High-functioning depression, sometimes referred to as Dysthymia or Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD), is a chronic form of depression that causes feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and emptiness. Dysthymia can interfere with everyday life and hamper one’s ability to engage with family members, friends, and colleagues. For those who are coping with high-functioning depression, therapy options are available to help manage its associated symptoms.
What Is High-Functioning Depression?
PDD is sometimes considered less serious than Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), but it can cause symptoms that range from mild to severe. Common symptoms of high-functioning depression include a lack of energy, excessive anger, and a decrease in activity, efficiency, and productivity. In addition, an individual coping with Dysthymia may struggle to maintain a positive outlook, even on happy occasions.
Dysthymia symptoms tend to persist over the course of several years, with an intensity that changes from time to time. Sometimes, individuals experience “double depression” in which they cope with Dysthymia and MDD symptoms simultaneously. Regardless of whether an individual experiences high-functioning depression, MDD, or both, proper medical diagnosis and treatment are crucial.
How Is High-Functioning Depression Diagnosed and Treated?
If depression symptoms linger for many months or years, it is essential to seek out medical treatment. A doctor can then perform a series of tests to help an individual determine if these symptoms are associated with PDD, MDD, or other forms of depression.
Among adults coping with PDD, a depressed mood typically persists for one to two years. In this scenario, a doctor can diagnose PDD and explore treatment options.
The treatment for high-functioning depression depends on the patient, the severity of depression symptoms, and other factors. Generally, psychotherapy is a common treatment recommendation for patients coping with PDD. A doctor may also recommend the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), or other medications to help a PDD patient manage depression.
With psychotherapy, a PDD patient can identify negative beliefs and behaviors that lead to depression, and find healthy, positive replacements for them. Psychotherapy helps a PDD patient establish goals, adjust to life problems, and build strategies to cope with various everyday challenges.
Sometimes one or more medications are used to help patients dealing with PDD. The use of medication for high-functioning depression sometimes helps a patient reduce depression symptoms. On the other hand, medication may cause intolerable side effects or fail to deliver the desired results.
PDD patients may also explore alternative depression treatments, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy. High-functioning depression patients can use TMS as a stand-alone treatment, or in combination with psychotherapy and medication. TMS treatments help to stimulate neurons in the brain responsible for mood, which works to gradually relieve one’s depression symptoms.
A typical TMS therapy session requires approximately 20 minutes to complete, and it is performed in a doctor’s office. During a TMS session, a patient is seated comfortably in a chair, and a magnetic coil is placed on their head, near the left temple. Gentle electromagnetic pulses then stimulate underactive areas of the brain via the magnetic coil. Finally, when the TMS therapy session is done, the patient can leave the doctor’s office and resume their normal activities.
TMS patients predisposed to migraines may report slight headaches after the first week of therapy sessions, but most patients report no symptoms at all following treatment. TMS is noninvasive, and it does not result in side effects like weight gain, nausea, and vomiting that are frequently associated with antidepressant medications.
Schedule a TMS Treatment Consultation
At Achieve TMS, we employ expert medical clinicians who teach individuals about TMS therapy. We offer a comprehensive evaluation to determine if TMS can help manage symptoms associated with high-functioning depression and other forms of depression. To schedule a TMS consultation, please contact us online, or call or text us today at 877-296-5032.