Tail of the Curve

Lots of things relating to addiction fall somewhere on a bell-shaped curve, sometimes called a normal curve or a normal distribution.


Take Intelligence Quotient (IQ) for example. Most addicts, like the general population, are about close to the mean IQ, around 100. About 68%, over two-thirds, are between 1 standard deviation below the mean (μ − σ) and 1 standard deviation above (μ + σ), or IQ 85 to 115. About 95% are within two standard deviations of the mean (IQ 70 to 130). Fully 99.73% are within three standard deviations (IQ 55 to 145).

For those in the tail of the curve where there are fewer and fewer addicts who have that high (or that low) an IQ, they will find it harder to fit in to programs that are designed more for the average addicts.

Defenses of high IQ addicts become very sophisticated. They are very challenging to sponsors as well as counselors and other therapists. Low IQ addicts tend to have much simpler, concrete defenses. They are often very suspicious of those who are a lot more intelligent, usually for good historic reasons. Both groups in the tails of the curve will find added challenges in recovery.


Most eating addicts start their recovery above their ideal weight, but as you get a lot higher than normal Body Mass Index (BMI), things relating to weight and weight loss become increasingly difficult to manage. It works on the other end also, as you get to an unusually low BMI. Being in the tail of the curve on weight is another complication.

Tail of the curve, see also: Addcition, Anorexia nervosa, Coping skills, Delusion, Mental aspects, Obesity, Paradoxes, Physical aspects, Weight.

Updated 14 Oct 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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