high functioning depression

Signs and Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression

A myth exists that someone dealing with depression finds themselves unable to get out of bed or function in their daily lives. Actually, many people who struggle with depression may act in a way that hides their conditions from others, including their loved ones. This makes it important to recognize the signs of high-functioning depression so that a person can understand they have an illness. This allows them to receive quality treatment that helps them manage their symptoms and live happier, more fulfilling lives. 

What Is High-Functioning Depression?

Depression affects one in six people at some point during their lifetime. Someone who shows signs of high-functioning depression may be diagnosed as having a major depressive disorder or persistent depressive disorder. Depression can be easily spotted in some people, such as those who find themselves unable to work, go to school, or otherwise participate fully in their lives. When a person develops high-functioning depression, those around them, including loved ones, may have a more difficult time recognizing what’s going on.

The effects of high-functioning depression may build up over time, making it difficult for even the person suffering from it to realize they have a mental health disorder. This type of personality often does not feel comfortable reaching out for help and will do their best to act as if everything is fine. In some cases, the person experiences short bouts of feeling fewer depressive symptoms. This can add to the belief that they just suffer from bad moods but manage to push through them. 

The term “high-functioning” can lend itself to the idea that the person who has this level of depression is stronger than others who deal with the illness. In reality, anyone who struggles with depression is at risk of becoming worse off and even developing suicidal feelings. This makes it imperative that the person receive professional treatment so they can overcome their depression.

Signs of High-Functioning Depression

Many of the signs of high-functioning depression are similar to those of regular depression. Common signs include:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Low energy
  • Unexplained physical ailments like headaches, stomachaches, and body aches
  • Weight gain or loss due to eating in relation to moods
  • Constantly feeling sad or hopeless
  • Difficulty thinking clearly or making decisions
  • Lack of motivation for daily chores or hobbies
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Consistently feeling pessimistic
  • Crying jags
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Lack of enthusiasm or trouble performing well at work or in school
  • Using or abusing drugs or alcohol to self-medicate

Someone with high-functioning depression may go to work every day and even excel at it. They may do similiarly well in school, hobbies, or raising a family. Still, underneath it all, they are fighting their depression and not living the happy, fulfilling lives they deserve. 

How Does Treatment For Depression Work?

Treatment for depression happens in a variety of ways, often in stages. Someone who has severe signs of high-functioning depression may need to start out getting help in a residential program, then move into an outpatient program. Outpatient care takes place during the day and allows the person to live at home while receiving it. 

As an alternative, many people benefit from living in a sober living home while getting outpatient care. While some may associate sober living homes with substance use disorders, many of them also help people overcome mental health disorders. In fact, a lot of residents in this type of home are receiving treatment for both an addiction and a mental illness. 

Can High-Functioning Depression Happen With Substance Abuse?

Approximately half of those who have a mental health disorder, including depression, also develop a substance use disorder. This is called dual diagnosis and can be treated by many residential, outpatient, and sober living home treatment programs. 

It’s common for someone exhibiting the signs of high-functioning depression to begin to abuse drugs or alcohol in order to try to alleviate their symptoms. Sadly, this attempt at self-medicating can turn into a full-blown addiction. When the person receives treatment for a dual diagnosis, it addresses both illnesses. As their depressive symptoms begin to subside, this can cause their desire to use substances to lessen. As well, when the individual stops abusing substances, it can help reduce the symptoms of depression.

A benefit of outpatient care, including that which comes with sober living homes, is that the person can receive medication management. This allows the person to work on themselves in traditional talk therapy sessions, including individual and group therapy. Alongside this, they visit with a clinician who assesses their need for medication to address their depression. This medical expert effectively oversees how the person does taking their meds and manages any need to change the dosage or type of prescription medication being used. 

Begin Treatment For Signs of High-Functioning Depression

Do you deal with signs of high-functioning depression and are tired of how challenging it can be to live your daily life because of it? Creekside Recovery Residences in Atlanta provides a safe haven for people to live while they work on treating their high-functioning depression. We offer comfortable, modern homes shared with peers who are also in the process of rebuilding their lives and can support each other. We provide access to several kinds of outpatient care that help you work on mental health disorders, as well as any co-occurring addiction to drugs or alcohol. 
Please visit our admissions page for more information on how to overcome high-functioning depression. Our staff will be happy to talk to you about our program and answer any questions you have.

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