Distinguishing between being demotivated and being depressed is crucial for professional adults who may encounter periods of low motivation or mood. While these two states may exhibit some overlapping symptoms, they have distinct characteristics that can help differentiate them.

Feeling demotivated refers to a temporary lack of motivation, drive, or enthusiasm in performing tasks or pursuing goals. In other words, this is a normal experience that the majority of us will experience from time to time. Essentially, demotivation is a ‘normal’ variation of depression, rather than clinical depression. Demotivation is often situational and can result from factors such as burnout, boredom, or a sense of being overwhelmed. When someone is demotivated, they may experience a decrease in energy and interest, but these feelings are typically specific to certain areas of life or work. Demotivation can be addressed through Coaching-Psychology by identifying the underlying causes, re-evaluating goals, seeking inspiration, or making changes to one’s routine or environment.

Depression, on the other hand, is understood as a Mental Health Disorder characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities. It goes beyond mere demotivation and affects various aspects of a person’s life, including work, relationships, and overall well-being. Depression can manifest in physical symptoms such as changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, and even thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Unlike demotivation, depression is a prolonged state that can persist for weeks, months, or even years. An individual not being able to function in day-to-day life is an indicator of Depression, which often requires interventions such as therapy and/or medication, for effective management.

Coaching-Psychology Practitioners, with master or doctorate training, can help you manage and overcome demotivation in your life by helping you to understand your experience, normalise it, identify the causes, and overcome this challenge.

If you are experiencing persistent symptoms that go beyond a temporary lack of motivation and are impacting your daily functioning, it is important to seek support from a professional such as your GP, Psychotherapist or Clinical Psychologist. They can help assess your condition, provide an accurate diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment options. A master or doctorate trained Coaching-Psychology Practitioner will help you decipher if your experience is potentially beyond a demotivated state (i.e., normal variation of depression) and where you can get further professional help, if you so wish.

In summary, while demotivation is often transient and tied to specific circumstances, depression is a more serious and enduring mental health condition. Recognising the difference between the two is vital for seeking appropriate support and taking steps toward improved well-being.

Article written by Danny Mc Enery, a Cognitive Behavioural Coaching-Psychology Practitioner, who specialises in helping professional clients overcome normal variations of Stress, Anxiety and Demotivation.