Are Boredom And Depression Related?

Updated May 12, 2021

Many people say they are bored and do not know what to do, but they are depressed in actuality. There is a difference between feeling bored and feeling depressed, but knowing when you need help for depression does not always come easily. Sure, you can say to yourself, I wish I had more friends, or I wish I had something to do on Friday night, but have you ever considered that you might be in a depressive funk? If you were bored, it would make sense to call a friend and make plans to go out. However, when you are depressed, there is a physical reason why you cannot pick up the phone and set a date with friends. Depression leaves people in a state of not knowing how to get out of their own way. It takes over you so much that many people don’t even realize that they are acting unusual. When people do recognize that they are experiencing depression, some are afraid to seek help. Always keep in mind, depression is nothing you should be embarrassed about and help easy to find.

What Is Boredom?

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Boredom is part of a sequence of feelings that people use to express how they feel. People may be overwhelmed with work or have so little to do that they are bored. They may say that they are bored to death. While they will not actually die, they are expressing how bored they feel.

Boredom is defined as an emotional or psychological experience when an individual is left with nothing to do. The person may not be interested in where they are or their surroundings; they may also feel a sense of exhaustion or that they are in a dull or unstimulating environment.

Science does not correlate boredom with depression. While being bored is a mental state that many find unpleasant or lackluster, the time or event they may be attending leaves people with a noted lack of stimulation. Most people desire to find relief from boredom. When people feel bored, they knowingly seek to feel a sense of joy and excitement. These people do not want to feel bored any longer, and they typically find something to do to reverse their boredom.

What Is Depression?

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Depression is a mood disorder that causes a complete loss of interest and a persistent feeling of sadness. While it is normal to have short phases of symptoms that mimic depression, those who experience chronic depression have these symptoms nearly all the time. However, some medical professionals have noted that depression can lead to significant phases of creativity. This is more common in bipolar disorder, which will be discussed later.

To be diagnosed with depression, a person must have at least five symptoms for at least two weeks.

Some of the symptoms that lead to being diagnosed with depression include:

  • Feeling tired even if you slept all night and woke up within the last hour or so
  • Having feelings of anger or incredible frustration
  • An overwhelming feeling of sadness
  • Trouble focusing and concentrating on routine tasks
  • Feeling irritable
  • Having long bouts of unhappiness regardless of the joy others around you may be experiencing
  • Loss of interest in fun activities that you used to enjoy and participate
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Having a lack of energy
  • Feeling anxious in crowds, around strangers, or among people that you have known for years.
  • Feeling a desire to self-isolate
  • Feeling worthless or guilty often
  • Loss or gaining weight without a change in diet

People who are depressed may see patterns of depression that charge with the seasons. This is known as a seasonal affective disorder.

Some people also experience pain with their depression; this is a physical aspect of the disorder. People with depression associated pain may have joint pain, back pain, stomach issues, and appetite changes.

Why Am I Depressed?

Depression is often related to a change in brain chemistry. Specifically, serotonin and norepinephrine are associated with depression symptoms. If you experience a decrease in either of these chemicals, it may cause depression.

Other causes of depression can be related to physical, sexual, mental, or emotional abuse. Those who experienced abuse as a child or adolescent may experience depression symptoms immediately or later in life.

Can Children Be Depressed?

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Children can experience depression, just like adults. While children and adolescents experience hormonal changes as they grow, childhood depression is of different causation.

If you notice that your child is unusually sad or is no longer participating in activities that they once enjoyed, it may be time to take them to the pediatrician to see if depression may be to blame. If your child has never been around many other children, you may not realize that they do not like to engage in activities or do their necessary schoolwork. While comparing children is often cautioned against, if you notice a significant difference between your child and other children in similar age ranges, this may warrant further investigation.

How Can I Tell If My Child Is Depressed?

If your child becomes so distant from normal social activities, you may want to have them evaluated for childhood depression. It is a treatable condition, and no child should experience it in silence.

The main symptoms of childhood depression can vary from child to child. Many times, depression in children go undiagnosed because they are passed off as typical childhood changes. Puberty is often to blame, as well as adults assuming the child may feel bored. However, whether your child acts out or demonstrate angry behavior, seems sad often, or has dramatic mood changes, they may be depressed. You should always discuss these symptoms with your family doctor.

It is important to catch signs of depression early. As they get older, children may start to self-medicate by using drugs or alcohol in an attempt to change their mood. This can begin as early as age 12. Getting a child who has these feelings into in-person or online counseling is a crucial way to help them combat depression.

Treatment For Childhood And Adult Depression

The treatment for children and adults, who experience depression, is similar. If there is chronic and significant depression, it’s best to seek a medical professional's advice.

Another helpful treatment for depression is counseling. Seeing a counselor can be done in conjunction with other treatments or alone.

Often, seeing a psychiatrist or family counselor once or twice a week can help you or your child find the source of depression and the best ways to manage depression symptoms.

You could also choose to see a therapist in-person or online. ReGain has licensed mental health professionals who stand ready to help you right away.

How Many Different Kinds Of Depression Are There?

There are several types of depression that you should be aware of and take seriously.

  • Persistent depressive disorder lasts for at least two years. 
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a condition found in children and adolescents. It consists of periods of intense outbursts, irritability, anger, and crying. Their reactions tend to be over minor occurrences with large responses. A child without DMDD may have a strong reaction occasionally. However, children with this mood disorder have frequent outbursts. It is important to note if your child shows remorse for their behavior after they calm down from an outburst. Regret is a key distinction between DMDD and other mood disorders.
  • Bipolar or unipolar depression is a mood disorder when the person has significant high and low feelings. Sometimes these moods can last for weeks before swinging to the opposite emotion, and other times moods can change day to day or several times a day. 
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder and premenstrual syndrome are associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle. Women who have premenstrual dysphoric disorder have more intense and severe mood changes than the typical person who is going through premenstrual syndrome.

Is Boredom And Depression Ever Related?

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Typically, depression and boredom are not related. Depression is a psychological condition that should be taken seriously. Boredom, on the other hand, is feeling like there is nothing fun happening.

The key difference between the two is someone not feeling like doing anything versus knowing what they can do. While this may seem like one-in-the-same, they are two very different things.

If you ask a bored person to play a game, they may be interested in playing something, just not the game you suggested. However, if you ask a person who is depressed to play a game, they may pass on any suggestion stating they want to be alone or do not feel up to getting out of bed.

Depression is something that should be taken seriously. While not everyone will experience it, almost all people know someone that has dealt with a medical condition.


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