July 5, 2017

How to Recognize the Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression and How DBT Can Help

Written by Rachel Eddins

Posted in Depression and with tags: DBT, depression, self-respect

Man suffering from depression, in need of DBT

You probably have a picture in mind of someone who’s depressed: they can’t get out of bed, stay in their pajamas all day, and can’t stop crying. But you definitely don’t fit that description.

You’re able to hold down a job, maintain friendships, and put in the effort to look good.

Surely, that means you can’t be depressed, right? Not necessarily.

Welcome to the world of high-functioning depression.

What is High-Functioning Depression?

High-functioning depression isn’t as debilitating as typical depression.

You can still carry on the normal activities of your daily life. Most people with high-functioning depression are still able to experience job success, maintain close personal relationships, and may even have an active social life.

Yes, you can have high-functioning depression and look completely normal on the outside.

Even though everything looks normal on the outside, you may still have symptoms of depression. Some signs that you’re dealing with depression include sleep changes, a lack of joy or excitement about the future, or a numb feeling.

Is High-Functioning Depression Less Serious than Regular Depression?

You might think that high-functioning depression isn’t really a problem. After all, you can still get a lot done and don’t avoid people. But the truth is that any type of depression negatively impacts your life.

High-functioning depression just like regular depression can have the following effects:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Weight gain
  • Increased risk of accidents and mistakes
  • Poor focus and concentration
  • Excessive alcohol or drug use
  • Increased risk of heart disease and stroke

People with high-functioning depression may be at greater risk of the most serious effects of depression, particularly suicide.

A person with high-functioning depression is likely to be just as self-critical as anyone else with depression. But the ability to still excel at work or school may prevent someone from believing they’re depressed. Instead, they may just sink into feelings of failure.

Because they don’t recognize that they’re depressed, they’re less likely to seek treatment when they feel suicidal. Countless people have been stunned by the loss of loved ones they had no idea were suicidal.

Are you depressed? Take our depression test and find out.

Why Patients with Depression Should Seek Help

One of the saddest things is to see people suffer needlessly from treatable depression.

Houston is such an exciting city with so much to offer. When you’re depressed, you risk missing out on the world-class restaurants and upscale cultural opportunities that can make life so much fun.

Depression is an extremely treatable illness. Most people with any type of depression, high-functioning or otherwise, may need to combine multiple forms of therapy. Counseling, medication, and social support groups can all help. Treatment can help patients with depression realize that they’re not alone and give them reasons for hope.

DBT for Depression

One treatment approach for depression is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). We have multiple therapists, in our Houston office, who are highly skilled in using this treatment method to help you learn to manage symptoms of high-functioning depression.  DBT is a form of treatment that teaches four key aspects of skills training.

These four aspects include the following:

  • Distress tolerance, which trains you to gradually become more capable of dealing with distressing experiences. You will learn how to calm and soothe yourself in difficult situations.
  • Mindfulness exercises, which help you to observe the events in your life with less judgment and more acceptance. These techniques also help you to develop a more rational view.
  • Emotional regulation, which helps you to identify the source of your emotions and to use logic to counter faulty or inaccurate thoughts.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness, which teaches you the skills to handle social interactions with self-respect.

High-functioning depression can make you feel like you’re wearing a mask. With treatment—especially DBT—you can take off the mask.

When life is within your control, you’ll start to experience the joy that you deserve.

Give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

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