Depression affects millions of people around the world. While there is much conversation about the debilitating effects of depression, it is often overlooked that some people live with high-functioning depression. High-functioning depression is a form of depression that does not prevent individuals from leading successful lives and maintaining productive careers. It is a condition that is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed but can have serious long-term effects on an individual’s life.
Medically called dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder (PDD), this type of depression is a chronic, depressive condition characterized by a chronically low mood. It is generally milder than a major depressive disorder (MDD) but lasts for years. People with this condition find it can affect their mood, physical health, social life, and thoughts.
This type of depression is often referred to as high-functioning because it doesn’t permanently impair your ability to work or spend time with others. However, functioning depression still negatively impacts many aspects of your life.
The key identifying factor of this type of depression, that sets it apart from other types, is that it lasts a long period of time yet doesn’t significantly impair day-to-day functioning. To be diagnosed with this form of depression, you usually need to experience two or more of these high-functioning depression symptoms for two or more years.
Unlike MDD, PDD doesn’t usually cause intense sorrow, fear, anger, or suicidal ideation. Because you’re still high functioning, you might not notice any significant problems with the five main areas of functioning: personal health, family life, social relationships, educational success, and occupational goals.
Instead of strong, negative emotions, you may find that everything feels vaguely unpleasant or uninteresting. Here are some familiar sensations that people with PDD report.
Both PDD and MDD have the same general treatment options. Depending on your situation, your doctor might suggest you try one or both of these ways of recovering from depression.
You can get medication that helps adjust your brain chemistry and reduce symptoms of depression. There are a variety of antidepressants, and it can take some time to find one that works for you. Since PDD is a chronic condition, you might need to be on these medications for months or even years.
The other option is talk therapy. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy involve speaking with a professional about your feelings. They can help you explore your feelings and find healthy ways to process them. With help from your therapist, you can develop helpful coping skills and identify issues triggering depressive thoughts.
In addition to medical care, most people with functioning depression can benefit from lifestyle changes. Here are a few ways you can decrease stress and improve mental health.
At Mind Body Wellness, we provide compassionate, effective depression recovery. Our outpatient facility offers a variety of evidence-based treatments and holistic therapies that can provide relief to those with depression. In addition to depression treatment, we also specialize in managing a wide range of other mental health and substance use disorders. To learn more about our services, contact us today.