High-Functioning Depression | Symptoms, Signs, Withdrawals & Treatments

With the shocking news of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst's death and her struggle with high-functioning depression, the discussion about the subject has opened doors as to how this impacts a struggling person's ability to engage themselves in society regardless of this condition.

Today, Transcend Recovery Community takes a closer look at what high-functioning depression is and how you can identify warning signs, including possible treatment options you may consider for this condition.

What is High-Functioning Depression?

High-functioning depression is a relatively new condition that has surfaced lately. And most likely, you won't find a clear definition listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, many health professionals have acknowledged it because it is easily understandable, as more people relate to it while not fitting traditional diagnostic categories.

One certainty about this condition is that people who mostly have it suffer from a persistent depressive disorder. It's a low-grade depression or "low mood," so to speak, that displays noticeable lagging energy or fatigue.

As it is quite complex to make a proper diagnosis, a person should first be able to distinguish between depression versus sadness. This will better help them understand their situation and the mental illness that they are experiencing and whether therapy or counseling would suffice to help them get better.

Side Effects of High-Functioning Depression

Experiencing depression may vary from person to person. And sometimes, people surrounding a suffering individual may not easily recognize that someone is in fact in significant distress due to their situation.

As with any mental illness, depression should be attended to immediately. When left untreated, it may snowball into severe conditions, which may include process addiction, or even drug addiction as a means to cope with one's mental health issues.

Major depression may have a severe impact on one's physical health. Some of its physical effects may include:

  • Higher risk of coronary artery disease (prone to strokes or heart attacks)
  • Sleeping disorders, such as insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Digestive/gastrointestinal issues (malnutrition, weight changes, and fluctuations)

Signs That Someone is in High-Functioning Depression?

a mature man severely depressed and speaking to a depression treatment center personnel

Anyone regardless of their race, age, or social status may experience symptoms of depression. However, having an occasional "depressed mood," might not be enough to warrant such. It will still take proper diagnosis facilitated by a mental health professional.

It's worth noting that people may also face varying levels of their depressive condition, and not everyone will experience major depression, unlike others who would display milder signs of depression. The common signs of high functioning depression meanwhile include:

  • Change in diet or eating patterns (decreased appetite or overeating)
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns (insomnia and hypersomnia or "oversleeping")
  • Low physical activity due to lack of interest in usual hobbies or interests
  • Poor concentration
  • Faulty decision making
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • General lethargic feeling
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Chronically depressed mood

When these "low mood" symptoms someone is experiencing extend for a longer period, it's best to consult with a psychiatrist to better diagnose their condition and recommend the appropriate treatment programs to address their issues.

However, always remember that diagnosing mental illnesses takes careful consideration and time on the part of the attending health professional and the individual, so transparency is of the utmost importance.

Is High-Functioning Depression Manageable?

With awareness and proper support for one's mental health conditions, high functioning depression can be managed by an individual. What's important is that the individual first acknowledges that it exists and is open to doing something to help alleviate their situation.

It is also crucial that if a person experiences symptoms, they can immediately seek help from a mental health professional, especially in its early stages to avoid worsening their condition into a severe depression.

Oftentimes, when therapy is involved, having a mental health companion will greatly benefit an individual to keep them inspired and motivated, especially during their lowest moments when in therapy. An individual should also have a strong network of support from their friends and loved ones so that they'll never feel alone during these trying times they are facing in their life.

Experiencing clinical depression is indeed a serious matter. But rest assured, there will always be help on the way for even a high-functioning person to manage their persistent depressive disorder well and to care for their overall mental health.

Is There a High-Functioning Depression Test?

Identifying whether someone has high-functioning depression may be trickier as it entails careful deliberation and diagnosis. What's important is that someone has the strength to accept their situation and the reality that they are facing.

It may also require an individual to under a particular lab test or psychological examination. Of course, the physician may first start by running through some lab work (blood tests) just to ensure that the depressive symptoms are not part of another underlying medical condition.

Depression screening tests may also be done to determine whether a person is indeed undergoing a depressive condition. These may include two-part questionnaires and depression screening instruments such as Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD).

When accomplishing these tests, the person must answer the questions truthfully for the attending psychiatrist to make a proper clinical diagnosis of the individual's mental health condition. It will allow them to prescribe the appropriate and effective treatment programs for their functioning depression.

Treatment for This Depression

People experiencing major depression or any mental illness related to it may easily lose hope in their situation. But thankfully, they can contact depression treatment centers like Transcend Recovery Community as it primarily focus on and understand the unique needs of someone undergoing these problems.

Through careful screening of one's major depression, professionals can properly give the right treatment. It also helps the doctor screen the patient carefully to see if there are any underlying problems such as substance abuse.

Part of one's treatment may involve cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication management, especially when given an antidepressant prescription.

Any individual who wants a second chance in life should always remember that their recovery can include all members of their family, and apart from proper mental health care, constant support and positive affirmation will help them cross their path towards leading a more productive and meaningful life.

Transcend Recovery Community

Transcend Recovery Community family of sober living homes provides a safe place for those undergoing mental health and addiction treatment to live with like-minded peers. Our community-based approach to sober living (similarly to a halfway house) facilitates an open and welcoming environment, where members, staff and team can provide support and encouragement on the path to a sober and healthy life. Transcend's Los Angeles sober living homes are located in some of the most iconic areas of the city, filled with luxurious and upscale amenities, providing plenty to do for those in our transitional housing community.

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