High-functioning depression came into the national conversation on August 11th, 2014, when the news broke that Robin Williams died. Fans all around the world were puzzled by the very distinct, yet sometimes confusing symptoms of depression.
That he was considered one of the most iconic comedians of all time, making us belly laugh until it hurt on numerous occasions, did little to highlight his struggle with darkness and pain.
On the days that followed his death, memes that included a laughing Williams with a wide bright smile captioned with “This is What Depression Looks Like” made rounds on social media.
While only few will ever know the intimate details of Williams’s mental health journey, it stands to reason that at some points in his life he was coping well at work, keeping relationships intact, and had a relatively reasonable level of focus and concentration. And also, he was likely clinically depressed at the same time.
Depression Comes in Many Forms
The World Health Organization’s estimate that 264 million people struggle with depression underscores the benefit of taking a closer look at what mental health professionals conceptualize as high-functioning depression.
Often times, the clinical significance and severity of someone’s depression often flies “under the radar” leaving many with painful and uncomfortable symptoms that go untreated.
If you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering from high functioning depression, these three things are helpful when trying to determine if formal treatment is necessary.
What Is High-Functioning Depression?
When treating clients, mental health providers turn to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), a tool that provides a clear framework for assigning a mental health diagnosis when appropriate.
Some might be surprised to learn that while the DSM-5 does include a wide spectrum of mood disorders ranging from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) to Dysthymia (a low-level depression that lasts for two years or more), a definition of high functioning depression is absent from this manual.
That there is no explicit statement of this term can be problematic when it comes to helping clients see the severity and impact of their symptoms. Because depression is highly treatable, it is critical that all types of depression in their many forms, are not minimized.
The Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression
When it comes to assessing if you meet criteria for clinical depression, a therapist can be extremely helpful. Considering these symptoms will be one of many of elements that a mental health professional may use to arrive at a diagnosis. However, many factors will be taken in to consideration.
- Feeling “flat”
- Loss in appetite
- Negative or hostile self-talk
- Low motivation
- Withdraw from social situations
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty making decisions
- Increase in irritability
Treatments and Resources for High-Functioning Depression
Talk Therapy – A trained professional who experiences you with unconditional positive regard is what therapy might look like. Talking about depression and difficult or uncomfortable topics in a safe place can be an important step in getting relief from depression. The counselors at Loving Life Today are highly skilled in identifying where to focus each talk therapy session.
Yoga – A yoga practice can be restorative to the body and mind. The evidence of moving the body to help reset the nervous system is well documented. This kind of movement is also a positive way to channel your emotions.
Mindfulness Practice – So many of us underestimate the power of our breath. By taking intentional slow deep breaths, free of judgment and expectations, it is possible to train the mind to reduce the duration and frequency of unwanted or negative thoughts and can also help with behavior modification.
Ketamine Treatments – A laser-focused and time-oriented depression treatment, Ketamine treatments can be monumental when treating depression. Many people who have tried Ketamine treatments report quick results that they haven’t been able to enjoy with any other treatment. At Loving Life Today, we honor that this may be an option for you.
Seek Help For High-Functioning Depression
When it comes to depression there are many variables and treatments. Doesn’t it always happen that when we set out to seek answers, information overload takes a toll? When it comes to exploring these issues, you don’t have to navigate your journey alone.
If you need more information about the options available to you, call us at 813-609-6946 or schedule your intake appointment today.