High Functioning Depression ~ A Detailed Explanation

Dr. Carol A Bernstein, a professor of neurology and psychiatry says –

“Identifying signs of high functioning depression in an individual are very difficult. 

In most cases, people with high functioning depression appear perfectly normal on the outside. They go to work. They fulfill their daily tasks. And even maintain their relationships! 

But while they carry out their responsibilities with a smiling face, deep within, they scream in agony.”

The excellent Doctor further states –

Both anxiety and depression affect each person differently. But one thing is for certain. They occur to people with all types of personalities. And although depression is one very common condition, the commonality of its symptoms varies in each individual.”

What’s The Difference between High Functionality Depression & Depression?

The truth is, there is not much difference between depression and high-functionality depression.

Some mental health professional(s) don’t even consider high-functioning depression as a diagnostic category. Almost every person experiences depression symptoms.

And The Only 2 Viable Questions to Ask Here Are –

  • For how long are they suffering from depression?
  • And how much does this condition hamper their life and daily activities?

Ashley C Smith – a clinical social worker says –

This condition is very much real. And if one neglects its treatment, it can have some adverse consequences to their regular lives. It can make one’s struggle with their regular life and deteriorate their relationships with others. 

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Its symptoms are similar to people suffering from major depression but on a less severe level.”

Commonest symptoms of high functioning depression – 

  • Disruption On Eating
  • Sleeping Problems
  • Depressed Mood
  • Withdrawal from Social Gatherings And Fun Activities
  • Suffering In Sadness 
  • Feeling Of Regret Or Remorse By Dwelling On Past Decisions
  • Constant Fatigue
  • Inability To Concentrate
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harming others 
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Low Self-Confidence
  • Feeling Of Hopelessness
  • Having Troubles In Making Decisions
  • Excessive Anger And Constant Irritability
  • Decrease In Productivity, Efficiency, And Activity

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These symptoms tend to linger for days (even weeks). And the more it stays, the more one experiences low moods and internal struggles.

Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) Explains the Types of Depression & Mental Illness

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders points out nine types of depression.

1. Major depression

It is also called unipolar depression or classic depression. People suffering from major depression suffer from this; most hours a day each day.

(Some signs of major depression are overeating/loss of appetite, body aches, loss of interest in activities and chores, thoughts of suicide, etc.)

See complete details  –

Major Depressive Disorder Symptoms, Cause & Treatment Guidelines

2. Persistent Depression Disorder or High Functionality Depression

PDD can last a good couple of years (even more) depending on the person’s mental condition. And although it may not be as severe as major depression, it can still strain your life.

Check Persistent Depressive Disorder Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

3. Bipolar Disorder

It is otherwise known as manic depression. The commonest sign is when a person experiences periods of happiness interchanging with episodes of deep sadness. Most of the symptoms here are similar to major depression except for the manic phase.

Individuals will experience the following: grandiose thinking, high levels of energy, euphoria, high self-confidence, racing thoughts, and even hallucinations!

Also read:

Why You Should Be More Concern About Bipolar Disorder? Check The Warning Sign

4. Depressive Psychosis

Individuals with this condition are known to suffer from delusions and experience hallucinations. At times, it can also cause a person to sit still, not react, or considerably slow down their physical movements.

Check –  Psychotic Depression : The Facts You Need to Know

5. Perinatal Depression 

This results after childbirth or at least 4-5 weeks of giving birth. The hormonal changes can result in mood swings, bodily discomfort, sleeplessness, etc. However, in some cases, individuals with perinatal depression may also exhibit symptoms of major depression.

Those commonly seen include – sadness, extreme anxiety, rage, self-harming thoughts, or overly worrying about their baby’s health!

Post Pregnancy Depression: Do Not Ignore the Symptoms

6. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Mental illness experts believe the symptoms to be more psychological.

Some of them include– Extreme mood swings, panic attacks, high-degree paranoia, inability to concentrate, anger and rage, muscle and joint ache, cramps, headaches, bloating, and even breast tenderness.

Complete Guide to Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: An Alarming Sign

7. Seasonal Depression

This is seen in people suffering from depression relating to particular seasons, like winter. The symptoms are – social withdrawal, feeling sad and unworthy, obesity, and an increase in sleeping duration!

8. Situational Depression

It associates with people having depression from particular situations. Some of those are – the death of a dear one, being in an abusive relationship, unemployment, financial crisis, life-threatening incidences, etc.

Situational Depression: Cause, Symptoms, and  Treatment

9. Atypical Depression 

This is temporary and may go away if any positive news or incidences take place. Its symptoms are – insomnia, sleeping for long durations, unhealthy eating, weight gain, sensitivity to criticism, fear of abandonment, etc.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders also points out seven categories of mental illness.

  • Mood Disorders resulting from bipolar disorder and major depression
  • Anxiety Disorder resulting from significant depression, high functioning depression, perinatal depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Personality Disorder due to manic depression and depressive psychosis
  • Trauma Disorders caused due to PTSD.
  • Eating Disorders due to atypical depression, major depressionpremenstrual dysphoric disorder.
  • Psychotic Disorders like Schizophrenia due to depressive psychosis
  • Substance Abuse Disorders resulting due to situational depression, high functioning depression, seasonal depression

High Functioning Depression Treatment – 

The Good News Is High Functioning Depression (Along With Other Forms of Depression) Is Curable

While proper medications do play a major role in treating Persistent Depression Disorder, its optimum treatment is therapy!

Here’s Naming A Few Therapy Treatments for Curing High Functioning Depression

  • One–on–one psychotherapy involves a shrink talking to the individual and exploring their inner emotions, which cause negative feelings and untoward behavior.
  • (CBT) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy This treatment involves helping patients reorient their behavioral changes and thought process. The aim is to help them surpass their fear when put in social situations.
  • Family Therapy And Retraining – This treatment involves your family, siblings, or dear ones to retrain their thinking patterns. It also includes educating the sufferer on the people who are there to provide support from their cause of different types of depression.
  • (ACT) Acceptance And Commitment Therapy This therapy emphasizes making the person come to terms with their negative thoughts and replacing them with positive beliefs. It teaches them to cope with whatever negativity is inside their heads and support them to feel better despite all their ill-wills!
  • Relational Therapy Relational therapy educates the person how all their life experiences and emotional attachments are connected. By making them understand all their important relationships, the process helps and supports them in developing healthier, meaningful connections.
  • Relaxation And Holistic Therapy – Holistic and relaxing techniques like making them meditate, exercise, and even do yoga helps improve SDD symptoms.
  • Trauma-Orient Therapy – This treatment helps cure people are suffering from PDD due to a traumatic experience. The technique helps them process and reframe their traumatic experiences, overcome them, and induce positive thinking to better their symptoms.
  • 24 Hour Depression Hotline Number | Depression Helpline for Youth

Wrapping Up: Willing To Suffer From Depression Is Not The Answer!

Choosing to suffer from any form of depression isn’t the answer! Be it PDD, Bipolar Disorder, or even Major Depression!

To overcome this depression, these above treatments will help considerably. In addition to these, there are other medical diagnoses to fight against its common symptoms and regain control of a normal life.

Depression occurs to everyone. There’s nothing new. But when it does wreak havoc on your healthy life, it is important to take immediate medical advice for the best treatment.

“When depression knocks you down, it’s up to you whether you want to stay down or get back up. And the only way to get back up is to get proper treatment, in time!

Think about those whom you love and those you love you. Think about your family and how much they value you. And most importantly, think about your life and those big dreams you set out to achieve.

All These Will Give You Strength To Fight, To Heal And To Overcome!” (AMEN…)

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