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High-Functioning Depression

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
July 24, 2023
December 19, 2023

Do you appear to have everything together, but feel like you are struggling with depression on the inside? You may have high-functioning depression. If you think you may have high-functioning depression, seek help. Here’s how to spot some signs.

What is High-Functioning Depression?

Depression manifests in various ways, and high-functioning depression, which may last for many years, is one type that is often overlooked or misinterpreted.

If you can carry out daily activities, maintain employment, and present themselves as happy and successful, but are often experiencing significant emotional distress and struggles with mental health.

Six Signs of High-Functioning Depression

Recognizing the signs of high-functioning depression can be difficult, as it can often be hidden behind a facade of productivity and success. However, some common symptoms include:

  1. Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness that do not go away for a prolonged period of time.
  2. A sense of disconnection from others or feeling isolated, even when surrounded by loved ones.
  3. Difficulty enjoying activities that were once pleasurable or feeling unmotivated to engage in anything at all.
  4. Insomnia, oversleeping, or changes in appetite and weight.
  5. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions, forgetfulness, or feeling mentally foggy.
  6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.

Living with high-functioning depression can be challenging and exhausting, but with the right support and treatment, it is possible to manage symptoms and improve one's quality of life.

Therapy For High-Functioning Depression

Treatment for high-functioning depression may include medication, talk therapy, or a combination of both. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a particularly effective form of therapy for depression, as it teaches individuals how to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their symptoms.

5 Weekly Practices For High-Functioning Depression

In addition to seeking professional help, there are also several strategies individuals can use to manage their symptoms of high-functioning depression:

  • Prioritize self-care: Engage in activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time in nature.Cultivate healthy relationships: Connect with supportive friends and family members and seek out social support when needed.
  • Set realistic goals:
To set realistic goals, break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, and celebrate your successes along the way.
  • Monitor your mood: Keep a journal or use an app to track your moods, triggers, and symptoms. This can help you identify patterns and adjust your treatment plan accordingly.
  • Practice self-compassion: Be kind and forgiving towards yourself, and recognize that recovery is a process that takes time and effort.


Living with high-functioning depression can be challenging, but it is possible to manage symptoms and improve one's quality of life with the right support and treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, seek help from a qualified mental health professional. Remember, you are not alone, and there is hope for a positive, enjoyable outlook.

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