INTJ depression (A 3 point guide)

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In this article we will explore what makes INTJs prone to depression. We 

will also briefly discuss what makes INTJ depression so challenging, how to manifest and what can be done to manage this depression.

What makes INTJs prone to depression?

INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging) is one of the 16 personality types categorised by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. 

People with INTJ personalities are often introverted, highly analytical, creative, and logical and highly structured in the way they live life. 

They are also considered to be susceptible to depression and emotional distress due to the following reasons:

  • INTJs are highly analytical, thus they tend to view a situation in various perspectives including negative points of view. They tend to focus on possible negative events, comments, or scenarios which impact their peace of mind and instead can cause anxiety related depression. 
  • INTJs are often perfectionists, so imperfections annoy INTJs, so they often try to improve themselves to be perfect however, because no one can be perfect, pouring themselves into this can frustrate them and also overwhelm their capabilities causing distress. 
  • INTJs have the ability to accurately perceive their own weaknesses and often ruminate and dwell on them. This can lead them to become hyper fixated on their weakness and the imperfections of the world around them, and cause dissatisfaction with life or existence in general.
  • INTJs are frequently misunderstood in the way they think and function in society because of the fact that some social norms are often illogical. This particular misunderstanding can make INTJs isolated with their own thoughts that can make them susceptible to depression. 
  • The INTJ live inside their heads and are either preoccupied with the past or the present. This can make it especially difficult for them to enjoy the present which often leads to depression and high anxiety as well. 
  • INTJs because of their expectations of perfection from themselves are often disappointed with their lack of progress and have extremely high expectations for themselves. This can make them highly critical of themselves as their lack of progress. 
  • INTJs are als big planners but often do not engage in executing these plans because they often get caught up in the planning, this can impact their progress which can make them feel disappointed with themselves as well- leading to critical evaluation of themselves and consequently depression. 
  • Because INTJs are thinkers and are highly logical, they tend to lack connection with their emotional side. They often struggle with emotional regulation due to which they are often emotionally distressed leading to depression. 

What Makes INTJ depression so challenging?

While other personality types also experience depression, INTJ personality types take depression especially hard because of the fact that they tend to shun seeking help with their depression as they often pride themselves on being self-sufficient. 

INTJs are unlikely to seek outside help and would rather deal with their depression themselves because they often view depression as something that needs to be solved by themselves. They do not understand that depression often has to be with biology as well. 

Another important aspect that makes it challenging for INTJs to seek help is because they tend to be highly critical of others and do not trust people as they trust themselves. They might not seek out professional help from a mental health professional for the same reason. 

They also feel like seeking help from others is a sign of weakness and weakness means imperfection. Due to this way of thinking and these irrational beliefs about themselves, their world, and others- depression becomes a major problem as well as dangerous because of their reluctance to be vulnerable. 

INTJs also tend to analyse themselves and believe that they understand themselves better which discourages them from seeking out the help of other people. It is this same analysis which often lacks compassion that drives their depression and at times anxiety. 

What are the signs of INTJ depression?

Here is a list of tell tale signs of an INTJ who is struggle with depression:

Isolate themselves

While INTJs are introverts, a depressed INTJ will isolate themselves from treasured relatoshops and often spend excessive time on their own. 

They might sleep more or spend more time being fixated in negative thought loops and engaged in unhelpful and non-productive behaviours. 

They will express no interest in connecting with people or reaching out to others that they consider as friends and loved ones. Instead they would prefer to be low and resolve the issue first. 

They will express disdain for others

INTJs when they are depressed will express blanent dislike and contempt for humankind and people in general. 

When they are struggling with depression they may cultivate an anti-social attitude that may further isolate themselves and leave them with a sense of loneliness.

This can further reaffirm and deepen INTJ’s grievances against the world and their negative and often irrational beliefs about others and the world. 

Loss of Purpose

The INTJ’s when they are depressed will lose agency and their sense of purpose instead they will be overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness and despair. 

They might also struggle with doing or have difficulty mustering the energy to do anything productive; this will further make them hard on themselves and second guess their abilities. 

This cycle will further make them feel defeated and powerless in their ability to control themselves and the world around them, making them more pessimistic about their future. 

Use of Recreational Drugs and Alcohol

 When depressed, INTJs might turn to drug use and drinking habits as a coping mechanism which will only make things worse and reinforce feelings of worthlessness.

Hindered Problem Solving Skills

Under depression, INTJs will feel less intelligent and creative as there is evidence of the impact of depression on the brain and intelligence in general. 

Their decision making, problemsoling, and comprehension will be affected and this impediment will further impact the way they see themselves and their abilities. 

Reckless Behaviour

When in a depressed state, INTJs often make bad decisions that are poorly thought out and they might also become impulsive and less logical in their reasoning. 

To further understand how depression can impact the life of an INTJ, let us take a moment to understand what clinical depression is and how we can manage it. 

What is depression?

Depression or clinically known as major depressive disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders, is a  serious mood disorder where people affected by it experience persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. 

Apart from these emotional distress, people with depression can also experience physical symptoms such as chronic pain, or changes in their behaviour such as social withdrawal or slowed movements.

For someone to be diagnosed with clinical depression, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks. Let us look at the various symptoms that must meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depression. 

What is the DSM criteria for Depression diagnosis?

The Diagnostic and statistical manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed) DSM-V outlines the following criterion to make a diagnosis of depression. 

The individual must be experiencing five or more symptoms during the same 2-week period and at least one of the symptoms should be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure. 

These symptoms should indicate change from normal functioning. 

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day- either by their own observation or observation made by others.
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia. 
  • A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

To be diagnosed with depression, these symptoms must cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. 

These symptoms should also not be the result of substance abuse or another medical condition.

What are the Risk factors and comorbidity risks?

Some of the risk factors that makes the development of depression or MDD more likely in individual include:

  • Temperament: High levels of Neuroticism related personality traits or temperament makes it more likely that a person will develop depression in the face of life stressors. 
  • Environment: Early life experiences which were negative such as parenting styles, trauma in childhood, lifestyles, poverty, peer environments put individuals who experience them at a higher risk of developing depression. 

However, it is to be mentioned that adverse events close to the development of an episode is not a reliable guide for prognosis or treatment development. 

  • Genetic and physiological risks: People whose immediate family has also been affected by the disorder has a higher risk- two to 4 percent higher risk to develop the disorder with heritability approvimatedly 40% higher and relative risks higher for early onset. 
  • Course modifiers: Major Non-mood disorder also makes the risk of developing depression higher. Such disorders include: anxiety, substance use, personality disorders. Other conditions such as chronic or disabling medication conditions also make the risks higher. 
  • Suicide risk: According to the DSM-V the possibity of suicdie is always present wit depression episodes and it is a consistent risk with the disorder especially in men having ahigher risk for completed suicde. 
  • Comorbidity risks for depression include anxiety, anorexia nervosa, OCD, Panic disorder,substance use disorders, borderline personality disorder, and bulimia. 

How to manage INTJ depression?

If you are an INTJ, here are a few things you can do to cope with depression.

Seek out professional help

As much as you might be sceptical about seeking professional help, depression is a serious mental illness that at times has biological causes to it. 

Despite your superior problem solving, there is not much you can do to treat a medical condition. 

Make an appointment with a doctor or a psychiatrist and get yourself checked out. It would also do you good to get yourself in therapy in addition to any pharmacological treatment your doctor might prescribe you. 

Your therapist or counsellor will help you develop a more balanced outlook towards yourself, others, and the world and also teach you how to become more emotionally agile as opposed to continuously relying on your thinking. 

Make positive lifestyle changes

Avoid drinking and doing drugs, instead eat a healthy diet that is full of nutrients and engage in exercise- this can be walks, joining the gym, or running a marathon. 

Make changes that benefit your physical health as well as allow you to engage with a positive crowd. If you think socialisation is not something you want to do, then there are plenty of exercises that you can do alone. 

Make sure you get good sleep by developing a healthy sleep hygiene as well. 

Engage in positive thinking

Instead of ruminating on negative thoughts, take time to learn optimism. This can involve stopping negative thoughts with mindful attention, stopping critical evaluations of yourself including negative self talk and also sitting down to analyse your thoughts and the beliefs it emerges from. 

Focus on your strengths. 

Take tie and effort to explore you positieve assets. Do this by journaling what strengths you have and this does not have to limit only to abilities but also innate strengths that a person has such as loyalty, civic sense, etc. 

Take time to develop an awareness of your strengths and appreciate yourself for them while also striving to build on these strengths and using them to overcome your challenges. 

FAQ related to INTJ depression

What makes Intj sad?

INTJs often become sad when they are in emotional settings as they are often logical thinkers and also tend to be disappointed when things don’t go as they planned. 

How do you know if an INTJ is sad?

Signs of emotional distress in INTJs include:

  • Losing focus and becoming disorganised.
  • Overreacting to the world- emotionally
  • Blaming others and decreasing tolerance and higher irritability
  • Extreme isolation
  • Losing purpose 

What is the saddest MBTI type?

ISFPs ranked highest in terms of sexpereince distress as they are more susceptible to the stressors in their lives such as stress related to parenting and finances. 

Can INTJ cry?

Yes they can cry but oftentimes not willingly and without much awareness of why they are crying because they are often not in touch with their emotional self. 


American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

INTJ Depression Causes and Symptoms. Astroligion. Retrieved on 8th Dec 2021.

Mindaugas. J. INTJ Depression: Rational Mind Versus Irrational Thoughts. intjvision. Retrieved on 8th Dec 2021.

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