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Definition of Hopelessness in Psychology

    The definition of hopelessness in psychology is an emotion experienced by someone who cannot recognize that there are good things in the future. Truly, a lack of optimism and passion characterize this emotion.  In turn, this can cause you to abandon any thought of future success or improvement. 

    In this article we will address how hopelessness is diagnosed in psychology.  Next, we will also look at what causes hopelessness, and what the consequences of hopelessness are. Read further to make sure you can recognize hopelessness when it presents itself. 

    How Is Hopelessness Assessed in Psychology?


    The Beck Hopelessness Scale, a self- assessment questionnaire, is used in psychology to determine the severity of hopelessness. This scale can help pinpoint which metric of hopelessness is driving your emotions. For example, decreased motivation, feelings about the future, or self- expectations would be some of those emotions.


    What Do Psychologists Say Can Cause Hopelessness?

    Hopelessness can be caused by genetic or environmental factors, or a combination of the two. Likewise, many mental health conditions, of which the most common is depression, can cause a feeling of hopelessness. This is true especially if the chance of a “normal” life feels out of the question for you. 

    Also, hopelessness can be the result of stress, abuse, or a major tragedy. If you have suffered a negative life event you may find it hard to get past the trauma. Consequently, you could easily lose motivation for living a positive life.


    What Are the Consequences of Hopelessness?


    If ignored, hopelessness can go beyond lack of motivation or feeling anxiety about a bleak future. If you dwell in the feeling of hopelessness, it can often turn to extreme methods of coping with it.  Unfortunately, some people will cope in harmful ways.  For example, relying on drugs and alcohol, developing eating disorders, or even turning to thoughts of suicide.

    Hopelessness can be temporary, or it can be a warning sign of a more serious mental health condition.  If so, you should be seen by a psychologist before these feelings become a serious problem. Please let a professional help you recognize the definition of hopelessness in psychology to determine if you need further help.