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You may have heard about high-functioning depression before, but what is it, and what makes it different than other depressive disorders? High-functioning depression is officially categorized as persistent depressive disorder (PDD), and it has also been known formerly as dysthymic disorder. PDD is characterized by chronic depression that is low-level. While symptoms of PDD are not generally considered as severe as major depressive disorder (MDD), they are longer lasting.
One thing that sets PDD apart from other depressive disorders is that most people can still function normally. Their daily lives may not be noticeably impacted even though they are experiencing a significant internal struggle. This can lead people to avoid seeking treatment because they see that, outwardly, their lives are not significantly impacted. Opening up to others is also challenging because sometimes PDD doesn’t fit what the average person expects depression to look like.
What Does Persistent Depressive Disorder Look Like?
PDD is a form of depression in which symptoms affect a person for longer than two years. Depression symptoms can have varying levels of intensity. You may feel sadness or hopelessness, but PDD symptoms can surface in other ways too. Feeling empty or drained is a common experience as well. PDD can also cause you to have low self-esteem and self-confidence. PDD can have a significant effect on your overall sense of well-being.
Since symptoms of PDD can last for years, they can easily start to affect many parts of your life. Relationships of every kind are often affected because you just don’t feel like yourself. You have to force yourself to engage in activities that help you maintain healthy relationships, even when you don’t want to or don’t feel capable. Others might tell you that you don’t seem like yourself or that they can tell something is different about you.
Your work or school performance may decline if you are experiencing symptoms of PDD. A lack of energy can play a big part in your desire to fulfill your obligations. Losing interest in your day-to-day responsibilities may cause you to procrastinate getting things done. You might also have a hard time focusing, which can affect your ability to be efficient.
Unique Challenges of Persistent Depressive Disorder
Many mental health disorders severely impair a person’s ability to function. One thing that sets PDD apart from other depressive disorders is that most people can still function fairly normally. Your daily life may not be noticeably impacted even when you are experiencing significant internal struggles.
If you are experiencing PDD, you feel like you have a low mood that never seems to lift, or if it does, the good feelings never last long. It might be tempting to start negatively labeling yourself as lazy because you don’t have the energy to do more than the bare minimum to function normally on a daily basis. You are able to do everything required of you, but it seems like a monumental effort.
Since these people are able to fulfill their obligations, they may not treatment. They see that, outwardly, their lives are not significantly impacted. Opening up to others can also be challenging because PDD doesn’t always fit what the average person expects depression to look like. While you might have the force of will to function normally, it is essential to your well-being that you don’t ignore the symptoms you are experiencing.
Treatment for Persistent Depressive Disorder
PDD can have a negative effect on your mental, physical, and emotional health. It can severely impact your ability to enjoy life, even during happy times. Low mood and energy do not have to be your normal state of being. The first step to feeling better and getting back to normal is to get a diagnosis. You may reach out to your general practitioner as a starting point. They can discuss your symptoms with you and make referrals to specialists if necessary.
Once diagnosed, you will work with your medical and mental health professionals to decide what course of treatment will work best for you. PDD is most commonly treated with a combination of medications and therapy. Antidepressant medication can help maintain a balanced brain chemistry and help you feel better. Therapy will help you recognize negative thought patterns and learn ways to change them.
Seeking help doesn’t need to be a scary or overwhelming process. You could start by talking to a friend or loved one about your experiences. They can offer moral support if you decide to seek help from a medical or mental health professional. You will need to work with your doctor to examine your symptoms and make a plan to move forward on a positive path.
At Alter Wellness Care, we understand that your mental health matters just as much as your physical health. Everyone should be able to seek treatment for mental health care and physical health care equally. We are on a mission to make excellent mental health care more accessible. We apply a modern understanding of mental health that emphasizes treating the person as a whole.
High-functioning depression is a mental health disorder that affects many people. It can impair your ability to feel happiness and get enjoyment out of life. Even if it is not affecting your ability to function in your daily life, the depression symptoms should not be ignored. PDD should be diagnosed and treated by a qualified mental health professional. At Alter Wellness Care, we have the resources available to support you toward better mental health. Our compassionate team can help you through every step, from diagnosis to the effective management of your symptoms. Call us today at (866) 311-3510 to find out how we can help you achieve all your goals.