A person who wants to know how to tell if they're lazy or depressed

What’s The Difference Between Laziness and Depression?

Mental health disorders are widely stigmatized, as is help-seeking. Largely the result of misunderstandings, attitudes that perpetuate negative and judgmental ideas about mental health struggles can be extremely damaging. Many believe that a mental illness is a weakness or that people who have one are lazy, lack willpower, or have a character flaw. It is no wonder so many people do not speak up about their struggles, which means they don’t get the mental health treatment that is available and that they need to live full, productive lives. If you are wondering how to tell if someone is lazy or depressed, you may simply need some factual information to help you understand.

To learn more about the stigma around mental health disorders and how to get help or support a loved one in seeking proper mental health treatment, contact Promises Behavioral Health by submitting the Promises online contact form or calling us at 844.875.5609. We will answer any questions you have about the symptoms of depression or any other mental health disorder that concerns you.

Rethinking the Language

The word lazy contains inherent judgment. Whether someone takes a day off due to burnout or struggles to find motivation due to depression, when someone brings the word lazy into the conversation, compassion goes out the window. If you worry that someone you know is lazy, or if you question your own inability to find the motivation to do the things you need to do before you jump to the conclusion that laziness is the culprit, learn a little about the other possibilities.

If you no longer have the get-up-and-go to make it to work on time or find yourself procrastinating everything on your to-do list because you can’t seem to make it off the couch, and yet binging your favorite sitcom all day leaves you feeling worse, not better, laziness may not be the issue at all. You might be experiencing depression.

How to Tell if Someone Is Lazy or Depressed?

Let’s look at a few of the symptoms of depression to see how the confusion might happen:


A symptom of depression in nearly everyone with this diagnosis, genuine fatigue may be mistaken for laziness when no amount of rest or sleep seems to eliminate the exhaustion.


Many people who used to derive great pleasure from certain activities lose interest in just about everything. If you no longer have any interest in the things you are passionate about, it could be depression.

Lack of Motivation or Energy

This sounds like the definition of laziness, and yet when you suffer depression, it is a sign of the illness, nothing more. The cloud that fills your consciousness during depression muffles your ability to think about doing anything—let alone actually doing it.

Inability to Start or Complete Tasks

Do you find yourself never even getting started on the things you know you have to do? Whether a work project or the laundry, are things piling up? Or, if you do start, does the task sit unfinished for long periods of time, like wet laundry in the washer or a half-written report? These are classic signs of depression.

You Can’t Concentrate

f you have to read the instructions on the back of the mac and cheese box five times because you keep losing focus, this can get in the way of finishing even simple tasks. Different from mere distraction, like when you lose the thread of a podcast because you are thinking about what you need at the store, the inability to concentrate can feel like brain fog that never clears.

Contact Promises Behavioral Health for Support for Depression

Wondering how to tell if you’re lazy or depressed? If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, consider these two indicators that it’s depression, not laziness:

  • Can’t meet basic responsibilities – If someone you know, or yourself, cannot take care of the basics, like holding down a job, tending the children, and completing daily tasks, this is a warning sign to have a mental health evaluation.
  • A sign of change – Is what you’re seeing something new? Or has this person always been this way? If a once energetic person who met their responsibilities and enjoyed their pastimes suddenly cannot get anything done, this is a shift in mental health, not personality.

Call Promises to schedule a mental health evaluation. It’s the only way to make a positive diagnosis, but once you know what you are dealing with, a combination of medication and therapy can start to shift your symptoms of depression very quickly. Reach out today via the Promises online contact form or by calling 844.875.5609.

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