This is a continuation of the previous article, which was Part I. Please read that article first.
Mental health is often an underlying factor. Think depression or bi-polar illness. Think anxiety disorders. These are serious conditions that clearly compromise an individual’s ability to negotiate even simple, daily tasks, much less tackle big projects. Think about Frank (example of procrastination in a previous article). If he is depressed significantly more than he knows, Frank will be unable to muster enough energy to complete projects, again until the tension builds and overrides the resistance caused by the mental illness. Depression, and mood disorders in general, take the motivation out of behavior because they require such a great effort to overcome the effects of the mental illness. If mental illness is suspected, consult with a behavioral health professional.
Another possible cause of procrastination is drug or alcohol use.
Drugs are everywhere and teenagers are exposed to them every day at high
schools and colleges. I’ve had kids as young as seven in my office
asking question about funny looking weed-like stuff in plastic bags. When asked where they saw this, one child said, “Some big kid was selling it outside my school.” Whoa! This was just marijuana. There are more
drugs “out there” than parents realize, and if Jim is taking these, his
behavior is going to be compromised. In the world of using drugs, motivations change, intensity of moods change, ability to concentrate
changes. From the drug experience mind set, cleaning rooms and doing
homework are not appealing and even if they were, the ability to complete
such tasks is compromised because the brains needed to wield attention are
polluted. If drugs are an issue, seek a behavioral health professional.
Lastly, personality disorders wreak havoc on behavior and can mimic
procrastination. A personality disorder is a long term, maladaptive
pattern of behavior that is not a mental illness, strictly speaking
(although they are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Illnesses). We have all heard of the psychopath (now called
Antisocial Personality), and more in the news and literature are
Narcissistic and Borderline Personality disorders. There are others, and their nature is too far afield from the scope of this article on procrastination. If you suspect a personality disorder, go to Google
and type in “Personality Disorders” and do a little research. This
category really does require professional training to diagnose, especially
to tease out from simple procrastination. If in doubt, consult with a
behavioral health professional.