Before delving into the minute details, let’s cover the basics first.
The following article will discuss what causes depression and procrastination, how they are related to one another and offer some resources to help you overcome these behaviors and their adverse effects!
What is depression?
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect anyone. It is usually caused by genetic, biological, environmental, psychological, or social factors.
Depression may be due to the person’s perception of events (i.e., “I don’t have any friends.”), or it may occur with no identifiable cause (“I just feel this way”).
There are effective treatments for depression, including therapy and medication.
Procrastination is defined as failing to do what you know you should do to get something done more efficiently later on, such as putting off until tomorrow what could be accomplished today!
This bad habit has been linked with anxiety and impulsiveness, but its causes are not well understood.
Like depression, it may be caused by various factors, including the person’s perception of events. Currently, procrastination is poorly understood and challenging to treat.
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, individuals who suffer from depression are more likely to be chronic procrastinators than those without this condition.
In addition, it mentioned that individuals who are chronic procrastinators are more likely to feel depressed.
These results indicate a link between depression and procrastination, and this connection may provide insight into the nature of these two well-known phenomena.
What causes depression?
Many theories about the root cause of this mental illness, but most sources agree that both biological and environmental factors contribute to its development.
Biological factors include genetics, neurotransmitter imbalances (such as low serotonin levels), hormones, and circadian rhythms.
Environmental factors may include a history of traumatic events/abuse, social rejection, or family problems. Depression has also been shown to run in families, which means that inherited genes can cause it.
Psychologists have developed different types of classifications for depression to understand its causes and effects better.
The most well-known classification system is known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which outlines five types of depression:
- Major depressive disorder (MDD),
- Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia),
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder,
- Substance/medication-induced depressive disorder,
- And mood disorder due to a general medical condition.
The first four types listed above are classified as depressive disorders, but they vary in severity and may be caused by different factors.
However, the fifth type includes depressive symptoms caused by a medical condition such as a stroke or Parkinson’s disease.
This type of depression affects more than 10 million Americans each year, and it is believed that this number will increase due to the growing elderly population in the United States.
While types classify depression, it can also be divided into two different categories:
Major depression is characterized by extreme changes in mood, energy levels, and behavior.
The symptoms of this type of depression may include thoughts of suicide or self-harm, weight loss/gain, insomnia/hypersomnia, fatigue, loss of concentration, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and recurrent thoughts about death/suicide.
Persistent depressive disorder is often referred to as dysthymia. It is a long-term form of depression that does not meet the criteria necessary for major depressive disorder.
Its symptoms are milder than those associated with major depression, but they last longer. In some cases, the symptoms of dysthymia can continue for a person’s entire life.
What is procrastination? While there are different types of procrastination (e.g., active avoidance vs. passive delay), most individuals consider it a form of self-regulatory failure.
It is the practice of performing tasks at the last minute, which may lead to stress and contribute to feelings of guilt.
Research indicates that procrastination is common in students, who tend to put off studying for exams until the night before or wait until the day of an exam to study.
Image: Vicious Cycle of Depression and Procrastination
Recent research has revealed a link between these two concepts, which means that depression may lead to procrastination and vice versa.
Additionally, the types of procrastination (e.g., active avoidance vs. passive delay) may be related to different types of depressive behavior.
There are many reasons for procrastination, but depression is one of the most common. A study of 4,000 adults in 2013 found that nearly half say they are more likely to procrastinate when they are depressed. It’s not clear why this is, but here are some possibilities:
- Some people say they don’t want to do anything at all when they’re feeling depressed, so procrastinating can be an easier option than doing something that isn’t fun.
- For some people, depression might feel like a burden that makes it hard to get things done. And for some people who have perfectionistic tendencies before their depression starts, procrastination might seem like the only way they can avoid failing at everything on their to-do list.
When people procrastinate, their brain associates that behavior with the promise of something more fun or exciting down the road.
So, they’ll choose to do that activity instead of doing what they should be doing right now–even after their depression has passed.
Image: The Cycle of Procrastination 1: Perfectionism/Fear of Failure
It’s easy to see how people who are depressed could start engaging in this type of behavior, but what’s harder to explain is why some people who aren’t depressed also put things off.
In our society, depression and procrastination are prevalent. While there is a link between these two concepts, it’s essential to understand the different behaviors to break this cycle.
For instance, active avoidance may be caused by guilt or feeling like you’re not good enough when depressed. In contrast, the passive delay is often due to low motivation levels from being emotionally drained.
It can lead to less productivity which then leads back into the depressive spiral again and again until we get help!
To put an end to this vicious cycle, seek professional advice such as therapy if necessary and utilize some of the resources provided here about how best to combat both behaviors with productive techniques that work for you!