focused on themselves and their locus of control as some might say might be internal.

When something goes wrong for the INTP, they are more likely to blame themselves, which is something that may often bring depression to INTP, but at the same time, they are also likely to depend on themselves and to take care of their problems, and they might not need others to lean on when things get rough, which is good if they are depressed and do not have a great support system.

This tendency of the INTP may also tend to isolate them, to be on their own so much especially when depressed, but it may also produce incredibly self-reliant people who are okay doing their own thing and don’t feel the need for other people if they are not around, however it is always better if they were to have people around when the INTP is depressed, even if they don’t feel the need for them.

The INTP is known for their use of the Introverted thinking function, which according to Dario Nardi, a neuroscientist who studies personality types, functions in two main ways to make sense of the information provided to them:

  • “Deduction – Linearly deriving solutions using verbal/symbolic reasoning. For example, if A=B, and B=C, then A=C. Using this region is like moving along the branches of a tree.
  • Categorizing – Categorizing and defining concepts in a holistic way using a “best-fit” process. For example, it helps us determine whether a dolphin better fits in the mammal or fish category as it sorts many categories simultaneously.”

Due to their tendency to assess and analyze things so rationally and logically, the INTP may have the tendency to think in a purely black and white manner, which may give rise to some classic cognitive distortions that are found in Depression, particularly All-or-none thinking, which refers to the tendency to think in extremes, ad refusing to admit that there is an acceptable middle ground to things.

INTP individuals tend to pressurize themselves immensely because they feel that things should be a certain way because they fit that way, and that can lead to the cognitive distortion mentioned above.

The INTPs dominant cognitive function is extraverted intuition, and it deals mostly in the abstract, and it may be seen as being oriented towards theories, patterns, frameworks, and principles, which may drive the INTP to read too much into situations sometimes and feel the negative emotions attached to data that actually has no sinister meaning at all.

Intuition is not always right, and the belief the INTP has in their own analyses is paramount to them, so it can sometimes become rather hard to convince them otherwise, which can be problematic in depression.

For instance, an INTP that is convinced they are worthless may not respond to people telling them that they are not and they have accomplished so much because they might:

  • Believe it too staunchly because of their intuition function
  • Engage in All-or-none thinking, discarding the positives of themselves just because the negatives exist and they shouldn’t, according to them.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health condition that is characterized by persistent low mood, an inability to carry out daily functions due to physical and mental changes, and some somatic symptoms as well.

Depression has gotten to be so prevalent in the world that it is now known as the “common cold of mental illness”, and the WHO estimates that approximately 234 million people in the world are currently suffering from depression, and that number has also been assumed to have gone up since the start of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown and quarantine for the same.

The WHO specifies 2 main types of this disorder, although more types exist, those are more for the clinical to decide, rather than for the layman to understand.

According to the WHO, the 2 primary types of depression one needs to know about are:

“Recurrent depressive disorder: this disorder involves repeated depressive episodes. During these episodes, the person experiences a depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy leading to diminished activity for at least two weeks. Many people with depression also suffer from anxiety symptoms, disturbed sleep, and appetite, and may have feelings of guilt or low self-worth, poor concentration, and even symptoms that cannot be explained by a medical diagnosis.

Depending on the number and severity of symptoms, a depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. An individual with a mild depressive episode will have some difficulty in continuing with ordinary work and social activities but will probably not cease to function completely. During a severe depressive episode, it is unlikely that the sufferer will be able to continue with social, work, or domestic activities, except to a limited extent.”

“Bipolar affective disorder: this type of depression typically consists of both manic and depressive episodes separated by periods of normal mood. Manic episodes involve elevated or irritable mood, over-activity, the pressure of speech, inflated self-esteem, and a decreased need for sleep.”

Also, according to the NIMH, here are the symptoms of depression one needs to know about:

  • “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
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • 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”

Bear in mind, that for a diagnosis of depression the symptoms must be present continuously for a minimum period of 2 weeks, and the number of symptoms from the list above differs according to whether the depressive episode is mild, moderate, or severe.

How to help a depressed INTP?

Here are some things you can do to help a depressed INTP:

  • Convince them to go to therapy
  • If the depressed INTP is engaging in a cognitive distortion, try to recognize it and help them through it.
  • If they start blaming themselves for everything, try to sit with them and listen, rather than try to argue with them about how they are wrong.
  • Remind them how you feel about them as often as you can
  • Allow them to process their emotions on their own.
  • Give them space when they seem overwhelming.
  • Do things with them you know they like.
  • Engage them in detail-oriented things and things they can analyze and think about, so that they may not focus as much on the negative thoughts.
  • Puzzles, games, and thoughtful movies are good outlets for a depressed INTP.
  • Engage them in physical activity of some sort because they may not do it themselves.
  • Try to help them out with their daily chores and work so they don’t feel like they are crumbling under the pressure in any way.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we discussed depression in INTP personality. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you have.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): INTP depression

Which personality type is most likely to have depression?

The Personality types that are most likely to have Depression are people who are high in neuroticism or are highly sensitive and emotional.

Personality types that are introverted have also been found to be likely to have depression at some point due to their tendency to be thoughtful and isolated more so than extroverted.

How do you help an INTP?

To help an INTP you may try some of the following things:

Give them alone time.
Reach out often but without forcing them to mingle.
Make them something to eat or engage them in the activity
Suggest new activities and do them with the INTP 
Challenge their beliefs in a healthy way.
Give honest advice, but when they ask for it
Stay optimistic so that they have something to look forward to.

How do I become a healthy INTP?

To become a healthy INTP you may want to learn more about yourself through introspection and the help of those around you, and you need to also embrace yourself for who you are.

INTPs often forget to be healthy by not paying attention to their physical health, so make sure you take care of your body. 

To become a truly healthy INTP, make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and take care of your other bodily needs on time and well.

Citations

https://www.lifereaction.com/heightened-anxiety-depression-intps/

https://www.truity.com/blog/intps-guide-dealing-emotions

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml

https://www.icd10data.com/ICD10CM/Codes/F01-F99/F30-F39/F32-/F32.9

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

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