Health What Is High-Functioning Depression–and Could You Have It?
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This story about depression is the most important thing you’ll read today
This story about depression is the most important thing you’ll read todayTaking to Twitter, Craig wrote about a moment in which he considered ending his own life eight years ago.
To the outside world, you’re a productive citizen. Some might even say you’re highly successful. But when the workday is done, your internal resources are spent. You beg off dinner with friends because the best you can do is plop onto the couch or dive into bed so you’ll be ready to take on tomorrow.
That’s what life is like when you have what’s sometimes called high-functioning depression. You make do, you get by, you appear to be handling things just fine–but you’re suffering inside.
High-functioning depression isn’t a true medical diagnosis; you won’t find it listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the bible of the mental health profession. But it is popping up on treatment center websites and health blogs as a way to characterize people with low mood, low energy, and, experts say.
Why It’s Okay To Be Sad Around The Holidays
No matter where you turn during the holidays, it can feel like everyone is trying to push merriment and joy your way. Sure, it's a nice sentiment. But if you're someone with depression, then all this messaging about happiness and cheer might make you feel guilty about how you actually feel on a regular basis, according to Danielle Forshee, PsyD, LCSW, a relationship therapist in New Jersey and New York."People may feel pressured to feel or present themselves to family members or friends in a way that shows they're okay," Dr. Forshee says.And, for some people, this can add a layer of pressure and stress to an already tense time.
It’s a useful term, says Johnny Williamson, MD, medical director of the Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center in Lemont, Illinois, because it’s “readily understandable” and encompasses people who don’t necessarily fit neatly into traditional diagnostic categories.
Most high-functioning types have(also known as persistent depressive disorder), a low-grade depression marked by lagging energy or fatigue. These are people who are generally unhappy in life but don’t meet the definition of major , which is more severe. Dysthymia generally persists for two or more years. But if you have it, you probably slap on a brave face and go about your business.
Dysthymia can be difficult to diagnose because “it’s gradual and kind of sneaky,” Dr. Williamson says. He equates it to turning up the temperature in a room by one degree at a time. People often don’t recognize they have a problem until they’re sick of feeling blue all the time or until a stressful life event causes their emotions to boil over.
My sister's depressed, but she doesn't want my help: Ask Ellie
My younger sister has been very depressed about her boyfriend’s poor treatment of her, which ended recently with his leaving her apartment where he’d lived for four years.She’s 34 and has two kids, 13 and 11, from a previous relationship. Her boyfriend’s 26.He was a new immigrant here when they met through family. She was immediately taken with him, though he had nothing, and moved him in without rent or food money from him.But he was ambitious, went to school, got a job and got promoted. She’s got an OK job, but she’s always been needy and too giving in her relationships.She’s the dependent type, like our mother who cried for years after our father left. I’m the opposite.
Even some people with major depression–the classic, episodic type that causes low mood or loss of interest or pleasure, among other symptoms–may be deemed high-functioning. They tend to be individuals with a lot of determination who are willing to endure significant symptoms without asking for help, Dr. Williamson explains.
Anthony Rothschild, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, believes people with major depression are “high-functioning” too. “They’re doctors and lawyers and judges ... and every walk of life, but they suffer,” he says. “They’re not reaching their potential.”
There’s no clinical test for high-functioning depression. But primary care doctors and mental health professionals do use various screening tools to assess patients’ depressive symptoms and functioning. For example, your doctor may ask questions like: Are you unhappy or blue? Do you cry a lot? Do you have low energy? Do you have sleep problems?
As part of a new patient evaluation, Dr. Rothschild often poses a simple question. “I’ll say, ‘What do you do for fun?’ And if they look at me, like, Where did you come from?, then I know they might very well be suffering from depression,” he says.
Pregnant Chrissy Teigen Worries About Suffering Postpartum Depression Again
Chrissy Teigen , who’s pregnant with a boy, admitted at the Create & Cultivate conference in L.A. on Saturday, February 25, that she’s worried about suffering postpartum depression with her new baby. Chrissy Teigen Is Slaying Her Second Pregnancy: See Her Maternity Style The supermodel, who was open about her struggles after the birth of Luna, her first child with John Legend, in April 2016, told the audience, “Do I worry about it with this little boy? I do. But I also know that I feel like when it does happen, if it does, I’m so ready for it. I have the perfect people around me for it. That’s why I really stand for a good core group of people around you.
What qualifies as high-functioning depression is somewhat subjective, says Michael Thase, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and co-author of. He explains that people often fill three or four main roles in their lives: vocation (meaning work or school); intimate partner or spouse; parent; and friend or community member. Assessing how active you are in your roles can help a mental health professional gauge high-functioning depression, he says. “You may notice that there’s a hole in this person’s extracurricular life."
Steven Huprich, PhD, professor of psychology at University of Detroit Mercy, says there may be something in a person’s nature–“a particular type of negative self-image”–fueling his or her chronic unhappiness. “If somebody came to me and said, ‘I think I have high-functioning depression,’ chances are not only would I hear about mood symptoms, but I’d probably hear something about being kind of perfectionistic, feeling guilty a lot, feeling self-critical,” he says.
If you’re aware you’re not performing up to speed, you might also experience feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and a loss of confidence, Dr. Williamson adds.
Relationships built for comfort may not withstand distance: Ask Ellie
I’ve dated a man for two years, we’re both early-mid 20s. We’re monogamous, met each other’s friends and roommates, have some mutual friends.We’re between friends with benefits and boyfriend/girlfriend. I’m graduating university, he has another year. I’ve secured a job four hours away from our university. I’m unsure about having a long-distance relationship. We haven’t achieved typical “mile markers” (i.e. meeting each other’s parents/families). Also, his pessimism, especially about finishing school late (his fault) and potentially poor job prospects, can really bring me down. However, I care for him as both friend and partner. We get along, share common interests, and enjoy each other’s company.
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Unfortunately, it can be easy for people with high-functioning depression to fly under the radar because they hide their suffering well. Without support, there’s a lot of “loneliness and aloneness,” Dr. Williamson says.
But just because you’re getting by doesn’t mean you don’t need help. Sinceis highly individualized, every person’s regimen will differ and may include lifestyle changes, , and/or medication.
You might start by consulting your primary care doctor, contacting an employee assistance program, or calling a therapist. The important point, experts say, is to seek help, because depression is highly treatable.
“Where you start with treatment,” Dr. Williamson says, “is less important than the fact that you start.”
Gallery: 15 Myths and Facts About Suicide and Depression
Most people think the winter holidays are a risky time, but suicides are lowest in December and peak in the spring.
It's not clear why, but it could be due to changing levels of natural light. "It could be that they have more energy to attempt suicide," says Dr. Valenstein, who is also an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Depression Center, in Ann Arbor." role="presentation" src="/upload/images/real/2018/02/10/slide-2-of-16-p-myth-p-p-there-is-a-time-of-year-when-suicides-are-more-common-says-marcia-valenstei_85697_.jpg?content=1" title="Myth "There is a time of year when suicides are more common," says Marcia Valenstein, MD, research s... - Getty Images" />
Suicides peak during holidays
Suicide rates climb with altitude
Teens are at greatest risk
The only group at higher risk is American Indian/Alaskan Natives, who have a suicide rate of 14.3 per 100,000 compared to 13.5 per 100,000 for whites and about 5 to 6 per 100,000 for other groups." role="presentation" src="/upload/images/real/2018/02/10/slide-5-of-16-p-fact-p-p-suicide-is-more-common-among-whites-in-the-u-s-than-blacks-asians-or-hispan_566369_.img?content=1" title="Fact Suicide is more common among whites in the U.S. than blacks, Asians, or Hispanics. "No one is q... - Getty Images" />
Whites attempt suicide more often than other races
Writing style is linked to suicide risk
- " role="presentation" src="/upload/images/real/2018/02/10/slide-7-of-16-p-myth-p-p-two-of-every-three-people-who-commit-suicide-are-depressed-at-the-time-they_509744_.jpg?content=1" title="Myth Two of every three people who commit suicide are depressed at the time they take their life. Ho... - Getty Images" />
Depression is always the cause of suicide
Your family affects risk
Poor countries have higher suicide rates
"Make sure people you're concerned about don't have stockpiles of meds or access to guns," she says. "You want to make it difficult for them to enact a persistent suicidal thought."" role="presentation" src="/upload/images/real/2018/02/10/slide-10-of-16-p-fact-p-p-fortunately-only-1-in-every-10-to-25-attempts-actually-results-in-death-ac_673522_.img?content=1" title="Fact Fortunately, only 1 in every 10 to 25 attempts actually results in death, according to Dr. Vale... - Getty Images" />
Most suicide attempts fail
Suicide is more common than in the past
She adds that a popular concern that antidepressants can actually raise the risk of suicide among patients under the age of 25 is most relevant during the first few weeks of therapy.
"If you successfully treat depression," notes Dr. Valenstein, "suicidal ideation declines."" role="presentation" src="/upload/images/real/2018/02/10/slide-12-of-16-p-fact-p-p-there-are-not-a-lot-of-ways-to-prevent-suicide-at-this-point-says-dr-valen_402878_.img?content=1" title="Fact "There are not a lot of ways to prevent suicide at this point," says Dr. Valenstein. "But succe... - Getty Images" />
Treatment cuts suicide risk
She points out that this link has helped write new rules for responsible journalistic reporting. For example, journalists now typically refrain from going into detail or sensationalizing death from suicide.
"They usually finish up any story with a reference to a hotline so that distressed people reading it will reach out for help rather than being tempted to emulate," Dr. Valenstein adds." role="presentation" src="/upload/images/real/2018/02/10/slide-13-of-16-p-fact-p-p-exposure-to-others-who-have-committed-suicide-may-reduce-some-of-the-barri_516679_.jpg?content=1" title="Fact Exposure to others who have committed suicide may "reduce some of the barriers to people thinki... - Getty Images" />
Suicides can trigger "copy cat" attempts
"But anyone can call the hotline for advice, even if they are worried about someone else," adds Dr. Valenstein." role="presentation" src="/upload/images/real/2018/02/10/slide-14-of-16-p-myth-p-p-one-way-to-reach-out-for-help-is-to-call-a-suicide-hotline-use-of-this-sup_48145_.img?content=1" title="Myth One way to reach out for help is to call a suicide hotline. Use of this support has been on the... - Getty Images" />
Fewer people are calling hotlines
In an unpublished study that they recently completed, they found that the most suicides fall on Mondays.
Dr. Valenstein says that, while it is not clear from studies so far which day is most common for suicides, they do seem to occur near the beginning of the week. "I would assume that the start of the work week is a more stressful time for people."" role="presentation" src="/upload/images/real/2018/02/10/slide-15-of-16-p-myth-p-p-while-wednesdays-are-notorious-for-being-bumpy-and-tuesdays-in-some-studie_8458_.jpg?content=1" title="Myth While Wednesdays are notorious for being "bumpy," and Tuesdays, in some studies, have been foun... - Getty Images" />
Suicides are more common on weekends
Men are at greater risk
Brown eyes linked to higher chance of SAD .
Brown eyes linked to higher chance of SAD They say your eyes are the window to your soul, but we never imagined that the colour of your peepers could tell you so much about your mental health...Until now, because new research has just revealed that those of us with brown eyes are much more likely to suffer from a common mood condition: seasonal affective disorder (SAD).The NHS defines SAD as a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Sufferers tend to experience symptoms, including lethargy and a persistent low mood, in the autumn and winter, when they days are shorter.
7 Signs You May Have High Functioning Depression
Many psychologists associate high functioning depression with persistent depressive disorder. Which is a prolonged state of depression. Those with high functioning depression may not feel as...
11 Symptoms of ‘High-Functioning’ Depression
Read the full story here: https://themighty.com/2017/05/signs-of-high-functioning-depression-or-dysthymia/ TheMighty.com @TheMightySite Facebook.com/TheMightySite.
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