What Is High Functioning Depression?

What Is High Functioning Depression? Symptoms and Treatment

What Is High Functioning Depression?

Many people who’ve experienced sadness have asked: What is high-functioning depression? Is it something that people can control or does it just happen?

The truth is you can control your emotions and overcome negative feelings.

Get professional help overcoming the negative emotions– Click the button below to schedule your appointment.

Here’s a look at how high-functioning depression develops and can be treated.

What is high-functioning depression?

Nearly 800 million people in the world live with a mental disorder, according to the 2017 Global Burden of Disease study issued by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, about 2-7 percent suffer from some form of depression.

Over 250 million people suffer from depression. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies depression as a disease that covers a range of mild to severe depressive disorders.

At its most severe, an individual can be suicidal.

High-level depression becomes a major problem when it affects:

What Does It Mean to Be a High-functioning Person?

High-functioning depression characterizes the condition of a depressed individual who is able to function in society.

They may be driven by their career to be productive, but inside they may feel lonely, worthless, and have an overall negative self-image.

Falling into a perpetual state of high-functioning depression can lead to a lack of sleep that causes tiredness and irritability.

It can lead to weight loss or weight gain, depending on the individual.

For some individuals who are driven by personal or career achievements, high-functioning depression is not a deep concern.

They may be able to achieve greater productivity by focusing on their goals and not letting negative thoughts hinder their success.

What Is High- Functioning Mental Illness?

Similar to high-functioning depression, high-functioning mental illness is a condition in which a mentally-ill person is able to function normally at their job, at home or in social settings.

This broad range of conditions may include high-functioning depression and anxiety. In the most severe cases, the individual is haunted by feelings of hopelessness, which parallels a pattern of poor lifestyle choices that leads to physical health problems.

Who is at the risk of high functioning depression

People Who Are at Risk of Developing High Functioning Depression

High-Functioning Depression Causes

There are countless causes of functional depression. Many times it stems from a struggling or broken relationship with a close partner.

As the individual retreats into isolation, they may experience loneliness and emptiness. This state of depression can happen at any age and eventually interferes with school or work.

Here are other key causes leading to high-functioning depression:

  • Chronic pain and other physical health issues
  • High expectations from work or school
  • Financial constraints that get in the way of goals and plans
  • A history of traumatic events
  • Chemical imbalance
  • Substance abuse

Knowing high-functioning depression risk factors can help you avoid falling into a pattern of social alienation. These risk factors may be physical or mental.

A mental health professional can help you deal with with depression symptoms– Click below to schedule your appointment.

Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression

Here are common high-functioning depression symptoms:

How to Treat High-Functioning Depression?

Treatment for high-functioning depression cases begins with a diagnosis by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. The diagnosis is based on guidelines described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Here are the criteria for diagnosis: 

  • Depression that lasts throughout the day that persists for over two years
  • Multiple changes such as in:
  • Sustained two months or more of continuous depression
  • The combined reduction in productivity and sense of well-being
Symptoms of High Functioning Depression

Signs and Symptoms of High Functioning Depression

Treatment for Minimizing Depression

Here are some of the most effective treatments available for high-functioning depression:

  • Psychotherapy 

This therapy involves meeting with a psychotherapist who questions the patient about their emotions and history with negative events.

It allows for the patient to communicate with a professional and open up about their negative perceptions.

A psychotherapist can help the patient become aware of the underlying causes for their depression, which can reduce symptoms.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This common and successful therapy for high-functioning depression involves a therapist retraining how the patient responds to personal and social events. It reduces fear and negativity in a way that the patient feels more in control of their emotions.

  • Meditation and Relaxation 

Various methods exist to reach a state of relaxation free of stress and negative thoughts. This peaceful state helps you reset your cognitive abilities and approach matters with a fresh perspective.

  • Relational Therapy 

Since personal relationships can be adversely affected by high-functioning depression, sometimes it’s helpful for a patient to meet with a relational therapist who can explain what holds relationships together

Depression therapy helps you correct false self-beliefs that lead to negative moods- Click below to book your appointment.


About one in ten people worldwide have a mental disorder. Over half of these people suffer from some form of depression. What is high-functioning depression?

When a person is internally depressed but still functions normally in social settings. It’s better to treat this condition than let it build up inside. Get professional help at EZCare Clinic

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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.