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Am I Depressed or Lazy?

Difference Between Being Depressed or Lazy

There are still some genuinely awful stigmas associated with having depression. As is familiar with many mental illnesses, people may ascribe character issues to what is, in fact, a chronic illness. Often, those suffering from depression are referred to as unmotivated or lazy when the truth is entirely different. Depression is a psychological disorder that happens against a person’s consent, and no amount of willpower can make it go away.

If you’re questioning whether you’re depressed or lazy, ask yourself if all you lack is motivation. “Laziness” is a matter of choosing not to do a particular activity or activity, but depression is a chronic illness. Laziness may be a momentary state or an issue of character, but it is not a psychological disorder. Further, if you’re concerned you might be lazy, ask yourself if you’re feeling unfortunate, have disengaged from things you used to love, and are having problems with sleep, energy levels, or your ability to concentrate. These are all hallmark symptoms of depression.

Depression and laziness have a lot in common, so many people are mislabeled as lazy. The “L-word” often goes with depression because it is a common depression and mental illness symptom.

Depression and laziness affect motivation, concentration, energy levels, and the quality of work produced. The difference is that depression affects one’s mental health and mood. At the same time, lazy people are unmotivated by things outside their control because they lack self-awareness or insight into what motivates them.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a common psychological illness affecting a little over 8 percent[1] of American adults. It affects all aspects of life, from how you think to how you feel and behave. Not only is depression characterized by deep, unrelenting sadness, but depression also causes people to lose the ability to feel pleasure. As a result, people lose interest in things they once enjoyed, withdraw from social life and relationships, may lose or gain weight without trying, and can suffer from various physical problems.

There is a thin line between being lazy and being depressed. 
There is a thin line between being lazy and being depressed. 

Depression causes a person to feel tired and lethargic. It also ruins one’s ability to be interested in anything, particularly activities that were once enjoyable (anhedonia). Depression causes one’s energy levels to collapse as well, even though they may be sleeping much more than usual. Hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) is one of the most common symptoms of depression.

For a depression diagnosis to be made, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks. The most common symptoms in their respective categories are[3]:


  • Extreme sadness, mostly every day, usually without any identifiable cause
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness, in the absence of any cause
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyable (anhedonia)
  • Feeling cut off or unable to engage with others, activities, or former interests
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Excessive worry, rumination
  • Elevated anxiety
  • Snappishness, irritability


  • Brain fog (muddled or fuzzy thinking)
  • Difficulty concentrating, inability to focus one’s thoughts
  • Diminished attention span
  • Problems with one’s memory
  • Negative outlook (“it’s all my fault, nothing will change, nothing will get better”)
  • Thoughts of suicide

Behavioral and Physical:

  • Persistent lack of energy
  • Restlessness
  • Slowed movements, difficulty with or reduced speed in simple physical tasks (psychomotor retardation[4])
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Social withdrawal
  • Self-isolation

What Causes Depression?

Our thoughts and emotions are regulated by complex chemicals called neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Our nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord, is entirely dependent on these chemicals for proper functioning. Researchers believe that when the production of neurotransmitters falls outside of normal levels, depression and other psychological disorders are the results.

Depression is a mood disorder that often makes people feel a sense of hopelessness and despair. 
Depression is a mood disorder that often makes people feel a sense of hopelessness and despair. 

Without adequate levels of these chemical messengers, our brain works slower and less efficiently. For example, one neurotransmitter, dopamine, is responsible for our ability to feel pleasure. Another serotonin helps us experience and modulate our emotions. We suffer when brain tissue has a problem appropriately responding to or producing neurotransmitters.

When approached in this way, it’s easy to see that although depression is experienced psychologically, it’s very much a physical ailment.

Treatment for Depression

There are several excellent treatments for depression[2], including psychotherapy and medication therapy. Since 2008, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been a rapid, painless, and non-invasive treatment for depression. In TMS, a powerful and precise magnetic field is applied to an area of the brain that regulates mood. Many people experience no side effects and receive lasting relief from depression through TMS.

4 Reasons Why You Might Struggle With Being Depressed or Lazy

As a life coach, laziness reflects that a person’s health and wellness need examination.

  • You may have issues with value linking.

I recently learned of the principles of value linking[5], and I wished I had learned them sooner. Value linking refers to whether you feel that a task aligns with your values.

At work, we’re often assigned tasks that seem mindless or useless. If you get tripped up by value linking, you would probably have difficulty completing an important task for your boss—even if it’s a top priority and due tomorrow—if you think the task has no value.

Most of us can suspend our thoughts around value linking enough to work on projects assigned to us by our superiors. However, some people find it nearly impossible to do work that has little perceived value.

Speaking to your boss about this is essential if you’re a value-linking person. Make sure you ask about why a project or task is so important.

Dig in deep until you can align to the overarching value of a task so you can finally get it done. Otherwise, you’ll reject getting started and continue to procrastinate, and earn the label “lazy.”

  • You’re addicted to social media.

No judgment. I have lost hours to mindlessly scrolling Instagram myself. Social media addiction is a documented issue. Realize that your social scrolling contributes to your mental health in either a positive or negative way.

Focus on reducing your time spent on social media. We will be so distressed to see the long-term effects of apps like Instagram on our mental health in years.

One tip that helps: I like to delete my social media apps on the weekends and after hours. It might take extra time to reinstall them, but it helps me to keep from mindlessly hopping back on. They’re just too addictive! Also, consider muting and unfollowing accounts that make you feel bad about yourself.

  • You may be struggling with substance abuse.

Laziness and depression could be symptoms of a substance abuse problem. Self-medicating can appear laziness (showing up late, missing appointments, ghosting friends), but it’s an addiction problem.

One growing type of addiction is Adderall, a medication meant to help ADHD. People often abuse Adderall to combat laziness because it provides energy and intense focus; however, Adderall addiction can eventually lead to feeling depressed.

  • You’re lazy because you have too much to do.

When you work remotely, you are inundated with work from every angle. Your computer. Your phone. Your Apple watch pings you when your Zoom meeting starts. It’s too much.

I’ve noticed many of my clients respond to this experience of overwhelm with what looks like laziness. They hide. They pull the covers over their head and use their avoidance and unresponsiveness as a way of saying, “I’m overwhelmed.”

How to Encourage People with Depression and Mental Health Problems?

Recognizing that depression can cause physical health problems can help a person to seek treatment and make changes to help manage their symptoms.

In conclusion, Depression is treatable. A doctor may recommend a combined approach, using medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. And most importantly, with the right support, a person can manage both the physical and mental health effects of depression.

One of the best ways to completely deflate and degrade someone with depression is to call them lazy. Language has power when you see someone lazy at work; pause and consider how to inspire them.

Consider swapping out the word “lazy” from your vocabulary altogether. As I mentioned, laziness has a negative connotation and can bring harmful feelings.

Encourage employees and colleagues to schedule downtime into their calendars. Sometimes I call it “thinking time” or moments of space.

It might look like laziness, but it’s the most replenishing time you can put on your schedule. Laziness and depression are both parts of life. Neither is good nor bad.

Depressed or Lazy
Are you depressed or lazy? Depression is manageable, contact us today for personalized treatment and options.

We Level Up Treatment Center provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. In addition, we work as an integrated team providing information if you are Depressed or Lazy, and other aspects of treatment. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our specialists know what you are going through and answer any of your questions.

Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.


[1] CDC –

[2] NCBI –

[3] Major Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved June 4th, 2021, from

[4] NCBI –

[5] NCBI –