Are Boredom And Depression Related?

Updated September 6, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Some people might say they are bored when they’re actually depressed. There is a difference between feeling bored and feeling depressed, but knowing when you need help for depression might not always come easily. For example, you might say to yourself, “I wish I had more friends”, or “I wish I had something to do on Friday night”, but you may need to consider whether you’re really just bored or if there’s something more serious going on. 

If you were bored, it might make sense to call a friend and make plans to go out. However, when you are depressed, there could be a physical and/or psychological reason why you cannot pick up the phone and set a date with friends. Depression may leave people feeling frozen or powerless over their own circumstances.   When people do recognize that they are experiencing depression, some might be afraid to seek help. It could be helpful to keep in mind that depression is nothing to be embarrassed about, and treatment is available.

What Is Boredom?

Is It Boredom Or Something More?

Boredom is defined as an emotional or psychological experience when an individual is left with nothing to do. People may be overwhelmed with work or have so little to do that they are bored. 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. Even so, being bored is a mental state that many find unpleasant or lackluster. Most people desire to find relief from boredom. When people feel bored, they may seek to feel a sense of joy and excitement. 

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that may cause a significant loss of interest in everyday activities 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 persistently. However, some medical professionals have noted that depression can lead to significant phases of creativity. This is more common in bipolar disorder.

To be diagnosed with depression, a person must have at least five symptoms lasting for at least two weeks. Some of the symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of 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 activities that you used to enjoy
  • 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
  • Losing or gaining weight without trying to

People living with depression may see patterns of depression that change with the seasons. This is known as 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, for example.

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 following the trauma or later in life.

Can Children Be Depressed?


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

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. 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 distant from normal social activities, you may want to have them evaluated for childhood depression. The main symptoms of childhood depression can vary from child to child. Many times, depression in children goes undiagnosed because it is passed off as typical childhood changes. Puberty is often to blame, as well as adults assuming the child may feel bored. Some may also experience birthday depression, but that often gets left unnoticed. However, whether your child acts out, demonstrates 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 help for a child who has these symptoms of depression may require mental health intervention, which could include therapy and/or medication. Consider that depression is a treatable condition, and no child should experience it in silence.

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 may be best to seek a medical professional's advice. Another helpful treatment for depression is counseling. Counseling can be pursued 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 uncover 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 to be aware of:

  • 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. 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 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 experiencing premenstrual syndrome.

Are Boredom And Depression Ever Related?

Is It Boredom Or Something More?

Typically, depression and boredom are not related. Depression is a serious mental health disorder. Boredom, on the other hand, is simply feeling unstimulated.

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

Depression is something that should be taken seriously. Boredom tends to be a fleeting feeling that doesn’t warrant immediate concern. 

When (And How) To Seek Therapy

When evaluating your mental health, it could be important to remember the difference between boredom and depression. Boredom is a common, everyday occurrence; depression is a mental illness characterized by persistent, long-term sadness, hopelessness, or dread. If you think you might be experiencing depression, consider seeking professional mental health services. 

People experiencing severe symptoms of depression might have a hard time seeing a therapist in person. Extreme fatigue or lack of motivation could keep them from getting out of bed or picking up the phone to make an appointment. In these cases, online therapy may be more feasible. This form of therapy is available from the comfort of your home, and appointments can be made online. Some people report that an internet-based therapeutic environment is also more conducive to discussing symptoms. 

Online therapy has been proven effective in treating depression. A recent study highlighted the positive effects of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) on symptoms of anxiety and depression. 


While boredom is a normal part of everyday life, depression is much more serious. If you recognize any of the symptoms of depression in your day-to-day life, consider reaching out for support. You don’t have to manage these symptoms alone. Get started with Regain today. 

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