High functioning depression is a mental health condition characterized by having depression symptoms while still being able to function in daily life. It is also known as dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder. It can be difficult to diagnose, as those with the condition often appear to be functioning normally on the outside while they are struggling internally. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of high functioning depression and to seek help if needed.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of high functioning depression can be difficult to recognize, as they may not appear as obvious as other forms of depression. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Low mood or feeling “down” most of the time
- Loss of interest in activities that used to bring pleasure
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Causes of High Functioning Depression
The exact cause of high functioning depression is not known, but there are some factors that may increase the risk of developing the condition. These include:
- A family history of depression or other mental health disorders
- Exposure to traumatic events
- Substance abuse
- Certain medications or medical conditions
Treatment for High Functioning Depression
High functioning depression can be treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Psychotherapy can help the person identify and address underlying causes of the depression, as well as learn healthy coping skills. Medication can help to reduce the symptoms of depression and make it easier to engage in therapy. It is important to speak to a doctor or mental health professional to determine the best treatment plan for each individual.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a form of treatment that involves talking to a mental health professional about thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can help to identify and address underlying causes of depression, as well as provide the person with tools to manage symptoms. Types of psychotherapy that may be used to treat high functioning depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.
Medication can help to reduce symptoms of depression and make it easier to engage in therapy. The most commonly prescribed medications for depression are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It is important to speak to a doctor or mental health professional to determine the best treatment plan for each individual.
Living with High Functioning Depression
Living with high functioning depression can be challenging, but there are things that can be done to manage symptoms and improve overall quality of life. It is important to get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of sleep. It is also important to connect with others and seek support from friends and family. If needed, it is important to seek professional help to address underlying causes of depression and learn healthy coping skills.