Although there may be a link between IQ scores and bipolar disorder diagnoses, this connection could come down to genetics or other environmental factors. More research is needed to know for sure.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that can cause people to experience shifts in mood from depressive lows to manic highs. The condition is sometimes linked to highly intelligent people.

Although some data suggests that there could be truth to this theorized link, researchers haven’t yet proven this connection. More studies into a potential relationship between bipolar disorder and intelligence are still needed.

There’s no proven link between bipolar disorder and intelligence. However, a few studies have found that there might be a relationship between the two.

There has been data suggesting that people with above-average IQ scores are more likely to have bipolar disorder. Studies have also linked high academic performance and high creative output to a higher likelihood of bipolar disorder.

For instance, data from a 2018 survey of members of American Mensa found that respondents were more likely to report symptoms of bipolar disorder than those typically found across the general population.

A 2015 study in the United Kingdom found that children with high IQ stores were more likely to develop bipolar disorder later in life. Additionally, the prevalence was notably higher in children with high verbal scores.

However, these studies don’t prove that there’s a link between a high IQ and bipolar disorder.

Some experts have theorized that it could be tied to a risk inherited through family lines rather than any risk in high IQ alone. Bipolar disorder and high IQs both often run in families, so it’s possible that the link researchers have found in some studies is a genetic one.

Additionally, there are weaknesses in many traditional measures of intelligence.

Standardized testing, including IQ testing, can have racial, class, and gender biases. Similarly, socioeconomic and other factors that don’t correlate to intelligence can affect academic performance. This makes it difficult to draw conclusions, such as a link to bipolar disorder, from this data.

Studies on emotional intelligence and bipolar disorder also have mixed results.

Some research has suggested that people with bipolar disorder display less emotional intelligence than people without the condition. Other research indicates that it might depend on the type of bipolar disorder a person has or on their mood.

For instance, a 2021 study found that people with both bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder had lower emotional intelligence during depressive episodes.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is your ability to control, perceive, interpret, evaluate, and use emotions to communicate and relate with others. It includes:

  • understanding body language
  • reading facial cues
  • understanding verbal and tonal cues
  • using emotions as part of the thinking process when deciding on actions
  • reacting to the emotions of others when appropriate
  • identifying the likely cause of your emotions
  • identifying possible sources of other people’s emotions
  • managing your emotions so that you can respond appropriately to situations

You can read more about IQ scores and emotional intelligence here.

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Bipolar disorder can sometimes affect the way people think. This is typically called cognition. Cognition and intelligence aren’t the same.

Cognition includes functions such as memory, logic, and data processing. Bipolar moods can change these cognitive functions. For example, a depressive mood can make focusing difficult and cause memory problems. A manic episode can alter the way a person makes judgments and how they express themselves.

Manic episodes can also lead to psychosis and symptoms such as paranoia and delusions. These symptoms can increase the changes to a person’s standard cognitive function.

There might be a link between bipolar disorder and intelligence. Some studies have suggested that people with above-average IQs are more likely to have bipolar disorder.

However, researchers haven’t fully proven this link. Additional research has suggested that bipolar disorder’s link to emotional intelligence can vary depending on the person’s mood.