Young Man Lazy from the Lying on Couch Depressed

Depression and Laziness

We often have had moments where we have experienced low energy levels or felt unmotivated to do anything- especially during moments where we feel like we have lots of stress and responsibilities in our life. During these moments of low motivation, we tend to think that we are only being lazy. After all, both depression and laziness affect our levels of motivation, energy, and productive output. Still today, many people often attribute some symptoms of depression to laziness. It is why many people sometimes get confused as to whether they are experiencing depression or laziness. However, if you find yourself frequently experiencing long periods of “laziness” that impact your daily life, you may want to consider seeking help from loved ones and medical professionals.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a common and serious mood disorder that severely impacts how one feels, thinks, and handles daily life. It often causes sadness, despair, hopelessness, loss of energy, or overwhelming feelings when trying to accomplish everyday tasks. While it is normal for us to feel sad throughout our life, symptoms of depression are more persistent and can occur daily for more than two weeks (without an underlying medical cause).

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?

Some common symptoms of depression may include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiousness, or emptiness
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Finding it difficult to make decisions
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities you typically enjoy doing
  • Increased fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, staying asleep, or oversleeping
  • Changes in weight and/or appetite
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive issues that occur without a clear physical cause (or don’t ease with treatment)
  • Moving or speaking slower than usual
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Avoiding contact with loved ones and avoiding social situations
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Girl Depressed Holds Head Cannot Motivate to Get Thru the Day

How Is Depression Diagnosed?

It’s normal for people to experience feelings of sadness and low motivation throughout their life. However, those feelings can be diagnosed as clinical depression once an individual experiences more intense symptoms that last for two weeks or longer. When visiting your doctor, we highly encourage you to bring up any issues or concerns you may have if you think you may have depression. Your doctor may then ask you to complete a questionnaire and request your family history. They may also perform exams or lab tests to rule out any possible underlying medical conditions. From there, you could both work on finding a mental health professional that could help you form a plan that best suits your needs.

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What Causes Depression?

The direct cause of depression is still unknown. However, research shows that a combination of genetic, environmental, biological, and psychological factors often play a role. Other factors that may play a role include:

  • Age
  • Certain medications
  • Death or loss
  • Gender
  • Genes
  • Major/stressful events
  • Personal problems
  • Serious illnesses
  • Substance abuse
  • Abuse
  • Giving birth
  • Personality
  • Loneliness

What Are the Types of Depression?

People often use the term depression as an umbrella term. However, healthcare providers have different classifications for the types of depression a patient may have. The different types of depression include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (aka Clinical Depression):Major depression is a severe form of depression that often causes intense and overwhelming symptoms that last longer than two weeks. People often feel symptoms nearly everyday and can last for weeks or even months.
  • Bipolar Depression:This is an outdated name that is different from depression. However, it is sometimes used to refer to the periods where people with bipolar disorder get these very low moods or extremely high-energy (manic) periods. During low periods, people may feel symptoms similar to major depression (sadness, hopelessness, or low energy).
  • Perinatal and Postpartum Depression:Perinatal depression occurs during pregnancy and up to one year after having a baby. Meanwhile, postpartum depression only refers to feelings of depression after giving birth. Both types of depression may result from hormonal changes during pregnancy or childbirth that lead to changes in the brain (such as mood swings). Lack of sleep and discomfort may also play a role.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (also known as dysthymia):People often experience depression symptoms and feelings for at least two years. The severity of symptoms can vary each month. Some days may be less intense and then get worse later on. People can also have major depression at the same time.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD):PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (aka PMS) that can lead to physical and psychological symptoms. It affects people a few weeks or days leading up to their period. It can affect an individual by making them experience a level of sadness/depression that gets in the way of living their daily life.
  • Psychotic Depression:Individuals with psychotic depression experience severe depression symptoms (both mental and physical) accompanied by hallucinations or delusions.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):SAD is a type of depression affected by the seasons. This type of depression usually occurs in individuals during late fall and early winter (when there is typically less sun). It typically goes away during the spring and summer (when there is more sun).
  • Situational Depression:Situational depression looks like major depression- but triggered by specific events or situations (such as the death of a loved one). Symptoms tend to occur within 3 months of the event and interfere with one’s daily life.
  • Atypical Depression:Atypical depression is when one’s depression may temporarily go after experiencing a positive event. One may seem like their normal selves or not as depressed as others. This type tends to occur during long episodes of major depression or persistent depression. 

What Is Laziness?

Laziness is a state where someone does not want to get work done or make any effort to do anything even though they can do so. When it comes to laziness, one is also choosing to do nothing. It is also considered a momentary state or an issue of character. However, even laziness is a cultural construct that is often surrounded by stigma and prejudice (especially when living in a society where self-worth is based on productivity).

Young Girl Experiencing Depression Site on Pier Looking Over Lake

Can Laziness Be a Symptom of Depression?

Laziness is not a formal symptom of depression. However, specific symptoms of depression may lead an individual to question whether they are depressed or lazy. For example, some symptoms of depression that may be confused with laziness may include:

  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities you typically enjoy doing
  • Low energy, no motivation, increased fatigue
  • Change is sleep habits (such as sleeping more during the day)
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Slowed movements
  • Avoiding social situations and preferring to stay home or alone
  • Trouble starting or completing daily tasks (such as getting out of bed, doing chores, taking a shower, etc.)

All of these feelings may be mistaken for laziness (especially in younger individuals). However, depression is a serious and debilitating mood disorder that can impact your daily life and overall wellbeing. Unlike laziness, one cannot suddenly decide that they want to start doing things again. It takes time and professional/medical intervention to help a person out of a depressive episode.

Many times, “laziness” may also be a sign of other health conditions. For example, one may feel unmotivated or have low energy levels because of:

  • Exhaustion or burnout from stress and responsibilities in life
  • Nutritional deficiencies, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, substance abuse, etc.
  • A medical condition that causes chronic fatigue (such as an autoimmune disorder or chronic fatigue syndrome)
  • Chronic stress
  • Other mental health conditions (such as anxiety disorders, chronic depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, etc.)
  • Learning disorder
  • Dissatisfaction with life or a sense of purposelessness

How to Cope with Laziness and Depression?

If you suspect that you may be depressed, we highly encourage you to seek help from loved ones and professional help. Schedule a meeting with your doctor. They could help you find a mental health professional. From there, you could work together on creating a health plan that best suits your needs. Treatment can include a combination of psychotherapy and/or medication.

It’s also understandable that one can break out of a depressive episode. However, each small step can help you slowly get back to a better headspace. Here are a couple of things you can do to help you break out of a depressive cycle:

  • Focus on your physical health.Keep up with any appointments with the doctor, dentist, optometrist, etc.
  • Lean on people who support you.Connect with family and friends, communities or organizations you may be a part of or a support group who share the same struggles as you.
  • Try to shift your thoughts to an optimistic outlook. You can use daily affirmations or mediative mindfulness to help you manage and change your thoughts in a more positive direction.
  • Learn how to manage your stress in healthy ways.Engage in relaxing activities (such as yoga, a self-care routine, meditation, art, etc.) to help manage any stress you may feel in your daily life.
  • Reach out for help.If you find yourself slipping into a depressive episode, consider reaching out to a friend or loved one to help remind you of any deadlines- or simply to check in with you. It is also highly recommended that you seek help from a mental health professional. If you have any harmful and concerning thoughts, please consider reaching out to the following numbers for additional help:
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
  • Lifeline Chat:
  • SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator:
  • Try and maintain healthy habits.Even if you feel unmotivated, do your best to eat nutritionally balanced meals, get enough sleep, engage in physical activity, and maintain personal hygiene.

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What Are Some Ways That I Can Motivate Myself?

Besides acting on the recommendations above, you could also:

  • Get out of bed and ready for the day
  • Go for a walk outside
  • Try to engage in hobbies and activities you usually enjoy doing (or start a new one)
  • Stick to a simple routine
  • Find ways to socialize with loved ones
  • Connect with a support network
  • Get enough sleep and stick to a bedtime routine
  • Try to avoid negativity and stressful situations
  • Set small goals and reward yourself
  • Acknowledge and accept the way you feel
  • Practice self-forgiveness


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