Health What Is High-Functioning Depression–and Could You Have It?

09:21  10 february  2018
09:21  10 february  2018 Source:   msn.com

Five Vitamins That Help Maintain Your Mental Health

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RELATED: What Is High - Functioning Anxiety– and Could You Have It ? There’s no clinical test for high - functioning depression . But primary care doctors and mental health professionals do use various screening tools to assess patients’ depressive symptoms and functioning.

What Are the Signs of ' High - Functioning ' Depression and Could You Have It ? For example, if left untreated, high - functioning depression , or dysthymia, can potentially bloom into major depression or major depressive episodes where your biological and psychological functioning is more severely

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It ’s fracturing it , creating the conditions where high - functioning depression can thrive,” says Yapko. “People who appear to be functioning well don’t think they should feel depressed and may be embarrassed by it .” It can easily fly under the radar and hide behind your put-together lifestyle.

Characterizing High - Functioning Depression . Depression — the kind without any other adjectives surrounding it — can certainly feel Many, but not all, depressed people also experience changes in their sleep patterns. They might sleep for an extraordinarily long time and find it difficult to wake up.

To the outside world, you’re a productive citizen. Some might even say you’re highly successful. But when the workday is done, your internal resources are spent. You beg off dinner with friends because the best you can do is plop onto the couch or dive into bed so you’ll be ready to take on tomorrow.

That’s what life is like when you have what’s sometimes called high-functioning depression. You make do, you get by, you appear to be handling things just fine–but you’re suffering inside.

High-functioning depression isn’t a true medical diagnosis; you won’t find it listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the bible of the mental health profession. But it is popping up on treatment center websites and health blogs as a way to characterize people with low mood, low energy, and anxiety, experts say.

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What is high - functioning - depression and how to recognize if someone you love is suffering from it ? Millions of people suffer from debilitating depression. If spilling a drink or losing a pen causes someone to go into a rage, then they could be a high - functioning depressive .

High - functioning depression is insidious because it is quiet. It hides beneath layers of perfectionism. It feeds off of denial and shame. There are many ways our loneliness can make us depressed .

a person taking a selfie © Provided by TIME Inc.

It’s a useful term, says Johnny Williamson, MD, medical director of the Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center in Lemont, Illinois, because it’s “readily understandable” and encompasses people who don’t necessarily fit neatly into traditional diagnostic categories.

RELATED: 10 Signs You Should See a Doctor for Depression

Most high-functioning types have dysthymia (also known as persistent depressive disorder), a low-grade depression marked by lagging energy or fatigue. These are people who are generally unhappy in life but don’t meet the definition of major depression, which is more severe. Dysthymia generally persists for two or more years. But if you have it, you probably slap on a brave face and go about your business.

Dysthymia can be difficult to diagnose because “it’s gradual and kind of sneaky,” Dr. Williamson says. He equates it to turning up the temperature in a room by one degree at a time. People often don’t recognize they have a problem until they’re sick of feeling blue all the time or until a stressful life event causes their emotions to boil over.

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On the surface, high - functioning depression may seem like it 's easier to deal with, but it can persist for years, leading to more functional impairment over time And, ironically, persistent depression also puts people at a higher risk for major depressive episodes with more severe symptoms.

What Is High - Functioning Anxiety– and Could You Have It ? Video Player is loading. of anxiety that are near meeting the criteria for anxiety disorders, but they’re white-knuckling their way through it ,” adds Debra Kissen, PhD, co-chair of the public education committee for the Anxiety and Depression

Even some people with major depression–the classic, episodic type that causes low mood or loss of interest or pleasure, among other symptoms­­–may be deemed high-functioning. They tend to be individuals with a lot of determination who are willing to endure significant symptoms without asking for help, Dr. Williamson explains.

Anthony Rothschild, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, believes people with major depression are “high-functioning” too. “They’re doctors and lawyers and judges ... and every walk of life, but they suffer,” he says. “They’re not reaching their potential.”

RELATED: What Is High-Functioning Anxiety–and Could You Have It?

There’s no clinical test for high-functioning depression. But primary care doctors and mental health professionals do use various screening tools to assess patients’ depressive symptoms and functioning. For example, your doctor may ask questions like: Are you unhappy or blue? Do you cry a lot? Do you have low energy? Do you have sleep problems?

As part of a new patient evaluation, Dr. Rothschild often poses a simple question. “I’ll say, ‘What do you do for fun?’ And if they look at me, like, Where did you come from?, then I know they might very well be suffering from depression,” he says.

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Millions of American adults suffer from depression and anxiety symptoms at any given time, making it the most common mental illness in the United States. Among the nine different types of depression a person can be diagnosed with, high - functioning depression may be the most elusive.

What is high - functioning depression ? High - functioning depression can feel confusing and misleading, making it hard to figure out if you should seek help. Just because you can get through the day doesn’t mean you should settle for less than your desired quality of life.

What qualifies as high-functioning depression is somewhat subjective, says Michael Thase, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and co-author of Beating the Blues: New Approaches to Overcoming Dysthymia and Chronic Mild Depression. He explains that people often fill three or four main roles in their lives: vocation (meaning work or school); intimate partner or spouse; parent; and friend or community member. Assessing how active you are in your roles can help a mental health professional gauge high-functioning depression, he says. “You may notice that there’s a hole in this person’s extracurricular life."

Steven Huprich, PhD, professor of psychology at University of Detroit Mercy, says there may be something in a person’s nature–“a particular type of negative self-image”–fueling his or her chronic unhappiness. “If somebody came to me and said, ‘I think I have high-functioning depression,’ chances are not only would I hear about mood symptoms, but I’d probably hear something about being kind of perfectionistic, feeling guilty a lot, feeling self-critical,” he says.

If you’re aware you’re not performing up to speed, you might also experience feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and a loss of confidence, Dr. Williamson adds.

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Those with high functioning depression may effectively fulfill the obligations of everyday life, such as working a nine-to-five (Picture: Ella Byworth for As someone who’s always been high - functioning – and high-achieving – I know how difficult and downright scary it can be to admit that you ’re struggling.

Because she lives with high - functioning depression , it is difficult for people to understand how anything could be wrong. On the lowest end is what many therapists and sufferers refer to as “crippling depression ,” a state where one cannot hold down a job, maintain basic hygiene, get out of

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Unfortunately, it can be easy for people with high-functioning depression to fly under the radar because they hide their suffering well. Without support, there’s a lot of “loneliness and aloneness,” Dr. Williamson says.

But just because you’re getting by doesn’t mean you don’t need help. Since depression treatment is highly individualized, every person’s regimen will differ and may include lifestyle changes, talk therapy, and/or medication.

You might start by consulting your primary care doctor, contacting an employee assistance program, or calling a therapist. The important point, experts say, is to seek help, because depression is highly treatable.

“Where you start with treatment,” Dr. Williamson says, “is less important than the fact that you start.”

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I’ve dated a man for two years, we’re both early-mid 20s. We’re monogamous, met each other’s friends and roommates, have some mutual friends.We’re between friends with benefits and boyfriend/girlfriend. I’m graduating university, he has another year. I’ve secured a job four hours away from our university. I’m unsure about having a long-distance relationship. We haven’t achieved typical “mile markers” (i.e. meeting each other’s parents/families). Also, his pessimism, especially about finishing school late (his fault) and potentially poor job prospects, can really bring me down. However, I care for him as both friend and partner. We get along, share common interests, and enjoy each other’s company.

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