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Living with Functioning Depression

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Depression treatment doesn’t look the same for everyone. Not every person with this mood disorder is affected so severely they can’t get out of bed, but some are.

Chronic low-level depression, sometimes called functioning depression, affects 1.5% of all U.S. adults each year. But treatment can help all levels of depression; just because you are not incapacitated doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to feel better. Call Liberty Bay Recovery Center at (855) 607-8758 to learn more about effective options for treating your depression.

Are There Different Types of Depression?

The stigmas attached to mental health are disappearing, but unfortunately, some still exist. Feelings of shame or misinformation can prevent people from getting the help they need. The stereotype that depression makes it impossible to function only adds to the confusion. Understanding the types of depression and their common symptoms may help you recognize your situation better.

Major Depressive Disorder

People with major depression lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Those who suffer from major depression may lose or gain weight, isolate from others, have feelings of worthlessness and despair, or experience thoughts of suicide.

Major depression is generally treated with antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, and if needed, electroconvulsive therapy.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

Also known as dysthymia or functioning depression, PDD refers to a low mood that has persisted for at least 24 months. Symptoms may not reach the intense level of major depression, but people with PDD tend to report feeling “joyless” most of the time.

Some of the causes of functional depression include:

  • Stress
  • Prolonged illness or injury
  • Unresolved grief
  • Substance use issues
  • Trauma
  • Relationship problems
  • Major life transitions

Appetite and sleep changes, low energy, and feelings of hopelessness are some of the warning signs of dysthymia. Antidepressant medications and therapy are effective depression treatments for most people who suffer from functioning depression.

Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder experience episodes of depression between manic episodes. Mania symptoms include unrealistically high self-esteem, grandiose ideas, overspending, and risk-taking.

Medications for bipolar depression are different from those used to treat major or functional depression. These medications effectively stabilize moods and prevent the extreme high and low mood swings associated with bipolar disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

This type of depression is associated with the change of seasons. A lack of sunlight in the winter can change the body’s natural rhythms and alter melatonin and serotonin function. These changes can lead to depression and insomnia.

A combination of light therapy, medication, and psychotherapy can effectively treat SAD for most people.

Depression and Women’s Health

Post-partum (perinatal) depression and premenstrual depressive disorder are two types of depression that affect women. These disorders are caused by a fluctuation of hormones and can be treated with medication and therapy.

The Risk of Untreated Functioning Depression

Ignoring depression because you can still function is one of the biggest health risks you can take. Unfortunately, many people with PDD do exactly that. Those who minimize their condition are less likely to seek support. It may be tempting to hide your condition from others, as feelings of guilt often accompany PDD.

However, ignoring symptoms can be dangerous. Untreated depression can lead to more severe symptoms, including thoughts of suicide.

Find Help at Liberty Bay Recovery Center

If you or someone you know is isolating themselves from loved ones or has lost interest in the activities that once brought them joy, they may be suffering from chronic low-level depression. Depression is a real health problem that needs appropriate medical attention. Telling yourself — or someone else — to put on a happy face may only serve to worsen the condition. Contact Liberty Bay Recovery at (855) 607-8758 for information about effective depression treatment.

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