Procrastination: A Trauma Response

Dr. Akash Kumar MD

Medical Director at Ann Arbor Psychiatry. Lecturer. Clinician. Research wonk. Board certified Psychiatrist. Passionate psychotherapist. Seeing patients across Michigan with his team.

Dear Readers,

In the ever-evolving landscape of mental health, a groundbreaking stride has been made in the treatment of postpartum depression. The FDA has recently greenlit Zuranolone (Zurzuvae, Biogen/Sage), a pill taken once daily for just 14 days, offering hope to the estimated 1 in 8 women in the U.S. grappling with this condition.

What sets Zuranolone apart? Its rapid action. Traditional antidepressants often demand weeks before their effects manifest. In stark contrast, Zuranolone promises discernible improvements in as few as three days. This swiftness is attributed to its unique mechanism: targeting the hormonal shifts post-childbirth, a root cause frequently sidelined in conventional treatments. By addressing this core imbalance, Zuranolone not only offers relief but also underscores the importance of understanding the deeper intricacies of mental health conditions.

Yet, it’s not just about speed. Zuranolone’s design for short-term intake and its convenient pill form make it a game-changer, especially when compared to other treatments like the IV infusion brexanolone. This innovation is a testament to the blend of holistic understanding and scientific rigor, emphasizing that treatments can be both rooted in evidence and tailored to the individual’s unique needs.

However, as with all medical advancements, it’s crucial to approach with informed caution. While Zuranolone is a beacon of hope for many, it’s essential to understand its suitability on a case-by-case basis, ensuring that the treatment aligns with each individual’s unique circumstances.

In conclusion, Zuranolone’s introduction marks a pivotal moment in mental health care, bridging the gap between holistic understanding and scientific precision. It’s a reminder that when we delve deeper into understanding the root causes, we pave the way for more effective, tailored, and compassionate treatments.

Warmly, Dr. Akash Kumar, MD Ann Arbor Psych

Greetings, this is Dr. Akash Kumar MD writing to briefly touch upon procrastination as a trauma response. In the realms of mainstream psychiatry and therapy, trauma is commonly associated with significant, life-altering events. However, it’s crucial to understand that trauma can also be the result of an accumulation of small, seemingly insignificant negative experiences. Over time, these accumulated experiences can severely impact our mental well-being.

The often-missed psychological depth here lies in the relationship between untreated ADHD and procrastination. Difficulties with executive function (ADHD related or not) can create an atmosphere where our brain fails us repeatedly just when we need it the most. Imagine an impressionable child, still learning about who they are, repeatedly discovering themselves to be seemingly inadequate to tasks others can easily do? And frequently being told it is a character flaw of low discipline? Obviously this can lead to a series of small but emotionally taxing experiences. These experiences teach us to avoid tasks, creating a vicious cycle where we can’t trust our own efforts to bear more fruit than pain, causing us to hide from ourselves and our abilities even further. With the right type of work in psychotherapy, one can learn to interrupt these patterns.

Now, how does this tie into anxiety? Trauma, whether it’s a single event or an accumulation of adverse experiences, can disrupt our brain’s response mechanisms, leading to an overactive stress response system. As a result, we naturally tend to avoid activities or tasks that trigger these uncomfortable feelings – leading to what we often label as procrastination. Worse, we lose trust in ourselves, which causes generalized anxiety. 

It’s important to clarify that not all procrastination is a result of trauma, and not everyone who procrastinates has a history of trauma. However, it’s essential to keep this perspective in mind, especially when we find ourselves engaging in self-criticism for delaying tasks.

Understanding this deeper narrative can help guide the way to healing. As we move forward, let’s remember to treat ourselves with kindness and compassion, acknowledging our struggles without blame.

If you’re grappling with procrastination, consider seeking professional help with therapists and psychiatrists who look beyond the mainstream lens. This can help uncover the roots of your procrastination, providing strategies tailored to your unique experiences and challenges. There is more to ADHD than diagnosing and medicating it (though both are helpful!). 

Remember, life is not a race. It’s perfectly okay to move at a pace that’s right for you. Understanding the underlying causes of procrastination isn’t about finding excuses; it’s about empowering ourselves through deeper understanding, healing, and growth. 

As always, this is Dr. Akash Kumar, encouraging you to delve deeper into understanding your mental health. Because every facet of you matters.