Giftedness may be misdiagnosed as narcissism, bipolar disorder, OCD, ADD, or other diagnoses.

The below text has been taken from this website:

Understanding the counseling needs of gifted people is important. Being gifted and talented is about more than grades and high IQ. It affects emotions, sensations, energy level, concentration, and imagination as well as other attributes. Most importantly, giftedness does not disappear with childhood. Gifted and talented children grow up to be gifted and talented adults, and sometimes, they need psychotherapy.

A common way to understand the challenges associated with being gifted is to think about a physical equivalent. If you were a gifted and talented athlete, you would be treated with high regard, encouraged to train with others of equal skill, given accolades and encouragement. People would ask about your accomplishments and pat you on the back. Your trophies would be proudly displayed. No one would look at you oddly, or think you were weird. People would be glad to know you.

If you are intellectually gifted, the opposite can be true. You may be thought of as weird or geeky. You may be admonished to fit in and not draw attention to yourself. You may be criticized for alienating others or be perceived as elitist. Your intellectual peers are hard to find, because there isn’t a cultural mechanism to support or celebrate you. You may find yourself feeling lonely and isolated.

Women who place high value on community may fear being socially ostracized. Many gifted people, and women in particular, simply don’t know they are gifted! Or they may have forgotten due to the demands of parenting and partnering, believing that they left their gifted qualities behind in school. If you add being a person of color on top of that, things get even more complicated.

If you answer yes to many of the below, then you might be gifted:

  • Have you been told you are “too sensitive” or “too intense”?
  • Are you a perfectionist with yourself and/or others?
  • Are you easily bored when not mentally stimulated?
  • Do you question rules and authority? Do others think you are a “pain”?
  • Are you curious and perceptive? Do you notice things other people don’t?
  • Is it hard to stay focused on just one thing?
  • Do you have a lot of energy?
  • Do you have an off-beat sense of humor?
  • Is it easier to be alone than be with others? Are you an introvert?
  • Can you entertain yourself easily?
  • Do you feel exhausted or irritated around other people sometimes for no apparent reason?
  • Do you compare yourself to other smart people and decide that you are not as smart as them?
  • Do you have strong feelings about ethics, justice and human suffering?
  • Do you feel different? Do others think you are weird or quirky?
  • Do you like games, puzzles, words, complexity, and/or mathematics?
  • Do you value precision and exactness in work, life and language?
  • Are you sometimes deeply moved, even to tears, by nature or by works of art or music?
  • Do you have a child, parent, or partner who is gifted?

I am very close to someone who is ‘Gifted’ and I am very much aware of the difficulties he faces in his day to day life. It is important for people to be more aware of the down side of being gifted too.

Giftedness may be  misdiagnosed as narcissism, bipolar disorder, OCD, ADD, or other diagnoses.  Gifted people may get depressed given their heightened sensitivity, awareness of injustice, and sense of isolation stemming from a lack of peers and tendency towards introversion. Experience with giftedness can lead to an accurate diagnosis or the removal of an inaccurate one. What if you discovered that there wasn’t anything wrong with you, but rather there was something quite right about you?


12 thoughts on “Giftedness may be misdiagnosed as narcissism, bipolar disorder, OCD, ADD, or other diagnoses.

  1. Are you familiar with the concept of asynchronous development in gifted children? Fascinating stuff! My son is “gifted” (I’m not fond of that term). Raising a gifted child was incredibly challenging, especially with the asynchronous emotional development and just plain that he was smarter than his brain could compensate for…This led to significant issues with anxiety. Also…people often thought he was high-functioning autistic, which he was not (anxiety in a child can present a little bit like high-functioning autism). People are quick to slap familiar labels on things they don’t understand. I appreciate your post pointing that out. And as to my son…He is now in college and finally intellectually challenged and loving learning at a level that meets his needs. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for this post! It’s good to know I’m not the only one that feels this way.

    As an intelligently gifted person myself, the labels that people have given me have become most hurtful. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had less & less tolerance for the injustice, ignorance, & lack of compassion from others. I’m sick of being called crazy & weird.

    However, I do like to freak them out telling them something that will happen. When it does happen, they usually leave me alone. If you want to really make them mad, tell them something about themselves, that they think no one knows.

    Anyways, being gifted makes for a lonely life, & not really fitting in with the rest of society. It’s hard to connect with people who don’t understand your gift.

    I, for one, have always believed autism was a gift from God, to show us how to live & love. It scars society, so they drug them, warehouse them away, & label them as bad. I think, if you look, just a little bit, you’ll see, that their gift is the true meaning God intended for us all. Not our egos or materialistic world.

    I think more people are more gifted than they know for also. Our culture doesn’t teach us how to use it, hone it, or ground ourselves. Which, I suspect that’s why people turn to drinking, drugs & mental health problems.

    Thanks for letting me go on about something I’m passionate about. It’s such joy & comfort to find other like minded people to talk about this with, and not be labeled or judged.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m very glad this post resonates with you and that it was a comfort for you to share your thoughts & experiences. Thanks so much! My husband has an IQ of 160 so I very much know what you mean by the lonely life you can experience. There is 1 person in 10,000 that has his IQ. He talks about the loneliness a lot and how sometimes he just prefers his own company, as the world around him doesn’t get him. I’m an average Joe on the other hand, and it took me a long time to understand my husbands’ needs. I bought a book about it, so I could understand him better. Luckily we connect deeply on an emotional level and the same things in life matter to us, so things are very peaceful. x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG! Almost every point was true for me! My daughter (who was a nightmare to raise) was diagnosed with an extremely high IQ and extreme ADD in her senior year of high school. I accepted that diagnosis at face value because it was a much nicer excuse for all the troubles, meant she probably didn’t have a personality disorder, and it did explain a lot. Maybe she doesn’t truly have ADD it’s just a symptom of being gifted.

    I never thought to consider the same may be true for me.

    So glad I found this post and your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello and thanks for stopping by. The extreme ADD could actually not be true at all, as having a very high IQ means that your 5 steps ahead of everyone else and in a classroom especially, you can get bored easily. This is what my husband has told me who has an IQ off the charts.He hated school and was extremely restless. I’m glad if my blog post helped you make this realisation for your daughter and for yourself of course. Best wishes and thanks for the follow.


  4. Thank you so much for posting this…while reluctant to label myself gifted I strongly identify with many of those listed traits…its a strange loneliness hard to describe to others who dont get why you cry so deeply at beauty and pain..i really appreciate reading this. ♡


    • I am so so glad you could also relate to this.<3 It seems like it has helped a lot of people on here and I am very glad.
      I have been with my husband for 4 years now and can see how extremely sensitive he is to many things and I appreciate his 'gift' more than I understood in the beginning. I also see how difficult and lonely it can be for him and I am glad I am a part of his life. Empathy is so so important and even though I am not 'gifted' myself, we connect on a deeper level as he feels heard and understood.Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


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