Friday, September 2, 2011

Other Causes of Procrastination-Like Behaviors-Part I

These two articles are part of a group of articles about procrastination, all written by an outpatient psychologist. Previous articles explain the relationship between conflicts, ambivalence, anxiety, avoidance, etc.; all of which might be read in order to fully understand the content of the current article.

To continue...

Sometimes, people go through lots of therapeutic steps and still procrastinate. They understand the conflicts, the ambivalence, the anxiety and everything else and still procrastinates. Then what?
The answer is that we missed something. There is some dynamic or other behavior that is not visible, still gumming up the works. In one of the previous articles, Jim (an adolescent) didn't want to clean his room or do his homework. What other issues might there be that could explain. It turns out there are several major possibilities.
One is ADHD. This is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and is a neurological disorder that manifests as the inability to pay attention to consistently low stimulation activity. Other symptoms are distractibility, disorganization, usually impulsivity and often some hyperactivity (fidgeting, constantly moving or climbing, etc.). The ADHD mind set does not easily lend itself to cleaning rooms and paying attention to homework. Paying attention and being still for ADHD kids is actually painful and is usually avoided by self-creating stimulation, usually not of the parent-approved kind. If this is the underlying cause of procrastination consult with a behavioral health professional. While ADHD behaviors look like procrastination on the surface, they are really reflective of an underpowered braking system in the brain. In Jim's case, he couldn't stop distracting impulses from taking him off task. This looks like procrastination because "things" aren't done on time, but the culprit is not so much suppression of underlying conflicts, but faulty wiring.
Another possible cause of procrastination is ODD. This is
Oppositional Defiant Disorder. ODD is also a behavioral condition,
characterized by excessive negativity, non-cooperative behaviors other
than those normally ascribed to certain ages (think "terrible two's," or
teen rebellion, which are normal). ODD, like ADHD, is frequently seen
as a co-morbid condition; that is, one that co-exists as a separate
disorder alongside another disorder such as ADHD or depression. In this
case procrastination-like behavior might really be the expression of a mood disorder, or some chronic, deep-seated environmental stressor, like a pesky younger sister who lives to frustrate her older brother, or parents who prefer such a sibling over Jim. If this is the case, see a behavioral health professional or read "How To Change Children's Behavior (Quickly)."
-Dr. Griggs

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