When procrastination grows so prevalent that it becomes a personality trait, its severity is said to be chronic. In this form of procrastination, the problem has become a generalized habitual self-destructive pattern. Putting things off has become a core habit. The chronic procrastinator cannot get anything accomplished on time, resulting in serious career struggles, persistent financial problems, and a diminished quality of life. Chronic procrastination may cause psychological disability and dysfunction in many dimensions of life, and may result in a persistent sense of shame and low self-esteem. It may be that the procrastinator's parents never forced him to do homework and other tasks, and since some scientists assume that every form of behaviour is a learned one, this spoiling environment could have coined his personality. The solution is for the procrastinator to rebuild his behavior complex upon the foundation of a new core habit of taking action. Unfortunately, the procrastinator is prone to procrastinate this too, so the condition of chronic procrastination usually continues until the procrastinator cannot bear it any longer, and seeks out help or spontaneously realizes the willingness and determination to change his or her ways.
Many individuals who consider themselves "chronic procrastinators" are actually suffering from an underlying mental health problem such as depression or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). These individuals frequently do not understand why they cannot "get it together", and can become resigned to a life of struggle, frustration, and underachievement. There is, unfortunately, widespread ignorance about this problem, even amongst mental health professionals, some of whom see procrastination as simply a "bad habit".
In addition, some people are predisposed to monotropism, a condition associated with autism in which there is a tendency to allocate attention to one task at a time, and to be less able than usual to multi-task or allocate segments of time for different priorities as may be needed. This may stem from many causes, including obsessional disorders and Asperger syndrome. To these individuals, tasks perceived as less important or less urgent may be excessively deferred behind other tasks which receive undue attention or priority.
These disorders can be treated with medication and psychotherapy, whereby the individual can learn new behaviors and achieve a greatly improved quality of life. Thus it is important for people who chronically struggle with debilitating procrastination to see a trained therapist or psychiatrist to see if an underlying mental health issue may be present.
Procrastination and addictionEdit
Severe procrastination and the intense desire to escape that comes along with it, can lead to addiction such as internet addiction or computer addiction. In this instance the individual has a compulsion to avoid reality by surfing the web or playing video games (see Game addiction) or looking at pornography (see Pornography addiction).
Although these are relatively new phenomena, some are already being considered as valid psychiatric diagnoses by mental health professionals.
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