An introvert’s life can be a bit of a challenge.
There are times when you need to get up, go for a run, or eat a cup of coffee, and you don’t know how to do it.
You could be feeling a bit lonely, or depressed, or frustrated, or bored.
If you’re a person who has a hard time with social interactions, or just isn’t comfortable interacting with others, you might be in a bit for trouble.
A new research paper from the University of Washington, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, shows how people with introversion are actually more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than those with extroversion.
The study found that people with an introversion diagnosis, known as introversion-disorder, have a higher risk of experiencing anxiety, depression, and/or obsessive-compulsive symptoms than people with extropversion.
The researchers believe that introversion is a “disorder” in itself that causes people to feel alone, and to struggle to make friends, connect with others and build relationships.
The research has implications for people who are struggling with social anxiety, according to the authors of the study.
“This study suggests that introverts may be more vulnerable to depression and other mental health problems than extropverts,” said Dr. Matthew J. Paltrow, who led the study with Dr. Anupam S. Gautam.
“We think introverts could benefit from a more positive view of their own mental health.”
The researchers looked at data from more than 9,000 people in the U to see if the number of introverts who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety was linked to the severity of those disorders.
The data revealed that introvert patients with depression had a higher incidence of obsessive- compulsive symptoms compared to their extropvert peers.
For those who had both anxiety and depression, the odds of developing anxiety was two times higher than those who didn’t.
And for those who did have anxiety, the prevalence of obsessive compulsive behavior was significantly higher.
“Introversion may be the result of a combination of both anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsions,” said Paltrows.
“It could also be the case that people who suffer from both are more likely than others to experience these symptoms.”
The study also revealed that people suffering from anxiety and obsessive-comprehensive disorder also had a lower likelihood of developing depressive symptoms than those without those conditions.
Dr. Michael A. B. Cohen, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is one of the co-authors of the research paper.
“People with introvert-disordered depression are at a higher rate of having anxiety and depressive symptoms, and it’s not just the people who have anxiety or obsessive compictions, it’s the people with the disorders as well,” he told Business Insider.
“They’re at a greater risk of developing depression.”
The findings are important, as introverts are likely to experience stress, depression and substance abuse.
However, there is a silver lining to the study: introverts also suffer from social anxiety.
“Introverts are also more likely [to experience] social anxiety than extroverts, which makes it difficult for them to feel comfortable in social settings,” said Cohen.
“It may help that introverted people have more friends, and those friends are more supportive and helpful than extradicts,” he added.
The findings were published online in the journal PLOS ONE on May 22, and will be presented to a medical conference in Philadelphia next month.