Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Can Boredom Cause Depression?

Depression is an increasingly worldwide problem, and one that is still not fully understood by the medical profession, or the general public. More research is needed into the cause and problems posed by this illness, because it can have far-reaching detrimental effects on people.

What Causes Depression?

With proper help, depression can be successfully conquered, but what causes depression? Some life-events can be identified as triggers, such as a traumatic event, an illness, the loss of a loved one, and even a genetic deposition to mental illness. One of the under-looked causes of depression is boredom. In the short term, boredom is not a problem, but when an individual is bored for a long stretch of time, it indicates there is an underlying unhappiness with the way their life is going. So it’s no surprise that boredom is not only a symptom of depression, but in the long-term can even cause it.

What is Boredom?

Boredom is a diminished interest in the world, and activities that take place.  It can be described as a lack of excitement, or a disinterest in life. These are also symptoms of depression, which makes the boredom/depression distinction difficult.

There are many other symptoms of boredom that parallel depression, such as:
  • Going to sleep. An attempt to shut out the world
  • Listlessness. A feeling of malaise and dissatisfaction. An ‘I can’t be bothered’ feeling.
  • Substance abuse. An overuse of alcohol, or other substances such as cigarettes, food or drugs to numb feelings.
When Boredom Turns into Depression.

Depression is a medical state of total hopelessness, rather than a temporary lack of interest. That distinction is important in diagnosing a patient, so that the correct treatment can be applied. If an individual is often bored, then it’s important to take a good look at why. If left undealt with, consistent boredom can become a learned habit, allowing medically defined depression to take a hold unless changes are made for the better.
Consistent boredom can contribute to depression, so the individual should identify why they might feel bored, and what they can do before it develops into something requiring medical attention.

Alleviate boredom by proactively looking to generate some interest in life. Excitement rarely falls into a person’s lap, it needs to be created. If someone is bored with life they should examine their job. If Monday morning fills them with dread, then steps can be taken to forge a new career path. If an individual is unhappy with a relationship, or they are lonely, then a new way forward must be identified. Taking steps to change these worries can transform a life. However, if boredom has already turned into depression, finding the will to change is difficult, and can require medical help.

Medical research shows that some individuals are more prone to boredom, and therefore more prone to resulting depression if left untreated.  This is not only a genetic trait, but can happen through losing a job, and developing severe boredom at home. This boredom can contribute to an already present state of depression, meaning that the individual is unable to function or cope.

Boredom is not only a symptom of depression; it’s a factor in creating it. Everyone should pay attention to their mental health.

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