Is There a Link Between Depression and Procrastination?
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It makes sense that when we feel sad and depressed we often lack the motivation to do anything productive. You let things slide that you have no gumption to tackle, in other words, procrastination takes hold. So, are depression and procrastination linked?
The Telltale Signs of Depression
Depression is the second most prevalent mental health disorder experienced by Americans, with over 21 million people struggling with this complex disorder. Depression rates are significantly higher among women, impacting 10.5% of women versus 6.2% of men.
The age bracket that sees the highest rates of depression is that of young adults, with 13.1% of them affected by this serious disorder. Sadly, more than one-third of individuals who suffer from major depressive disorder never seek treatment for it.
A depression diagnosis is arrived at when five or more of the following symptoms are present for more than two weeks:
- Feeling sad and hopeless much of the time.
- Losing interest in activities or hobbies you once enjoyed
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or shame.
- Slowed cognitive and motor functions.
- Sudden weight gain or loss.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Unable to concentrate or make decisions.
- Thoughts of suicide or death.
In addition to these diagnostic criteria, other signs of depression might include frequent stomachaches or headaches, mood swings, angry outbursts, and irritability.
What is Procrastination?
Procrastination is a behavior that features an intentional decision to postpone something that needs to be completed. This might be a project at school or work, housework, paying bills, or any task that needs to be accomplished in a timely manner. The famous saying, “Never put off until tomorrow something you can do today,” was inspired to correct the human tendency to avoid work or uninteresting tasks.
While it may be tempting to think of procrastination as a weakness in character or resolve, it may actually be a symptom of depression. One of the most prominent signs of depression is a lackluster demeanor. You seem to have lost interest in living and have abandoned your usual pleasures. You become frozen in your own thoughts and choose to avoid things you don’t want to confront or deal with. You may feel lazy and lack any sense of urgency to get things done… so you procrastinate.
5 Ways Depression and Procrastination are Linked
What is it about being depressed that lends itself to procrastination? Consider these five ways:
- You feel overwhelmed. If you have depression you may become easily overwhelmed by daily tasks and responsibilities. Depression causes fatigue, slowed movements, and sleep problems, which can cause you to feel less able to manage tasks.
- You’ve lost interest. Depression causes you to lose interest in former pleasures, causing a sense of malaise and apathy. When you don’t care about participating in events or activities, you simply put them off or avoid them entirely.
- You have problems with self-regulation. Not everyone who is depressed is also a procrastinator. Rise above the feelings of depression and accomplish the items on your to-do list with a mindset of intention.
- You have trouble planning. When depression takes hold it can be very hard to complete tasks that require multiple steps. You aren’t thinking clearly, and have trouble paying attention, so skipping the project altogether becomes the solution.
- You don’t see the point. Depression can result in catastrophic thinking, such as “Why bother doing x, y, or z if nothing will come of it anyway?” For instance, if you are depressed because you believe your marriage is failing you may not make any effort to salvage it.
How to Ask for Help When You Are Depressed
If you find yourself experiencing depression and procrastination, it is time to reach out for some expert help. But how?
Consider these tips for getting help for your depression:
- Become informed. If you suspect you are depressed it is very helpful to get educated about this mental health challenge. Go online and learn about the signs of depression and any treatment options. Once you acknowledge your depression it may be easier to reach out for help.
- Ask for a referral. The thought of searching blindly through pages of in-network mental health providers may be overwhelming to you. Don’t be shy about asking friends who have seen therapists for referrals. You can also ask your primary care provider to recommend a psychiatrist.
- Ask for emotional support. Once you do select a therapist you may find it hard to take that first step. If you feel nervous about making the call and setting up the appointment, ask a friend to sit with you. They might even be willing to go with you to your first consultation.
What is Depression Treatment?
- Psychotherapy. In one-on-one talk therapy, you can explore the issues that may be playing a role in depression. It might involve an adverse life event, such as the death of a loved one, a job loss, or divorce. Or, you may have unresolved trauma from your childhood. CBT is very helpful in treating depression, as it helps you examine negative self-talk or thought distortions.
- Group therapy. During group therapy sessions you can to discuss common experiences with others, which provides a source of peer support. A licensed therapist guides the members through discussions of various topics.
- Medication. In many cases, patients with depression benefit from antidepressant drug therapy, which can help stabilize and manage symptoms. The doctor will select a drug that he or she feels is a good fit, and then try it for 4-6 weeks.
- Other therapies. Alternative therapies can augment the results of traditional interventions. These might include TMS therapy, biofeedback, EMDR, and holistic methods such as yoga, journaling, art therapy, and mindfulness training.
Don’t give in to depression and procrastination when you can learn to manage these challenges. Reach out for help today.
Elevation Behavioral Health Residential Mental Health Center
Elevation Behavioral Health offers a safe, serene and intimate setting to help those with depression begin to heal. If you are experiencing the symptoms of depression reach out to us today at (888) 561-0868.