Did you know that 280 million people worldwide struggle with clinical depression? That number is likely even higher, given that many people do not get the mental health services that they need.
Depression is a complex mental illness that can be difficult to identify. High-functioning depression is even harder to spot.
If you have not received a clinical diagnosis but are wondering if you may have depression, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about your mental health condition and treating high-functioning depression.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a very common yet severe mental illness. Depression has a negative impact on your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Depression leads to various emotional and physical symptoms and can affect many areas of your life, from work to relationships.
There are many ways that a person experiences symptoms when they have depression. The most common symptoms of depression are a constant low mood, loss of interest in things you usually enjoy, and prolonged feelings of deep sadness. In some cases, there is also an impact on your ability to function. Some people also experience physical symptoms such as changes in weight, their ability to sleep, and their ability to concentrate. In severe cases, some people experience self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid problems or a lack of vitamins, can cause a depressed mood or mimic how depression feels, so it’s important to rule out general medical issues. To be diagnosed with depression, your symptoms need to have lasted at least two weeks.
Depression is a result of many different factors. Depression can be caused by biochemistry, personality, genetics, or environmental conditions.
Certain mental health disorders, such as anxiety, are commonly found to co-exist with depression. Anxiety and depression are a nasty combination that can prevent you from getting the help you need.
Depression and ADHD have also been known to co-exist. ADHD is characterized by difficulty concentrating, and some people report that when they find an effective treatment for ADHD, their depressive symptoms lessen. In addition, the symptoms of one disorder can affect the symptoms of the other.
How High Functioning Depression Differs
High-functioning depression is a form of depression that is more common than people realize. It can present as either Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD). While MDD is more commonly known, PDD is a milder but more chronic form of depression.
Since high-functioning depression isn’t the type of depression commonly seen in the media, people have a more challenging time identifying it. If you have high-functioning depression, you might assume you’re in a bad mood or going through a rough time.
With functioning depression, you might notice an ebb and flow when your depression is particularly bad. Certain things, such as financial or emotional stress, can ‘trigger’ your depression.
High-functioning depression shares all of the symptoms of depression that affect your ability to function. However, you can do things such as go to work or care for your family. Other people with depression may not be able to do these things.
For people with high-functioning depression, it can be very hard to get the help they need. Often, people experiencing these feelings will not get help due to the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Additionally, some people may even assume it would be selfish to seek help since you can still function in your daily life with depression. This is not the case.
There is nothing wrong with seeking the help you need. Not only will it improve your mental health, but it will also improve your quality of life.
It’s essential to seek help. A good therapist will be able to help you identify triggers, as well as come up with a proper treatment plan. They’ll also help you find coping mechanisms that work for you.
Identifying Types of Depression
When people refer to depression, they’re often thinking of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) because this is the type most reported. You can be diagnosed with MDD after two weeks of experiencing depression.
As stated before, PDD is a sometimes milder but more chronic form of depression. Also known as dysthymic disorder, this depression lasts two years or more. This type of depression is most commonly associated with high-functioning depression.
Seasonal depression involves moods that change with the seasons. It is also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Seasonal depression is most common, beginning in fall and lasting through winter, but some may experience depression during spring and summer.
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that happens after the birth of a child. It is not caused by the mother and is completely out of their control. Although the “baby blues” are a relatively common experience after birth, mothers may be diagnosed with postpartum depression if their symptoms persist for more than a couple of weeks.
Lastly, depression can also be caused by other physical and mental disorders. One common disorder associated with depressive symptoms is bipolarity. Bipolarity involves both periods of depression and periods of mania.
The easiest way to identify functioning depression is to look at your environment and medical conditions. Evaluating your current circumstances can rule out SAD, postpartum depression, and bipolarity.
While severe depression may be easier to identify than high functioning depression, they are equally harmful. If you suspect you have depression, getting help sooner rather than later is essential. If you struggle with functioning depression alone, it may worsen or become more than you can handle. Getting help means getting the treatment you need to improve your life.
Reach Out to Us
If you are struggling with depression, it is important to seek help. There is no shame in this – you’re not alone. There are many treatment avenues for depression including talk therapy, finding the right medication, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy (TMS).
Depression hurts, but we can help. Contact us today to see if TMS therapy is the right fit for you.
Reach out to us here to start feeling like yourself again.