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High-functioning depression is not a clinical diagnosis but rather a term therapists use to describe patients who, though they are suffering from depression, have high levels of energy, are productive and, to others, look successful.

But in fact, says Cape Town-based clinical psychologist Alexa Scher, depression exists on a continuum. “High-functioning depression is not separate from depression,” she says. “When it comes to diagnosis, the main criteria are that there are symptoms that cause distress or impairment in functioning.”..

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