TWitch’s Death By Suicide: Don’t Blame ‘High Functioning Depression’, Expert Says

While fans, family, and friends find it difficult to reconcile with Jessi Gold, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and his decision to take control of his own life, this is a typical scenario that psychiatrist.Com often encounters.

Gold said, “Even the people closest to them can hide their real emotions. I don’t think there’s always an obvious face of a person struggling with depression.”

Gold is skeptical of the term “depression” being used on social media and in the press to describe tWitch’s state of mind at the time he made the decision to end his life, as it is typically associated with someone who masks their depressive symptoms with an outgoing personality driven by perfectionism and ambition, which is a reference to pop culture.

She stated that it is not a technical diagnosis. Individuals experience depression internally, despite appearing to handle life well. Gold described it as a simplified term for depression in individuals who function at a high level.

Chronic depression

She would never presume to diagnose him, so she never stressed Gold when talking about people who may be functioning at a high level of depression. However, she speculated that there may be something else they could be talking about. Also, she never met tWitch.

“What people may be referring to is what is clinically known in the DSM-5 as dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder,” Gold said.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD), also known as chronic depression, is characterized by a long-lasting low mood that lasts for at least two years. While it may not be as severe as major depressive disorder, it can still be disabling for some people, lasting for long stretches of time, mostly on most days of the day.

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Gold said, “You probably can’t tell them about the good time they felt last. People going through this kind of depression have intermittent suicidal thoughts and changes in appetite, mood, interest, and sleep.”

According to Gold, individuals often give the impression that they are fine on the surface, and their suffering may not be immediately noticeable. Detecting the disorder can be challenging, even for clinicians, until it progresses into a severe bout of depression.

Based on statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 2.5 percent of adults in the United States encounter PDD at some stage in their lives. It may be activated by a distressing life occurrence, and certain research proposes that it might be connected to insufficient levels of the hormone serotonin. Possible factors that contribute to this condition encompass genetics, stress, and other preexisting mental health issues.

Identification and therapy

Gold stated, “Inquiring about emotions, sleep patterns, prescribed drugs, and the length of depressive symptoms aids the clinician in reaching an accurate diagnosis.” The most effective way to diagnose PDD is by engaging in conversations with a knowledgeable mental health professional. There is no specific test available for PDD.

Mayo Clinic experts recommend that the most effective treatment for PDD currently is a combination of medication and therapy. Therapy options that have shown effectiveness when combined with antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) include cognitive behavioral therapy and talk therapy.

Patients may need to try several different medicines or combinations of medicines before finding one that works. Even though these measures, such as a healthy diet, exercise, good sleep, and self-care, are not a cure in themselves, the Mayo Clinic also encourages patients to take care of themselves and manage stress.

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Gold stated, “It is discouraging when someone refers to depression as ‘high functioning’. It is also not important to minimize what a person is going through.”

I think it implies that people’s problems are not good. It doesn’t mean that something isn’t going well, it just means that someone’s job doesn’t perform well and they go through everyday work. It doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t need help, it just means that you can’t see it outwardly.

Further assistance for individuals experiencing a mental health emergency can be found at SpeakingOfSuicide.Com/resources. In the event that you or someone you are acquainted with is facing a mental health crisis, you can contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

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