Human beings are said to be social animals. The form of interaction, involvement and communication is different for all living beings. The classification based on the same was first given by psychologist Carl Jung, as introversion and extraversion:
- Introversion: People high on this trait prefer spending time by themselves and this energises them. Sounds weird but true. They do not feel comfortable being around many people. For them, a happy time will be when they spend time binge-watching a web-series.
- Extraversion: People high on this trait prefer being around people to energise themselves to find their mental energy intact. To them, a happy day will be being around people and having a hearty laugh over their professor's accent.Another category has been developed which is known as that of Ambiverts. These people have a mix of both, introversion and extraversion personalities. For them social interaction is necessary but till a certain extent, they get discomforted in the presence of people.
Extroverts are social and communicative, they are said to be stimulus hungry, which means that they need to interact with other people on a regular basis to maintain their energy levels and to be active. Introverts are quiet and reserved, they like to live in their confined space. This does not mean that they are boring or isolated, they tend to avoid crowds because they think that they have been over-stimulated. That's the reason why the society thinks that introverts are more prone to depression and other mental problems.
Our society favours extroverts because they are outgoing, which becomes an appealing and ideal form of behaviour. People view the actions of an introvert through the lens of an extrovert that's why they think that being alone for an extended period of time is a symptom of depression. When extroverts are stressed or depressed they want their personal space and a bit of isolation, that's why they misunderstand the solitude of an introvert with depression because that's what they do when they are stressed.
Depression can happen to anyone. If you see the behaviour pattern of an extrovert, they want others attention because regular interactions are basic to their nature. They do not hesitate to share their feelings and emotions with others. Consequently, if they are not able to fulfil their need of optimal interaction they may feel stressed and low. As they are high in the need for affiliation they may also develop feelings of unwantedness.
Introverts may also feel depressed because they find it difficult to interact with others but this isolation cannot hamper them as much as it affects the extroverts. Introverts have a unique way of living and it should not be considered similar to isolation and aloofness. Introverts are less active however their interactions with people are more meaningful. They believe in real friendship and do not trust people easily. I agree that they interact and involve in fewer things but they put their heart and soul in doing that particular thing.
Life is full of challenges and people with different personality traits can develop depression when these challenges become difficult to cope up with. If we say and prove that introverts are prone to depression, then introverts may think that there is something wrong with them. Anyone can be a victim of depression and what matters is how effectively they deal with it.
Coming to Anxiety, it is a general feeling of apprehension about any future event or danger. It is an emotional state that occurs when the threatening event comes closer. Such a feeling cannot be generalised to introversion or extroversion. Anxiety does not occur just because a person has a particular ability to mingle with their surroundings. When you have to submit a particular article in 2 days and you have not researched anything about it. How can this be dependent on the fact that we have a particular way of dealing with other people? It depends on our ability to cope with the situation and also, the amount of time we have for the task at hand. Now let us see what are the research evidence for the above-mentioned fact.
Research and other Evidence
Some studies have suggested a strong link between introversion and depression. This can be due to the fact that introverts are perfectionists by nature and more critical of their abilities. Despite performing to their best of abilities, they are not satisfied with their performance. This leads to mental and physical exhaustion. They worry a lot about what other people think about them which can become a causal factor for anxiety and stress. This can also develop into depression.
In social situations as well, introverts undergo discomfort due to which they go through social anxiety. This also comes from the fact that introverts do not easily adapt to a different social environment. This also results in socially awkward behaviour. It is not that they are not comfortable with interacting but being around with people for a long period of time stresses them out.
According to an article in Psychology Today, it has been found by scientists that introverts process more amount of information than others in a situation. This can help them in seeking an effective cure for mental health problems such as depression.
This was about how introversion or extroversion can influence disorders but can your gender also play a role in it?
A study published online in American Psychological Association's (APA) Journal of Abnormal Psychology stated that women are more likely to be diagnosed with mental disorders. They have found out that women are more likely to internalise or keep brooding over their emotions, thereby making them more vulnerable to anxiety and depressive disorders. The behaviour observed in women includes withdrawal, loneliness and depression. Past researches conducted on this theme indicate that women report more stressful life events than men do.
Men are more likely to externalise or vent out their emotions. This leads to behaviour such as aggression, impulsive, coercive and noncompliant behaviour, according to the study. Thereby, making them more vulnerable towards mental problems such as substance abuse or antisocial disorder.
Anxiety, Depression or take any other mental illness or disorder. I believe these cannot just be restricted to any one personality trait or any gender. It depends on what kind of life changes an individual is going through, how much they can cope with along with the social support available to the person. One should not let any mental problem develop till it reaches the severity level. One should talk it out and seek effective treatment if required.