Why Is It So Difficult For Me To Make Decisions?

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP
Updated May 15, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Have you been experiencing difficulty making decisions recently? Most people have some difficulty with decisions from time to time, especially major life decisions. However, some people suddenly find it difficult to make even minor decisions on an everyday basis. In these cases, this indecisiveness may be related to depression or anxiety.

According to research published in the journal Psychological Assessment, “Indecisiveness is a prevalent and impairing symptom among individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD).”

With depression, even small, everyday decisions can seem daunting. If this sounds like your experience, you may be living with depression or anxiety.

What is clinical depression?

Do you feel stuck?

Clinical depression is one of the most common mental health disorders there is. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 8% of the U.S. adult population experiences depression in a given year. This translates to approximately 21 million people. One common, but lesser-known sign of depression is difficulty making decisions. Some other possible signs of depression include:

  • Feelings of unexplained sadness
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Changes in sleep (sleeping less or more than usual)
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Eating less or more than usual
  • Crying episodes
  • Lack of motivation or enthusiasm
  • Suicidal thoughts*

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. Support is available 24/7.

Making decisions and moving forward


One of the reasons that people who are depressed sometimes have trouble making decisions may be that they are not as motivated as they used to be. The reward of making any decision may no longer seem important, so they may not see an incentive to make a choice. Researchers believe that the prefrontal cortex in the brain is impaired when someone experiences clinical depression, and this may cause impaired decision-making ability.

Anxiety may contribute to difficulty with decisions

Anxiety may also contribute to difficulty making decisions. The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by apprehension and somatic symptoms of tension in which an individual anticipates impending danger, catastrophe, or misfortune.” If you are experiencing anxiety, you may feel worried, fearful, or isolated. You may also experience indecision. You could fear that you will make the wrong decision and therefore might overthink/overanalyze any choice that you make.

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, it may help to speak with a licensed therapist. A therapist may use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you assess negative or inaccurate thoughts. This may improve your thoughts and emotions, which may, in turn, help you make decisions with greater ease and clarity.  

Getting help with decision-making in therapy

Do you feel stuck?

If you feel hesitant to sign up for traditional in-office therapy at this time, you might consider online therapy. Online therapy has been found to be just as effective as in-person therapy. One study found no difference between in-person cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and online CBT for treating symptoms of depression and anxiety.

With online therapy, you can connect with a licensed therapist via phone, live chat, or videoconference at a time that works for you. You can also contact your therapist any time through in-app messaging, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can. This may be useful if you experience difficulty with decision-making in between therapy sessions. 

Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing depression:

Counselor reviews

“I put off finding a therapist for a long time. I dreaded my first conversation with Neil and all the awkward, clunky explanations I’d have to give about my depression and anxiety. All of the things that felt like dirty little secrets that caused me so much pain. But I was so pleasantly surprised by the way Neil accurately picked up on what I was saying and gave me more insight into how my brain was working. It made my issue feel so much less of a personal problem and more of a universal problem we could examine together. He always gives me a thoughtful response within a day or two any time I send a message. I actually think we’ve made more progress in between sessions just by being able to communicate things that are coming up in real time. Neil is intelligent and kind. I really appreciate his communication style and highly recommend him.”

“Thanks to Melissa Powell I have come to the realization that I am dealing with depression and anxiety (a hard pill to swallow) and am now working on developing a routine/coping and grounding skills that will assist me in everyday living and in the event of an anxiety attack or a depression episode. Melissa also helped me understand that some days are going to be harder than most and on those days I have to work harder to get the simplest of tasks done and that is ok.”


If you are experiencing difficulty with decision-making, it could be a sign of anxiety or depression. It may help to speak with a licensed mental health professional who can assess any other symptoms you’re experiencing and possibly provide a diagnosis. No matter the cause of your indecisiveness, there are many ways to move forward if you feel stuck. 

An online therapist may be able to help you with any difficult decisions you’re facing and help you make decisions with greater confidence. With BetterHelp, you can be matched with a licensed therapist who has experience treating anxiety, depression, or anything else you may be experiencing. Take the first step toward improved decision-making and reach out to BetterHelp today.

Depression is treatable, and you're not alone
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