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WRITTEN BY: Tammy C. Perez, M.A., NCC, LCDC, LPC

REVIEWED BY: Dr. Terry Schroeder on April 18, 2023

Functional Depression


What is Functional Depression?

Functional depression is a dangerously underestimated condition that can affect anyone at any time. It can devastate our emotional, physical, and cognitive well-being.

Depression is a medical illness that impacts mood regulation through a chemical, biological, or structural imbalance. There are many misconceptions involving depression, such as it can be controlled by positive thinking, subdued by willpower, disappear independently, or be comparable to sadness.

Depression is more than the emotional sadness experienced by loss, change, stress, or life difficulties. It involves complications with concentrating, feelings of helplessness, irritability, emptiness, and hopelessness.

Functional depression is a term used for those who are clinically depressed but can function at average or above-normal levels. These individuals appear to operate effectively, and often exceptionally, to outside observers in their daily lives. 

Often, those suffering from functional depression ignore or minimize their condition for various reasons. Common excuses for not seeking help are guilt, denial, misbeliefs, or misunderstandings. Guilt is commonly associated with depression. Many people think that they should not be depressed because they live a privileged life or feel guilty for having others worry about them. These unrealistic rationales prevent them from seeking care and support.

What causes Functional Depression?

Functional depression is a complex mental health disorder that can originate from many different sources. Genetics, biological factors, life experiences, adverse reactions to medications, and substance abuse can generate symptoms of depression. Other causes of the condition are illness complications, trauma, grief, and personal relationships.

What are the symptoms of Functional Depression?

The symptoms associated with functional depression are varied and correspond to the person experiencing them. For diagnosis, individuals must encounter multiple symptoms daily for at least two weeks resulting in social, occupational, or educational impairments. Common symptoms of functional depression are low self-esteem, despair, difficulty concentrating, and changes in appetite and sleeping habits. Other noticeable symptoms are insomnia, fatigue, agitation, and intense feelings of guilt or shame. It is difficult to properly diagnose depression since symptoms cover a broad spectrum and are often disguised by other mental health conditions.

How is Functional Depression treated?

Psychotherapy is commonly used to treat those experiencing symptoms of functional depression. Treatment consists of identifying negative thought patterns, adverse habits, and corruptive beliefs contributing to the disorder's effects. Recovery efforts may also include medication, exercise, and cognitive restructuring. Correctly identifying the physical or mental illness causing depression symptoms is essential in determining the most effective treatment for optimal and lasting results.

How does Functional Depression affect brain wellness?

Studies have shown functional depression may reduce activity in some brain regions involved in mood regulation, such as the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system.

Chronic stress associated with functional depression can also lead to changes in brain chemistry, such as an increase in the stress hormone cortisol and a decrease in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which can affect mood, motivation, and overall brain function. Additionally, long-term functional depression can increase the risk of developing other mental health conditions, such as anxiety and substance abuse, further impacting brain wellness.

How can Brain Frequency help?

The Brain Frequency™ AI system is an innovative therapeutic approach to improving brain health and wellness. We use proprietary science-based technology to promote optimal brain functioning across mental, emotional, physical, and social domains. Our diagnostic technology and individualized treatment protocols help decrease or eliminate trauma-related symptoms and various mental health disorders.

The Brain Frequency™ 3 Step Treatment Process consists of; first, performing a Baseline EEG and completing Psychometric Assessments; second, conducting a Brain Frequency Consultation; and third, Initiating Treatment.

An Electroencephalogram (EEG) analyzes brain waves and produces a brain map identifying current and optimal frequencies in 19 areas of the brain. Based on the individualized brain map, Brain Frequency™ will determine possible diagnoses of various mental health disorders or brain trauma for the provider to consider during treatment. Brain Frequency™ AI software provides clinicians with an "Approval Ready" treatment plan using personalized protocols based on each patient's needs.

Those suffering from symptoms of functional depression can efficiently and effectively improve their brain health and wellness by using the Brain Frequency™ AI system. Our innovative system drastically reduces the time needed to properly diagnose and construct treatment plans leading to a faster recovery and greater quality of life.



Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA):

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA):

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

Center For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):

American Psychological Association (APA):

National Institutes of Health (NIH):

National Suicide Prevention Line:

National Library of Medicine:

Mayo Clinic:




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