What Is High-functioning Depression? - Joshua York Legacy Foundation

What Is High-functioning Depression?

Jun 27, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

What Is High-functioning Depression?

Do you feel like you’ve been stuck in a rut for what seems like forever? Are you tired of feeling sad and down but struggling to break out of it? You may be suffering from high-functioning depression (also known as persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia)

This mental health condition is relatively common, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating or debilitating.  So what is high-functioning depression? In this post, we’ll discuss what it is, its symptoms, and how it’s treated.

What Is High-functioning Depression?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders, High-functioning Depression or PPD, is a type of mental illness that lasts for at least two years. It’s a chronic mild depression that’s characterized by a number of symptoms that can interfere with your daily life. These symptoms may be constant or come and go, but they typically persist over time and can be pretty debilitating.

PDD usually begins in adolescence or young adulthood, but it can also develop later in life. If you have PDD, you’re also at greater risk for developing other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, and eating disorders.

Recognizing that someone may be living with high-functioning depression can be difficult. This is because it is not a distinct clinical diagnosis and those with the condition often look like they’re managing well on the surface. They may have a job, be in a relationship, and take care of their responsibilities. But underneath, they’re struggling. They may feel empty, hopeless, or disconnected from the people and activities they once enjoyed.

What Causes High-functioning Depression?

The exact cause of PDD is unknown, but it’s thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. If you have a family member with the condition, you’re more likely to develop it yourself. Other risk factors include trauma, abuse, and major life changes.

It’s important to remember that PDD is not your fault. You didn’t do anything to cause it, and you can’t just “snap out of it.”

Symptoms of High-functioning Depression

As we mentioned, PDD is characterized by a number of symptoms that can interfere with your daily life. These may include:

1. Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless most of the time

2. Loss of interest or enjoyment in activities you once enjoyed

3. Changes in appetite or weight

4. Sleep problems

5. Fatigue or low energy

6. Difficulty concentrating

7. Feeling worthless or guilty

8. Thoughts of death or suicide

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. They can help you make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

Treating High-functioning Depression

A man sitting down with his hands on his face

There are a number of effective treatments for PDD. These may include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Medication can be used to stabilize your mood and relieve symptoms. Therapy can help you manage your condition and improve your coping skills. And lifestyle changes can help you live a healthier, happier life.

Some lifestyle changes that may help include:

Eating a healthy diet: Eating nutritious foods can help improve your mood and energy levels.

Exercising regularly: Exercise can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and boost your mood.

Limiting alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can worsen symptoms of depression.

Making time for yourself: It’s important to make time for activities you enjoy and that make you feel good.

Getting enough sleep: Getting enough rest can improve your mood, energy levels, and concentration.

If you’re living with PDD, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are many resources available to help you manage your condition. With the right treatment, you can live a happy and fulfilling life.

Differences Between High-Functioning Depression And Major Depression (Clinical Depression)

While there are many similarities between high-functioning depression and major depression, there are also some key differences. High-functioning depression is more chronic in nature, while major depression is typically more acute.

High-functioning depression also tends to be less severe, but it can still interfere with your daily life. If you’re not sure which type of depression you have, it’s important to speak with mental health experts. They can help you make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.


High-functioning Depression can be a difficult condition to live with, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are many effective treatments available that can help you manage your symptoms and live a happy, healthy life. If you think you may have PDD, reach out to a mental health professional today.

Call 800-273-TALK (800-273-825) if you are in immediate danger. For more information on suicide prevention, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.


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