If you’re asking yourself this question, don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are so many people who are also confused whether their lack of motivation is caused by depression or just plain laziness. How can you differentiate between the two?
Depression is defined as a mood disorder where you experience loss of interest in activities and persistent feelings of sadness. When you are depressed, this could affect your ability to function, which could prevent you from doing normal everyday tasks like cleaning the house, taking care of yourself, or being on time for work.
On the other hand, the definition of laziness is the unwillingness to do a task that makes you uncomfortable or requires effort and energy even if you have the ability to do so. For example, you’re lazy so you are not cleaning the house, shaving your beard, or waking up early.
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Differentiating depression and laziness can be tricky because if you look at the two conditions, the end-result are somewhat similar, however, the cause of why they take place and the motivation behind them are different.
Depression vs Laziness: A Matter of Choice
You need to clean the house but you just can’t find the energy to do so. Are you depressed or lazy? You need to get a haircut but you’ve been putting it off. Are you depressed or lazy? Your friends are having a dinner party but you don’t feel like going out of the house. Are you depressed or lazy?
These are just some of the common questions that can boggle the mind. At first glance, it’s not quite easy to determine whether you are making your decision because you’re really depressed or you’re just using depression as an excuse for your laziness.
How can you tell if you’re just lazy or if you’re really depressed? While there are several factors that can influence the definitive answer, one way to differentiate between the two is the “choice” factor. What does this mean?
When you’re depressed, you lack the energy to do things because you can’t shake off the extreme feelings of sadness, grief, and misery. You feel so hopeless that you don’t care anymore about what’s around you, how you look, or whether you’re acting normally because you’re consumed by your depression. For some people, even if they want to do something, they just physically can’t.
Contrary to this, laziness is choosing not to do something because you don’t want to, not because you can’t. You are consciously choosing to not do something because of the effort involved. When you’re lazy, you usually have the ability to do something else that requires less effort.
For example, someone who’s depressed may find it hard to come to work because he feels hopeless and miserable about his job so he does not want to face another miserable day at work. In contrast, someone who’s lazy absents himself from work because he’d rather stay at home watching TV and video games.
Self-Check: Depressed Or Just Being Lazy?
If you’re still unsure whether you’re depressed or lazy, you can ask yourself some questions to get a better understanding of your current state of mind.
How long have you been feeling this way?
Are you just feeling this way for one or two days? Or have you been struggling with this condition for more than two weeks? According to the American Psychiatric Association, you have to feel unmotivated for at least two weeks for clinical depression to be diagnosed.
Depression is usually more persistent and it affects your overall energy and outlook in life. While it’s true that someone can be lazy for a long, long time, laziness is usually focused only on specific activities.
What is causing your lack of motivation?
People suffering with either laziness or depression are often unmotivated to do stuff. If you find yourself struggling with this, ask yourself why.
Do you lack motivation because you’re sad and miserable or are you unmotivated because you’d rather do something else?
Someone who’s depressed will find it impossible to gather the energy to do anything, while a lazy person has the energy but is just unwilling to do it.
Do you have the ability to do pleasurable activities?
One of the notable differences between being lazy and depressed is the ability to enjoy things that provide pleasure. If you’re lazy about doing something, you can still usually do something else that requires less effort or more enjoyable. For example, you’d rather party with your friends than clean your house. Or you keep putting off cleaning your yard because you’d rather binge-watch reality TV.
On the other hand, depressed people usually can’t muster any enthusiasm to do things that they normally enjoy. This means that not only are you not able to clean your house, you also can’t find pleasure in partying or watching your favorite shows.
Depression is a common condition associated with people struggling with substance abuse issues. If you or a loved one is having substance abuse problems, help is available.
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