What is High-Functioning Depression? 2022 Best Guide

Developing a mental illness has become very common in the fast-growing and capitalist world. High-functioning depression poses a great threat to our mental health, and we should know its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

And it is also very tough to take care of our mental health because we always have one deadline after the other, and we are so hell-bound to do something big. 

In the hustle of our life, where we have to play many roles, we tend to forget to take care of our mental health1. We can do small things to stay happy. Some people say that writing about their feelings helps them cope. Similarly, there are tons of other things, like meditation, that can uplift our mood.

But in this same very-demanding world, we need to take a little extra care of our mental health because reports have shown that a happy and contented mind works more efficiently and is more productive comparatively. We even have a mental health awareness month that focuses on spreading knowledge among the masses still in the dark regarding mental health.

high-functioning Depression
by YuriArcurs Unlim photos copyright 2022

In India, mental illness has been neglected for a very long time. Still, slowly and gradually, people have started speaking about it and are now aware that it is as important as our physical health. This awareness is more in urban settings than in rural ones.

Mental health professionals state that mental disorders should not be ignored at any cost. If we keep forgetting them, they get so much control over us that it gets very difficult to treat them. Some common mental illnesses are anxiety, depression, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder2, self-harm, and suicidal tendencies.

One of the very common mental illnesses is high-functioning depression. Let us understand what it is, its causes, and how it can be cured.

Meaning of High-Functioning Depression or Persistent Depressive Disorder: –

Many health professionals say that there is no such thing as high-functioning depression3 and that it can be very confusing. Still, several studies have proven that high-functioning depression is a real mental illness that needs immediate attention and care.

Although high-functioning depression is not a clinical diagnosis, it still matters and requires attention. There have been various types of research on the same that examine and analyze the causes and symptoms of the problems and list some treatment programs.

It is more formally and officially known as persistent depressive disorder or PDD4. High-functioning depression is a very common normal depressive disorder, but it is less severe and does not affect our lives as much as the usual depression.

Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression: –

PDD, or high-functioning depression, does not, in most cases, hinder our daily life routines like going to school or college, going to work, or even socializing. But this does not mean that it does not affect our mental health.

high-functioning Depression
by YuriArcurs unlim photos copyright 2022

Experts say it can be very difficult to recognize this disorder in ourselves and others. A person with PDD or high-functioning depression might seem very normal to a second person, but they won’t realise the patient’s or victim’s troubles and struggles.

High-functioning depression lowers our productivity and creates a sort of turmoil inside our hearts, and it plays with our emotions. If ignored for a long time, it might cause a lot of trouble to people and eventually come in the way of their lives.

It might also gradually change how we socialize and behave in social settings. And it might also cause performance issues, like people being unable to perform nicely at work or school.

This mental disorder has various other symptoms. A person suffering from high-functioning depression might have an irritable or bad mood, which may continue for at least two years. They may also experience overeating or less eating. Loss of sleep and its opposite, i.e., excessive sleeping, is also one of the symptoms of this depressive disorder.

Some other symptoms are low self-esteem or confidence. People might start looking down upon themselves and might even consider that they are not good at anything. Patients might also experience trouble concentrating and making apt decisions. Due to low mood, people might have problems giving their best in whatever task they take up; hence their performance is affected greatly.

People with high-functioning depression might also experience worthlessness and guilty. They keep on feeling down and feel like no one will understand what they are going through. Ignoring these symptoms might lead to the development of a persistent depressive disorder, and it might get a little difficult to get out of it. One should consult a mental health professional as soon as these symptoms appear.

This type of depressive disorder is quite similar to clinical depression. Still, if one keeps taking the symptoms for granted, it might lead to the development of a major depressive disorder.

One important thing while dealing with delicate issues like depression is that depression makes everyone different, and they live differently. In other words, depressive symptoms might differ from one patient to the other. Some might get the work done efficiently, and others might not be able to do the same. Hence, it is not right to generalize in this case.

Be Empathic and Compassionate: –

Sometimes people might be depressed and feel sad or low due to a huge or legitimate reason like the death of a close one, and they might suffer from abuse, substance abuse, or problems at work or college. But there are cases where the patient cannot analyze the cause of their depressive symptoms, and they might seem perfectly comfortable and stable from the outside. But this does not mean that they are not struggling or lying.

We all should be considerate and sympathize with our fellow mates. Questioning their problems will not help at all and will only increase their troubles. That is why we should not ask people if their life seems fine or why they have a depressed mood. If one cannot be a good listener, then one should not be throwing questions in the face of the patient.

Now that we know that emotional support helps in dealing with high-functioning depression let us learn about some available professional help that can be used.

Treating High-Functioning Depression: –

high-functioning depression
by MilanMarkovic78 Unlim photos copyright 2022

Although high-functioning depression might seem like a huge problem, there is no need to worry because there are a lot of treatment programs and support groups present out there that will be very helpful and fruitful in helping one deal with severe depression.

Be it chronic mild depression or major depression, or any other mental health condition, almost every mental illness is curable. People are becoming aware of their mental health through technological advancements and ideologies. This awareness is more in western nations as compared to India. In India, people from the upper class are more aware of this idea of taking care of their mental health compared to the low-class and low-income earning groups.

1. Visit a Good Therapist: –

People experiencing high-functioning depression might want to go to a therapist. It is not very difficult to find a good therapist who understands you. A therapist will organize sessions for the patient to create a fair and judgment-free environment that will help them open up and start talking about their problems.

Based on the patient’s ideas, the therapist tries to soothe the issues and provide solutions subtly. Overall, therapy is very helpful, but it has one shortcoming, i.e., it can be a little expensive for common people who might be troubled due to financial problems.

2. Use of Prescribed Medicines: –

Apart from psychotherapy, the treatment of high-functioning depression also includes medications of various types. The right medicines depend on one’s medical condition. One can seek the help of a psychiatrist with a license to prescribe medication to patients dealing with any mental illness.

A psychiatrist may prescribe various drugs, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors5.

3. Seeing a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist: –

People who detect high-functioning depression should not hold back from visiting a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. The mental health professionals conduct an official diagnosis on the patient and examine the history of their depressive episodes and a person’s ability to cope with this overwhelming situation.

These clinical psychologists use the outcome of their relevant experience and develop effective treatment programs for the patient. Earlier, visiting a mental health professional was considered useless. Still, millions of people can testify that therapy and medication have helped them escape their dark phases.

4. Take Help From Online Websites: –

Apart from this, various online resources can be very helpful in curing high-functioning depression. Various mental health websites put out a lot of friendly and extremely useful content; the reader can benefit literally for free.

One can also subscribe to the newsletters of these websites and platforms, sometimes, they might demand a little money in return for the services they provide, but it is all worth it for sure.

5. Try Joining a Support Group: –

Studies and research have proved that joining good and relevant support groups can also be very helpful, improving people’s mental health to some extent. Several support groups are present out there, and they are composed of people dealing with similar problems. People in these groups talk about their problems and trauma and how they came out of it.

Believe it or not, talking with these people will give you a feeling that you are not alone and that there are people like you who are also dealing with problems, yet they are going on with their lives. This might be very motivating for the patients, and they might get the feeling of not being alone.

But for this to work, one needs to learn to open up and talk about the things that are causing them pain and grief. If one doesn’t open up and discuss their problems freely, the doctor might be unable to help and offer suggestions.

6. Other Treatment Options: –

  1. Psychiatrists also claim that lifestyle change also helps in dealing with high-functioning depression. Including some physical activity in your day will help a lot. Going out for a short walk or a short run in the evening or the morning will help a lot. People feel connected to nature, giving our minds a certain type of peace. Also, indulging in other physical activities like exercising and joining a gym is helpful.
  2. Yoga and meditation are also supposed to bring good results and help us deal with high-functioning depression. Although it might take a little time, it is fruitful, efficient, and economical.

Importance of Mental Health: –

The importance of mental health must be understood by now. We must be happy and contended to maintain a decent lifestyle and work efficiently. Poor mental health or mental illness comes in our way of living our lives to the fullest.

Considering and acknowledging the importance of our mental health, we have a whole month dedicated to it. This month is called mental health awareness month and is celebrated throughout May.

Throughout this month, various mental health organizations and advocates try to spread awareness. Various drives and campaigns are organized and very helpful and enlightening. 

Suicide prevention has become the need of the hour as the brightest minds are giving up their lives. We also have a depression awareness month, which helps people with recurrent suicidal thoughts and more severe forms of chronic depression. This month encourages people who are clinically depressed to seek treatment or professional help so they can come out of it and return to their normal and happy lives.

Conclusion: –

By now, we know the actual meaning of high-functioning depression, its causes, and how it can be cured. So, if you feel like you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above or sense someone else going through this, you must seek professional help as soon as possible.

Times have made our mental health very delicate, and we need to take good care of it because our mental health is as important as our physical health. More resources are present today, and we should use these resources well.   

  1. Prince, Martin, et al. “No health without mental health.” The lancet 370.9590 (2007): 859-877. ↩︎
  2. Stein, Dan J. “Obsessive-compulsive disorder.” The Lancet 360.9330 (2002): 397-405. ↩︎
  3. Rottenberg, Jonathan, et al. “The curious neglect of high functioning after psychopathology: The case of depression.” Perspectives on psychological science 13.5 (2018): 549-566. ↩︎
  4. Carta, Mauro Giovanni, et al. “Current pharmacotherapeutic approaches for dysthymic disorder and persistent depressive disorder.” Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy 20.14 (2019): 1743-1754. ↩︎
  5. Sansone, Randy A., and Lori A. Sansone. “Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors: a pharmacological comparison.” Innovations in clinical neuroscience 11.3-4 (2014): 37. ↩︎

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