While statistics vary, there are at least 20 million people in the United States who currently have some type of addiction.
They all come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, and races. Their education and places of residency vary, too.
Medical professionals had to dig deeper to understand what correlating factors could be at play when figuring out what caused this massive epidemic.
They found that those who are the most intelligent often have the highest risk of developing an addiction. Usually, addiction in a highly intelligent person begins in adolescence.
The Link Between Intelligence And Addiction
When medical professionals first discovered the link between intelligence and addiction, it was highly disputed because addiction issues were blamed on poverty and poor self-control.
It took many studies regarding the correlation between intelligence and addiction before the facts were confirmed.
Children who have a measured IQ of at least 110 have a much higher risk of developing an addiction. The risk seems to increase as they age.
Factors That Contribute To Addiction
There are several factors that contribute to addiction in a person who has a high IQ. The first is the possibility of them having a low level of emotional intelligence.
It’s easy to assume that a person who is able to quickly learn information is also able to understand other facets of human nature just as easily, but this often isn’t the case.
Many highly intelligent people struggle with being able to identify how others are feeling and the effect their own actions could potentially have.
Highly intelligent people often feel isolated and alone, which causes them to struggle with developing and maintaining friendships and long-term relationships.
Research also showed that intelligent people were more open to exploring new experiences because they thought they could learn from them.
But this curiosity can lead them to try an extremely addictive drug and become hooked on it. Boredom, underestimating the addictive qualities of drugs, and self-esteem issues are part of the problem, too.
Ways To Help Prevent The Development Of An Addiction
The best way to prevent any type of addiction is to never start using drugs and alcohol in the first place. It is important that parents talk to their children about the addictive qualities of these substances at a very early age.
Many parents assume that their gifted children will automatically turn away from things that could harm them. Intelligent people have the reasoning ability to understand what is and isn’t dangerous, after all.
Yet it is impossible to predict the circumstances that the person could experience when away from home.
It is also important for parents to get their gifted children counseling if they notice that they seem to be struggling in their interactions with others.
Lastly, it helps for gifted children to be placed in educational programs that are more challenging. That way, their desire to learn and experience new things can be rewarded in a safe and healthy manner.
Treatment Options For Substance Abuse And Addiction
Once a gifted person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is important that they get into a treatment program that will help them see the correlation between intelligence and addiction.
That way, they can quickly get to the root of how their addiction began so they can work on getting free from it.
This is usually done through talk therapy and cognitive behavioral training. The loved ones of a gifted person who needs to enter a rehab may want to mention their high IQ when finding the best facility for them. This will help narrow down some of the options.
Those who are already struggling with an addiction should be sure to get help at a drug and alcohol treatment center right away. For more information on finding the best rehab center to suit your needs, be sure to give us a call today.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Psychology Today — Why Intelligent People Use More Drugs
- National Institutes of Health — Estimated intelligence and long-term outcomes of opioid addicts.
- Science Daily — High childhood IQ linked to subsequent illicit drug use, research suggests