What is Responsibility Deficit Disorder? (2023)

It's natural to feel overwhelmed with daily responsibilities, but if you avoid caution and neglect even the smallest obligations, it could be a sign of something else.

Your responsibilities are the things in life that you are responsible for. It can be small tasks, like taking care of your personal hygiene, or actions that impact the lives of others, like preparing meals for your child.

Or maybe you have a hard time taking responsibility for mistakes or admitting when you're wrong.

Some people may have told you that you are irresponsible or immature.

If you have difficulty accepting responsibility for wrongdoing or find yourself avoiding taking responsibility in your daily life, understanding why this is happening can help you learn to manage these behaviors.

Responsibility deficit disorder isnota clinical disorder recognized by theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR).

Rather, it is a term given to recognize a consistent type of shared experience in which someone exhibits long-term patterns of irresponsible behavior.

"Trendy topics like 'bedtime revenge procrastination' and 'quiet giving up' provide language for shared experiences and provide a sense of meaning and validation when we're able to say, 'Yeah, me too!!'" she explains.Kim Bielak, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist from Pasadena, California.

Living with undue lack of responsibility and beyond your control may not line up with the formal criteria for any clinical diagnosis. But working with a mental health professional can help you determine if it could be a symptom of a mental health condition and recommend strategies to help.

Lack of responsibility as a symptom

Although responsibility deficit disorder isnotconsidered a formal diagnosis,Rafael Antonino, a counseling psychologist and professor of counseling psychology in London, notes that the behaviors can form part of the symptomatology of other DSM-5-TR mental health conditions, including:

  • antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
  • depression
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

What distinguishes these formal conditions from a persistent pattern of irresponsibility is the presence of other more prevalent symptoms.

Antonino explains that depression, for example, often presents itself with a low level of energy and lack of motivation that can manifest itself as a lack of responsibility, but can be the result ofmood dysregulation.

Similarly,Symptoms of antisocial personality disorder.they imply traits of irresponsible behavior, but the underlying traits are a lack of remorse and empathy, a general disregard for others.

(Video) ADHD: Accountability vs. Responsibility

There is little research on why an excessive pattern of irresponsibility occurs, but several factors can come into play.


According to Antonino, the mastery of certainPersonality traits, for example, may be one of the reasons why you can live with a lessened sense of responsibility.

“Accountability deficit is also likely related to lack of awareness, which is a general personality trait,” he says. “We are all more or less aware. But low conscientiousness is related to a general 'take it easy' attitude towards life and possible avoidance of responsibility”.


Bielak indicates that low accountability can also be a response toanxiety.

He says he more often than not witnesses behaviors like avoidance, procrastination, and impulsiveness as ways people avoid what makes them anxious or uncomfortable.

"Whether it's a fear of failure, a sense ofimposter syndromeor inadequacy, or even resentment and fear towards a task at hand, people can appear distant, forgetful or even dissociated when they unconsciously try to avoid things that cause them discomfort,” he says.

Bielak adds that this link to anxiety is solidified by the fact that someone can experience the opposite anxiety response: excessive responsibility and micromanagement.

Narcissism as a cultural trait

Narcissism as a personality trait.It involves self-centered or authoritarian behavior thatDr. Thomas Plant, a licensed psychologist from Santa Clara, Calif., says it has become more prevalent in modern culture.

“People often think their problems are due to other people's influence,” he says. “They see themselves asvictims, and when they screw up, they're quick to blame others.

This authoritative approach can shift the blame away from that person and shift the blame onto someone else.


(Video) What is ADHD?

Low responsibility can be a feature of disorders such as antisocial personality disorder and depression, but recognized clinical disorders have defined diagnostic criteria that go beyond irresponsibility.

There is no set pattern of behavior, but signs can include:

  • financial irresponsibility (such as late payment of bills or frivolous expenses)
  • impulsivity
  • hasty decisions
  • inability to meet deadlines
  • habitual delay
  • lack of prior planning
  • delay
  • avoidance
  • forgotten
  • postponement
  • a need for instant gratification activities

If irresponsibility is considered to be a symptom of another mental health condition, such as ASPD, it may be included as a co-occurring condition.

“In other cases, the responsibility deficit can be seen as a consequence of an antisocial personality disorder, and this is where the lack of responsibility has a more chaotic character”, explains Antonino. "People who have ASPD can be very energetic and always focused on something, so much so that they impulsively delay or completely ignore their primary responsibilities such as family, work, and education."

Responsibility Deficit Disorder Peter Pan Syndrome

Responsibility Deficit Disorder is a term used to recognize persistent patterns of irresponsibility.

Peter Pan syndromeis another informal condition that contains elements of irresponsibility. But in this condition,2007 investigationindicates that the underlying factor is a fear of loneliness, which can make someone cling to childhood and the need to be taken care of.

Taking responsibility is not always easy. To help improve a consistent pattern of irresponsibility, consider finding ways to reinforce responsible behaviors.


You are more likely to meet your responsibilities if the stakes are high. I planted recommendationssetting boundariesas a good place to start.

(Video) The Best Remedy for ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

Outside assistance may be required with this. You can ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable if you're not sure you can do it yourself.

For example, you and your partner might decide not to take advantage of a date night if you spent more than your budget for that week.

Address underlying factors

kara nassur, a licensed professional counselor in Austin, Texas, suggests examining why accountability might be challenging for you.

If there's a real problem standing in your way, like underdeveloped organizational skills, taking steps to improve in that area can make those responsibilities less stressful.

“Remember that being responsible is a collection of habits you can develop over time, not a trait you were born without,” she says.

anxiety control

If these behaviors stem from anxiety, developing coping strategies can help.

Options include:

  • yogaand other free-flowing motion formats
  • music
  • mediation
  • hygiene I am
  • regular exercise
  • grounding techniques
  • humor
  • deep breathing exercises
  • limit alcohol and caffeine
  • whole foods and probiotics

enlisting assistance

Friends, family, and mechanical assistance can all be helpful in improving accountability.

Friends and family can provide gentle reminders and help with transportation. Digital devices can be configured with to-do lists and alerts.

Online Bill Pay can help you set up automatic payments.

Seeking professional guidance

“The best way to overcome this problem would be to start talking to a psychotherapist,” says Antonino. "CBT, thanks to its structure and focus on everyday issues, is perhaps the best approach to dealing with low accountability."

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)it can help you set goals, monitor progress, and discover which task management processes work best for you.

“Often, homework is assigned to practical assignments between sessions, so you watch the client change not just cognitively, but emotionally and behaviorally as well,” says Antonino.

Irresponsibility often affects the lives of people close to the person who exhibits these behaviors. Missed obligations and lack of responsibility can leave an impression of disinterest or lack of care and consideration.

remembering empathy

“If you or someone in your life has ongoing issues with accountability, it's important to come from a place of compassion,” recalls Bielak. "Like ADHD, people's behaviors often stem from a much longer and more complicated story than meets the eye, and they really make sense when put into context."

Taking an active role

Understanding that your loved one may need help managing responsibilities can help you take an active role in helping them improve these behaviors.

You can communicate with reminders, provide transportation or join the desired activity with them to encourage punctuality.

Defining your own limits

You can set your own thresholds for expected behavior and stick to them.

Holding your loved one accountable can help you understand the positive and negative consequences of your actions.

setting expectations

Setting tasks and expectations can help keep someone on task. Step-by-step processes can provide a way to achieve small, achievable goals that result in the final product.

Well-defined tasks can help eliminate the uncertainty of important obligations that can be a source of anxiety and apprehension.

Small goals can also help create a sense of accomplishment that rewards responsible behavior.

Although Deficit Responsibility Disorder is not a recognized clinical diagnosis in the DSM-5-RT, Excessive Deficit Responsibility is real and is an experience shared by many others.

Anxiety, cultural norms, and personality traits can all play a role in these behaviors, and for some people, they can be a symptom of an underlying mental health condition, such as depression, ADHD, or ASPD.

If you or a loved one is living with an excessive responsibility deficit, setting boundaries, accountability, and managing anxiety can help limit the impact on your life.


What is responsibility deficit disorder? ›

Responsibility deficit disorder is not a clinical disorder recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, text revision (DSM-5-TR). Instead, it's a term given to acknowledge a consistent type of shared experience where someone displays long-term patterns of irresponsible behavior.

What personality disorder is unable to accept responsibility? ›

A hallmark of borderline personality disorder is not being able to take any accountability or responsibility for emotions. The person with borderline has such a complicated relationship with themselves and their own thoughts that they don't want to take responsibility for them.

What causes lack of responsibility? ›

What Causes a Lack of Responsibility? People duck responsibility for reasons ranging from simple laziness or a fear of failure, through to a sense of feeling overwhelmed by the scale of a problem or a situation.

Why people don't take responsibility for their actions? ›

The reason that people don't take responsibility is because they have a problem, and they're trying to solve the problem, and they're reacting from below the line. People who don't take responsibility don't know they're reacting from below the line.

What does DPS stand for in mental health? ›

DISC Predictive Scales (DPS): Factor Structure and Uniform Differential Item Functioning Across Gender and Three Racial/Ethnic Groups for ADHD, Conduct Disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder Symptoms - PMC.

What is Attention Deficit Disorder example? ›

having a short attention span and being easily distracted. making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork. appearing forgetful or losing things. being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming.

What is the word for avoiding responsibility? ›

Dereliction is a word for neglecting responsibilities. Failing to care for your family or do your job are examples of dereliction. If you are letting things go, you are engaged in dereliction.

What are the consequences of not accepting responsibility? ›

For example, when a person is constantly refusing to take responsibility – it will lead them towards more trouble because they are not in control and everything happens against their wishes. Taking ownership over one's actions and mistakes can help them feel like they are in charge of their life.

Why am I afraid of responsibility? ›

Fear of Responsibility Is Common

Many people worry that if they allow themselves to be less than perfect and have everything under control, they'll lose the respect of others. They also worry that failing at an important task will have dire consequences for them and/or others.

What are 5 responsible behaviors? ›

Responsible behaviour is made up of five essential elements—honesty, compassion/respect, fairness, accountability, and courage. Being responsible means making the right choices.

What do you call someone who blames others for their own actions? ›

People with narcissistic personality disorder are extremely resistant to changing their behavior, even when it's causing them problems. Their tendency is to turn the blame on to others.

What does DPS mean in work? ›

Existing Designated Premises Supervisor

The DPS are expected to know all the conditions on your premises licence and to have made provisions with your staff so that none of these conditions are breached.

What are the types of DPS? ›

Types of DPS In Gaming
  • Burst DPS.
  • Sustained DPS.
Jan 27, 2022

What does DPS stand for in work? ›

A designated premises supervisor (DPS) is the person who has day-to-day responsibility for the running of the business and is responsible for authorising the alcohol sales.

What are 5 signs or symptoms that someone has an attention deficit disorder? ›

  • Impulsiveness.
  • Disorganization and problems prioritizing.
  • Poor time management skills.
  • Problems focusing on a task.
  • Trouble multitasking.
  • Excessive activity or restlessness.
  • Poor planning.
  • Low frustration tolerance.

How do you know you have attention deficit disorder? ›

Have difficulty following through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork or chores. Have trouble organizing tasks and activities. Avoid or dislike tasks that require focused mental effort, such as homework. Lose items needed for tasks or activities, for example, toys, school assignments, pencils.

What are the two types of attention deficit disorder? ›

What are the different types of ADHD?
  • ADHD, combined type. This, the most common type of ADHD, is characterized by impulsive and hyperactive behaviors as well as inattention and distractibility.
  • ADHD, impulsive/hyperactive type. ...
  • ADHD, inattentive and distractible type.

Why is responsibility so important? ›

Responsibility is important because it provides a sense of purpose, in addition to building resilience amidst adversity on an individual and societal level. Like an addiction, sidestepping responsibility may feel good in the short-term, but leads to exponentially worse pain and suffering in the long term.

Why is taking responsibility important? ›

Why Taking Responsibility is Important. Taking ownership and responsibility for your actions is an important part of healthy relationships. Doing so is an empowering reminder that you have control over the role you play in your relationship. Taking responsibility creates trust and dependability.

What do you call a person who is afraid of responsibility? ›

Responsibility OCD is a subset of OCD centered around anxiety and guilt. Sufferers are less concerned about their own welfare, and more concerned with the repercussions of their actions or non-actions.

What is fear of responsibility called? ›

hy·​pen·​gyo·​pho·​bia hī-ˌpen-jē-ə-ˈfō-bē-ə : abnormal fear of responsibility.

How do you overcome responsibility? ›

How to Cope with Increased Responsibility in the Workplace
  1. Shift from execution to empowerment.
  2. Recognize what others see in you.
  3. Root into your resilience.
  4. Hang out in your comfort zone (at least for a while)
  5. Grow your confidence.
May 3, 2021

What are the signs of a responsible person? ›

People who are responsible don't make excuses for their actions or blame others when things go wrong. They think things through and use good judgment before they take action. They behave in ways that encourage others to trust them. People who are responsible take charge of their lives.

What is an example of responsible behavior? ›

Tell them that responsibility isn't just doing chores, it's following through on commitments, answering for their own actions, being reliable and trustworthy, using good judgment, taking care of their own affairs, and not procrastinating.

What are 10 examples of responsibility? ›

15 Examples of Responsibility
  • Personal Responsibility. The responsibility to do positive things with your abilities, talents and resources.
  • Agency. Agency is your ability to influence what happens to you. ...
  • Moral Responsibility. ...
  • Legal Obligation. ...
  • Contractual Obligations. ...
  • Norms. ...
  • Social Role. ...
  • Profession.
May 9, 2019

What do you call someone who thinks they know everything? ›

Definitions of know-it-all. someone who thinks he knows everything and refuses to accept advice or information from others. synonyms: know-all. type of: egoist, egotist, swellhead. a conceited and self-centered person.

What is the psychological term for blaming yourself? ›

Characterological self-blame (CSB), on the other hand, is attribution of blame to factors of the self that are uncontrollable and stable over time (e.g. “I am the type of person that gets taken advantage of”). CSB attributions are harder to change than behavioral attributions of blame.

How do you deal with a partner who doesn't take responsibility? ›

If someone will not accept responsibility, change your approach, or table the issue. Continuing to push them to take responsibility or apologize will only make them more defensive. Instead, see if you can agree on solutions. Try to communicate using “I statements” rather than “You statements”.

What is ADHD and DCD? ›

Abstract. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been described as the most prevalent behavioral disorder in children. Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is one of the most prevalent childhood movement disorders.

What are the three types of Attention Deficit Disorder? ›

The three types of ADHD are primarily hyperactive and impulsive, primarily inattentive, and combined. Each presentation is distinguished by a set of behavioral symptoms outlined in the DSM-5 that physicians use to diagnose the condition. Here, learn those criteria, and what symptoms look like — from severe to mild.

What is the psychology term for not taking responsibility? ›

Diffusion of responsibility is a sociopsychological phenomenon whereby a person is less likely to take responsibility for action or inaction when other bystanders or witnesses are present.

What do people with DCD struggle with? ›

Problems with movement and co-ordination are the main symptoms of DCD. Children may have difficulty with: playground activities such as hopping, jumping, running, and catching or kicking a ball. They often avoid joining in because of their lack of co-ordination and may find physical education difficult.

Is DCD an intellectual disability? ›

This condition is formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation. DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke. The range of intellectual ability is in line with the general population.

Is DCD considered a disability? ›

Dyspraxia or Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is considered to be an impairment of the organisation of movement. Someone with dyspraxia may also have associated difficulties with language perception and thought.

What is the most common attention disorder? ›

ADHD, combined type.

This, the most common type of ADHD, is characterized by impulsive and hyperactive behaviors as well as inattention and distractibility.

What are the 3 main symptoms of ADD? ›

The three core symptoms associated with Classic ADD include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

How do you say lack of responsibility? ›

  1. unaccountable.
  2. irresponsible.
  3. exempt.
  4. immune.


1. Coming To Terms With Who You Were, What Happened to You, and What You Did. Codependency Courage.
(Ross Rosenberg)
2. Inattentive ADHD: Why ADD is Misdiagnosed and the Best Ways to Treat It (w/ Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D.)
(ADDitude Magazine)
3. ADHD in Adulthood: The Signs You Need to Know
4. What is ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)?
5. Sam Bankman-Fried's mother moral ambiguity molded Sam's responsibility deficit disorder.
(Bob Bishop Investigates)
6. ADHD and the Urge to Escape


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