Top 10 Signs of High Functioning Depression: Recognize the Hidden Struggle

Introduction: Unmasking the Disguised Distress

10 signs of high functioning depression


High functioning depression, also known as dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder (PDD), is a less recognized but equally debilitating form of depression. Often overshadowed by its more severe counterpart, major depressive disorder, high functioning depression can be more difficult to identify and diagnose. People with high functioning depression often appear successful and well-adjusted on the surface, but they silently struggle beneath the exterior. This article will delve into the top 10 signs of high functioning depression to help you recognize it and seek appropriate help.


Understanding high functioning depression is essential because it may not present with the same severity or intensity as major depressive disorder. However, it still significantly impacts an individual’s quality of life and can lead to more severe mental health issues if left unaddressed. By being aware of the signs and symptoms of high functioning depression, we can better support those who may be suffering in silence.

Sign 1. Persistent Low Mood: The Unseen Emotional Weight

Persistent Low Mood The Unseen Emotional Weight

High functioning depression often presents as a constant, low-level feeling of sadness that lingers in the background, making it difficult for sufferers to experience happiness or contentment. This persistent low mood can be difficult for others to detect, as those affected may appear outwardly fine and continue to engage in everyday activities.

While everyone experiences occasional bouts of sadness, individuals with high functioning depression have a seemingly never-ending weight of sorrow. This emotional burden can negatively impact their relationships, career, and overall quality of life. It’s important to recognize that this persistent low mood is not just a fleeting feeling but an ongoing struggle for those with high functioning depression.

One of the challenges of identifying high functioning depression is that people who suffer from it often do not meet the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder. They may not exhibit extreme changes in appetite, sleep patterns, or energy levels, which are commonly associated with more severe forms of depression. However, their persistent low mood can be just as debilitating and warrants proper attention and treatment.

If you or someone you know has experienced a persistent low mood for an extended period, it’s essential to reach out to a mental health professional for guidance. Therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms and improve overall well-being. (1)

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