Serious motivation issues - could this be autism related?

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Rodland
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28 Sep 2011, 9:25 am

One of my on-line friends has very serious issues with motivation. Could this be related to autism spectrum?

This person (26, m) has suffered and still suffers of long-term depression. But perhaps even worse problem for him is his complete lack of inability when it comes to maintaining motivation to take up any long-term projects.

For example, he has not managed to finish high school despite of being a sort of guy who is interested to read books about social and psychological issues (and everything between). He does not manage to go to work since he finds everything so boring and finds so hard to get on going anywhere at the morning. He has occasionally tried to take some simple job or to restart his studies but it just does not work for him. Negative feelings he gets seem to always grow far too difficult to handle. So he lives with minimum social support incomes despite of being unhappy with this state (I note that despite of he being more or less depressed most of time, this inability to go to work or study is a kind of long term issue which seems not to be resulting from the depression).

He also has some traits which resemble autism spectrum symptoms. He finds it boring to discuss about daily matters with other people. He visits parties occasionally but tends to read books at parties instead of chatting with others. He also finds it annoying that his roommate wants to talk with him about daily matters. He gets easily bored with people which he thinks has been problem in developing friendships.

However, he occasionally gets very interested in something. On some project or some topic. But loses much of his interest soon.

In army he did fairly well for sometime since he was commanded to do things and there was no possibility to refuse. He considered this as a good thing since now he managed to do things instead of just wasting the time. But due to his poor physical condition his career in the army did not last long.

So far, he has not managed to contact any psychiatrist specializing in these kind of issues. There are same kind of issues in his family so it seems to be inheritable.

Does anybody has any idea what actually might be the name of the problem this person has and are there any drugs or other kind of treatment that might help him?



Sefirato
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28 Sep 2011, 11:06 am

DISCLAIMER: Most, if not all of us on here are not professionals - we are people that have these conditions. Do not rely on us as a effective means of diagnosing your friend.

Now, with that out of the way: First things comes to mind is that your friend and I are quite similar in some ways with our struggles of lacking motivation in most things, especially when it comes to working / doing projects / most other stuff except things that interests us. In my opinion, it is not autism that is the problem here when it comes to motivation. It is my belief that he might be exhibiting symptoms that fits with the SCT profile. SCT is "Sluggish Cognitive Tempo", a relatively new name for a disorder that is not an official disorder yet but has been researched on in the last decade or so, with the possibility of inclusion within the DSM-5 diagnostic manual as one of the ADHD-PI problems (or whatever). It is pretty much an Executive Dysfunction problem. I have only recently discovered about SCT less than a month ago, but have known that I have executive dysfunction for quite a while. It has come to define my own issues apart from Autism/Asperger's, and it has been a lifelong struggle.

Fortunately, there is a vid on the matter that was presented by a Dr. Barkley on youtube.

First one is about ADHD and the "Motivational Deficit Disorder, as Barkley describes it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3VuV5Jvazs[/youtube]

The second one is more relevant and was something of an "AHA!" moment for me, may or may not apply to your friend.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF1YRE8ff1g[/youtube]

I have tried to find an appropriate solution to manage these conditions apart from medication and I have not found much of anything except hear some people say "Oh, you're just lazy - go out and do it - you'll see how easy it is!". Trust me, a statement like that destroys the self esteem (whatever little there is in the first place) of someone struggling with Autism/ADHD/Executive Dysfunctioning/SCT. My advice: do not tell your friend that. Give him some peer support as he might not have any. He needs a friend like you.

There are meds that might help with the symptoms of ADHD-PI / SCT, but it won't be a cure. He will have it for his entire life. There are several kinds of meds out there - and they all work differently for different people. Some of them have nasty side effects that makes it almost pointless to take these meds to alleviate the original issues.



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28 Sep 2011, 2:11 pm

Yes, it can be Autism-related, also ADHD-related too. I haven't got ADHD, but I've got AS, and often I struggle with motivation. This is why I don't want my hairstyle changed. It's the lack of motivation I seem to have. I keep on saying, ''I will change my hairstyle'', but I keep putting it off. Besides getting anxious of whether I will like or get on with the new hairstyle or not, I also feel very hesitant of getting a new hairstyle. It will mean having to get up earlier than usual just to straighten it (which is time consuming), and then wind will blow it all out of place, and I can't be arsed with it (God knows how other girls manage).

I'm tired of looking plain all the time, but this poor motivation can actually be very disabling. I think it affects people more with depressive and anxiety issues, so a lot of Autistic people suffer with depression and/or anxiety at some time in their lives, and so lack of motivation is more common in Autistics. (See? - I'm not against everything what is ''an Autistic trait'' said on WP!)

Lack of motivation is not laziness. That is a fact.


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Sweetleaf
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28 Sep 2011, 3:34 pm

I have actually gotten worse issues with motivation in the past year....I am not sure if its due to the AS or if its just the depression, I know depression can definitly effect motivation. In my opinion it is probably the depression having more of an effect on motivation......because when your depressed it can be extremly difficult to even get up and take a shower for instance.


For depression they have anti-depressants, I tried that and it did not help at all because I reacted pretty badly to the anti-depressants and there is therapy.



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28 Sep 2011, 3:39 pm

Sefirato wrote:
I have tried to find an appropriate solution to manage these conditions apart from medication and I have not found much of anything except hear some people say "Oh, you're just lazy - go out and do it - you'll see how easy it is!". Trust me, a statement like that destroys the self esteem (whatever little there is in the first place) of someone struggling with Autism/ADHD/Executive Dysfunctioning/SCT. My advice: do not tell your friend that. Give him some peer support as he might not have any. He needs a friend like you.


I agree with that, its what people always said to me when I was growing up......and still sometimes and I do not think it helped my self esteem. No one knew I had AS or any other issues really, teachers said they thought there where some things off about me but it never properly was looked into so I just got accused of being lazy.......truth is it is very frusterating when you know you are capable of things but have absolutely no motivation. Like I know I can do some of what I need to do for college but I can't motivate myself and when I do its been really hard to focus lately so I end up just getting frusterated and it kills what little motivation I did build up.



ZaannV
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28 Sep 2011, 4:55 pm

ive found people call it laziness when its not. i really struggle with motivation, and it upsets me. i never have an energy and i tire really easily. im constantly swapping and changing and never have anything stable.
i really want to make something of my life and do something, but i dont know how and i cant seem to get out to do it. most people i know dont understand. its really isolating too. its takes me months to get something simple done. i tend to forget all the time too. which makes it worse. it does feel like being disabled
its a relief to read this thread. you really do feel like youre alone. i havent found a way to cope with this yet. have others been able to deal with this, how?


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TPE2
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28 Sep 2011, 5:14 pm

"Lack of motivation" sounds more schizophrenia spectrum (who have, basically, the same "social" symptoms that autism spectrum); however, the intense focus of autistics could also seem "lack of motivation" for an external observer, when it comes the moment of doing something outside their area of interest.



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29 Sep 2011, 4:43 am

This is why I'm frightened of putting on weight. It's because I find it hard to motivate myself. I find it emotionally hard, but I still find it physically hard aswell, probably due to the emotional reasons of it. I suffer with Social Phobia/Agoraphobia, so I don't always like to go outside and ''being on show'', even if I took a walk up a lane there always seems to be people floating about. And getting exercising machines indoors may be a good idea, but there's nowhere to put them in my small house, and when I do go on them I would get distracted by other things like the telly, the computer, and other entertainment objects, and so will soon grow bored and say, ''I'll do it later''. Dieting is would be difficult too because I like to ''comfort eat'', especially when I'm anxious.

Yep, I definately have poor motivation issues.


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Rodland
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29 Sep 2011, 6:54 am

Thanks Sefirato for your answer!

And thanks to the others too



young_god
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29 Sep 2011, 7:59 am

There are many conditions comorbid to autism spectrum disorders, apparently.

So, a bit of depression chucked into the mix is not unusual.

I suffer more from depression than I do Aspies, I think.

But then again what do I know?

Don't take anything I say with any credence.


I think that light autism is perfectly normal and the way to be.
I think that heavy autism is another condition and shouldn't be classed as such.
Yes, there is a spectrum, but not that much of a spectrum.

Just my thoughts - don't take them too seriously..



proxybear
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29 Sep 2011, 8:10 am

I have a lack of motivation when it comes to things that don't interest me.

However, if I find something to be interesting I tend to overdo it.



Sefirato
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29 Sep 2011, 9:54 am

Rodland wrote:
Thanks Sefirato for your answer!

And thanks to the others too


You're welcome.



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29 Sep 2011, 10:02 am

young_god wrote:
I think that light autism is perfectly normal and the way to be.
I think that heavy autism is another condition and shouldn't be classed as such.
Yes, there is a spectrum, but not that much of a spectrum.

Just my thoughts - don't take them too seriously..


You shouldn't say things like this and then expect them to be brushed off.

The autistic spectrum is pretty well established. There's no need to claim that people at one end of the spectrum are the good autistics and the people at the other end of the spectrum aren't really autistic at all and totally not like the first group. Having talked to people who would be described as anything from HFA to LFA, there's a lot in common and you may find that you share a lot of similarities with someone you would dismiss as "not autistic."



Ellytoad
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29 Sep 2011, 10:53 am

The only time I'm ever motivated enough to go the whole way with a project is when I'm hypomanic.
Otherwise, I get to look at several unfinished works and unread books, as well as the job that I'm not even looking for, and feel antsy but unable to get up and do anything about it. So I end up just floating through my day...



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29 Sep 2011, 6:31 pm

Absolutely, with knobs on.

I could easily just lie in bed all day, every day, apart from toilet breaks and the occasional bout of food scavenging. Just lying there staring at nothing. Forever.

My occupational therapist says this is very common with AS. It's the wiring in the brain, the spark plugs don't work properly. We've been working on breaking things down into smaller chunks and getting motivated for that. For example getting up in the mornings. If I just think I need to get up and get going, I can't do it at all. But if I think, 'all I need to do is get up and put the coffee on', I can get going. Then, 'just clean my teeth' then 'just have a shower', 'get dressed' 'brush hair' etc. (Executive function?)