Signs and Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression

March 09, 2022
Signs and Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression


Depression affects millions of people, disrupting day-to-day to life. But some people who appear highly productive outwardly often suffer in silence and alone.  

Those individuals are dealing with a non-clinical condition called high-functioning depression. This is a new term that’s recently been appearing on the news and social media.  

To help you understand high-functioning depression, Dr. Harold Levine, chief medical officer for BayCare Behavioral Health, helps explain the condition, signs and symptoms.  

What is High-Functioning Depression? 

High-functioning depression is a condition that mirrors the clinical diagnosis of depression. However, people who deal with this condition suffer in private while managing to fully function, remain highly productive and appear healthy to others. 

Dr. Levine said people who suffer with this type of depression are often disciplined and successful. This condition can affect anyone, but it can be more common in older men who appear strong and refrain from sharing feelings to others.

“Individuals with this condition may be suffering mild, moderate, or even severe depression,” said Dr. Levine. “But while they have it, they tend to hide a lot of their symptoms from others, leaving them undiagnosed and untreated.”

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of high-functioning depression can include anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, sleep disturbances, feelings of guilt, loss of appetite, overeating, internal doubts and insecurities, tiredness and others. People with this condition suffer these symptoms in secret. But, there are certain signs that may indicate some form of high-functioning depression. 

Dr. Levine says if you find yourself repeatedly experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to someone you trust of contact a mental health professional. If you notice a family member or loved one experiencing any similar symptoms or patterns, kindly ask them to open up or encourage them to reach out to a health care provider. 

"It can be difficult to spot depression on those who appear healthy, strong and positive,” said Dr. Levine. “However, while everything may seem okay, always ask someone how they are doing. They may open up.” 

How to Manage High-Functioning Depression? 

If you’re experiencing any signs of depression, there are certain steps you can take to manage your symptoms. Strong people who are busy with many responsibilities tend to neglect their own health, but there are some small things they can do to feel happier and healthier. “Stay active, exercise, take daily walks, improve your diet, take a vacation, meditate and reduce use of digital devices,” says Dr. Levine. 

How to Get Help?

It’s easy to become isolated when you’re a high-functioning individual experiencing depression symptoms. But, there are ways to receive help. If you think your symptoms are persistent and disrupting your day-to-day life, talk to a mental health professional. This can help you address those issues and feel less alone.

To speak to a BayCare Behavioral Health professional, click here

Featured Video

BayCare Thrives as a Powerful Economic Engine in Florida

Image Gallery

BayCare Podcasts