High Functioning Depression

High Functioning Depression

Do you know anyone who suffers from depression? When you hear the word “depression,” you probably think about someone who is unproductive and may not give off the best appearance of physical or mental wellbeing.

Maybe you envision someone who is extremely vocal about how negative their life is, and this negativity visibly presents crippling challenges for them. While all of these scenarios certainly are typical examples of what someone living with depression looks like, by no means is this always the case.

Many people who struggle with depression don’t exhibit any noticeable signs. They might even give the outward appearance of someone highly content with their lives. However, when they’re in solitude, they suffer alone, with few members of the outside world being aware of their internal struggles.

A sizeable portion of people living with depression exists in the world described above. And unfortunately, this can be the most dangerous form of depression because it’s so hard to be aware that they may need help.

What Is High-Functioning Depression?

These people fall under the diagnosis of what’s known as high-functioning depression. Externally they appear to be very active, thriving members of society who don’t seem sad at all.

However, the way they exist internally is another matter altogether. On the inside, many of these people are damaged, suffering alone with no plan of when or how they’re going to get help.

Unlike other forms of depression where the person may be unaware that depression exists, these individuals are usually acutely aware of the presence of an issue. This is why they make such a conscious effort to mask their symptoms on a daily basis.

Multiple reasons exist for people to cover the existence of their depression. Some of the most common situations include:

  • They feel like they have to be strong for their family/spouse/children
  • They’re too proud or embarrassed to admit they have a problem with depression. This is especially true in men.
  • They might believe that nobody cares or they’re beyond help.
  • They feel like they don’t want to bother or burden anyone else with their depression problems
  • They might think the problems will go away on their own.

This is just a sample of the potential reasons people suffer silently from depression. It’s also much easier to function at a high level with depression than in comparison to other mental health challenges.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

High-Functioning vs. Other Mental Health Disorders

Other mental health disorders have their share of high-functioning members. However, depression seems to have a higher percentage of high-function cases than other disorders.

This is because the direct side effects and symptoms of depression are easier to cover up for short periods. There are also fewer fears and phobias associated with depression compared to other disorders.

For example, disorders like anxiety, PTSD, OCD to name a few, have impulses and fears at their cores. When these things manifest in the lives of those who suffer from these disorders, it can be nearly impossible to hide the side effects.

When an anxiety attack sets in or someone encounters the source of their fears regarding a phobia, overall physical effects begin to take hold. The person starts to sweat, shake, and exhibit other visible signs of distress. These symptoms are easier to identify, making these disorders challenging to cover up and function with at a high level.

However, if you’re attentive enough, signs do exist that clue you into the existence of high functioning depression.                                                                                                                                          

Signs of High Functioning Depression

Signs of High Functioning Depression

If you look close enough, people who function at higher levels who suffer from depression will give you red flags that may indicate the presence of an issue. Look for the following indicators while you’re around them:

  • Decreased appetite and significant weight loss
  • Increased appetite and unhealthy overeating that leads to significant weight gain
  • Signs of insomnia including oversleeping through important events
  • Signs of fatigue and lack of restful sleep
  • Moments of lower self-esteem (women or men who are into their physical appearance at unhealthy levels, spending hours getting ready, etc.)
  • Inability to make confident decisions
  • If they confide in you on rare occasions about the fact that they feel sad or hopeless

It might be difficult to identify high-functioning depression, but it’s not impossible. This is why it’s essential to pay as much attention as possible while you’re with the person you have questions about.

One of the current positive elements surrounding this condition is the fact that widespread awareness has increased for people who suffer from the side effects.

Recent Attention to High Functioning Depression

The recent attention placed on high functioning depression has increased the number of resources available to individuals dealing with the side effects. Media campaigns and increased awareness have spread, making it less stressful for people to reach out for help.

Several reasons exist for this recent increase in attention, including high-profile celebrity suicides because of hidden depression and the stigma surrounding men and their ability to seek treatment for depressive disorders.

As stated above, other high-function mental health disorders exist in fewer numbers. However, they are present, and it’s essential to be aware of what they could be.

Other Forms of High-Functioning Mental Health Disorder

Certain mental health disorders meet the criteria of having the ability to be more high functioning than others. The following list outlines examples of these disorders and with necessary information regarding each:

  • Anger management sufferers have the potential to be high functioning. Just because they don’t always outwardly lash out when they’re upset doesn’t mean they don’t have anger management issues. This rage can often be projected internally or physically in the form of self-mutilation and self-harm through substance abuse.
  • People with eating disorders are perhaps some of the highest functioning members of society regarding mental health challenges. These individuals hold down regular jobs and live normal lives frequently. However, physical signs may be a huge red flag, and eventually, their physical health makes it difficult to continue functioning at a high level.
  • People who have bipolar disorder have the potential to be high functioning also. Again, their drastic mood shifts don’t necessarily have to be projected outwardly and often aren’t. When symptoms manifest in people with disorders that include extreme shifts in moods, it often happens in private. Usually, when these changes begin to take hold, you’ll notice the individual might quickly have to get home or withdrawal from social situations very quickly.

How Is High Functioning Depression Diagnosed?

How Is High Functioning Depression Diagnosed

High-functioning depression is diagnosed in the same way as any other type of depression. High-functioning depression isn’t technically classified as a separate clinical form of the disorder.

However, many physicians and mental health professionals will use the Zung Scale. This scale uses a set of questions to rate clients on a scale of 20 to 80 to gauge the severity of their depression symptoms. Typically anything above 50 is considered clinically depressed.

Recently, many physicians have been classifying high-functioning members of society who suffer from depression as having a persistent depressive disorder (PDD). What’s the difference between this and ordinary depressive disorder?

The most common form of depression is MDD (manic depressive disorder). This is classified as the shift from depressed to manic (mania, extreme happiness) in windows of two months or less.

In these cases, the feelings of depression don’t last consistently in the person’s daily life. On the other hand, PDD is a consistent bout with depression for more than two years consecutively.

It’s important to note that not all PDD victims will be high-functioning, but almost all high-functioning depressions sufferers will suffer from PDD (not all, but most).

The diagnostic criteria for PDD include:

  • Depressed mood highlighted by one of the primary side effects of depression that occur almost every day for two years straight with no relief period extending longer than two months (anything lasting longer than two months falls under the category of MDD)
  • The client has never experienced a period of mania or euphoria during the depression.
  • Other mental health disorders can’t explain the symptoms.
  • The symptoms must cause significant distress in at least one area of the individual’s life.

Regardless of how severe the symptoms become, options for help always exist.

Benefits of Treating High Functioning Depression In Hawaii

Hawaii is the perfect place for treating high-functioning or any other variety of depression. It takes a significant amount of positivity to overcome the shadows of depression.

The Hawaiian Islands are pulsing with positive energy and healing properties, and the holistic options you need are available almost anywhere you look. Getting treatment for high functioning depression is extremely important because of how hidden this disorder is. The built-up negativity and feelings that aren’t processed can manifest dangerously if the problem isn’t addressed.

Getting Treatment for High Functioning Depression

At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we understand how crucial getting treatment for high functioning depression can be. Our facility and staff are a perfect fit for anyone suffering from depression.

The holistic approach we take to recovery, combined with the beautiful backdrop of the Hawaiian Islands, provides an environment that few places can reproduce. Other facilities could spend a lifetime hiring the top talent globally and still couldn’t match the natural healing environment that Hawaii provides for our clients.

For more information about how we can help with depression and other disorders, don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our admissions team.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.