Mental health disorders and sensitive when it comes to treatment. There are so many variables and different mental health disorders that exist. Anxiety disorders and depression are two of the most common mental health disorders; in addition to this, there exist more granular versions of these mental health disorders. One of these includes high-functioning depression.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a serious mental illness that affects how someone feels, thinks, and behaves. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function in everyday life. Symptoms of depression may include feelings of intense sadness, irritability, low self-worth, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, changes in sleep and eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and thoughts of suicide.
Depression can be caused by a variety of factors such as biological, environmental, or psychological. Treatment for depression is typically provided through medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. The goals of treatment are to reduce symptoms and help the person return to their normal level of functioning. It is important to remember that depression is a treatable medical condition and with help, most people can fully recover.
Why Is Depression So Common?
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the development of depression, including genetic factors, medical issues such as chronic illness, stressful life events, and even a lack of access to social support. While depression can affect anyone regardless of gender or age, it is commonly found in individuals who have experienced traumatic events, such as abuse or neglect, during childhood or adolescence.
Depression may also be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects mood regulation and overall emotional well-being. For some, a lack of access to mental health services or a stigma attached to seeking help can further compound the issue.
Ultimately, it is difficult to pinpoint one single cause that explains why depression is so common. However, recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression can be key in helping individuals seek out the necessary treatments they need to feel better.
Some symptoms may include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness and emptiness
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- A lack of energy or motivation
- Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
- Increased irritability and agitation
- Low self-esteem and guilt
- Physical aches and pains
- Substance abuse or other impulsive behaviors
What Is High-Functioning Depression?
High-functioning depression, also known as ‘smiling depression’, is a type of depression in which an individual appears to be able to function normally on the outside, despite suffering from significant depressive symptoms that are often hidden. People with high-functioning depression may appear to have their lives together, while still feeling intensely sad and empty inside. Because of this, high-functioning depression can be difficult to diagnose and often goes untreated.
What Are the Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression?
High-functioning depression is a form of depression that can be difficult to recognize because its symptoms can be subtle and often differ from the classic signs of depression. Common symptoms include:
- Feeling empty and apathetic
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of energy and fatigue
- Problems with decision making
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Social isolation
What Are the Signs of a Major Depressive Episode?
Signs of a major depressive episode can include:
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Trouble sleeping or oversleeping
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty making decisions
- Thoughts of death and suicide
Physical symptoms such as headaches or digestive problems may also be associated with depression. If these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it is important to seek professional help. Treatment options such as therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes can help manage the severity and frequency of depressive episodes.
It is also important to recognize that everyone experiences depression differently and there are many factors that can contribute to its onset or worsening. These may include environmental factors such as family dynamics, stress, or trauma. Also, as previously mentioned, biological factors like genetics and chemical imbalances in the brain can also play a role.
How Can High-Functioning Depression Be Treated?
High-functioning depression is typically treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can help to relieve symptoms like sadness and low energy levels. Psychotherapy helps to identify the underlying causes of depression so that individuals can develop healthier coping strategies for managing their moods.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly beneficial for those with high-functioning depression as it teaches them to recognize negative thoughts and behaviors that might be influencing their mood before taking action. It also helps individuals form positive coping strategies for dealing with difficult situations, stress, and other triggers of depression.
Other therapies such as interpersonal therapy (IPT) and problem-solving therapy provide a supportive environment to help individuals work through personal issues that might be contributing to their depression. In addition to talk therapy, many people with depression find relief from antidepressant medications. These medications typically take several weeks before taking full effect and may need monitoring by a doctor for side effects or potential drug interactions.
For those who cannot tolerate medication or do not respond to it, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be an effective treatment. It works by delivering electrical currents to the brain that cause a brief seizure and can help reduce symptoms of depression.
Adler Health Can Help Manage High-Functioning Depression
Adler Health specializes in providing individualized treatment to those who walk through our facility doors. Individualized care is imperative to mental health treatment; everybody comes from a different background and experiences depression in different ways. These past experiences and context have a massive impact on how a person should be interacted with and treated. There is help available for high-functioning depression. If you or a loved one are interested and would like to find out more, you can contact us here.