What Is Smiling Depression And How To Overcome It?

When we see someone smile or laugh all the time, we think to ourselves how happy they are. Right? But sometimes, the reality is different. Laughter can not always mean that somebody is happy.  

Yes, sometimes the one smiling at you might be going through the worst emotions. They might be hiding it all behind that one smile. 


Because they are scared that they might be judged by what they think, they believe that being unhappy and sad is a sign of weakness and that their problems are not that big of an issue. This is a sign of smiling depression. What is smiling depression? How is it worse? Keeping reading to learn more. 

What Is Smiling Depression?

Smiling depression is not listed or defined in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as it is not a recognized diagnosis. 

Smiling depression is used for people undergoing depression who are not showing any symptoms and are completely fine on the outside. It is also known as walking depression or high-functioning depression. 

The symptoms of smiling depression may be the same as major depression. These symptoms are atypical because they exist internally and are not expressly shown. Individuals with this diagnosis have an “I’m doing fine” reaction when asked about their feelings. They may be depressed but look happy and act happy.

Generally, depression causes lethargy, even making it hard for someone to get out of bed. But people with smiling depression, even after experiencing these symptoms, have the energy to make it through the day without showing any discomfort. 

Family and friends of people with smiling disorders may not realize about what the symptoms and not realize that help is needed. 

Cases of smiling depression are on the rise nowadays because it is hard to share feelings and thoughts because of the fear of being judged or misunderstood. The display of emotions varies from person to person. Similarly, symptoms of depression can be different for different people.

Let’s understand the symptoms of smiling depression.

What Are The Symptoms Of Smiling Depression?

The symptoms of smiling depression are not generally expressed on the outside but internally affect the person the same as others with depression. The symptoms of smiling depression are nearly the same as other major depression. 

  • lack of energy,
  • exhaustion,
  • irritation,
  • anxiety,
  • feeling hopeless, guilty, or worthless,
  • overthinking,
  • loss of pleasure in activities that were earlier pleasurable,
  • avoiding people,
  • difficult to concentrate,
  • intrusive thoughts,
  • sleep problems,
  • indecisiveness,
  • dietary changes,
  • fatigue, 
  • suicidal thoughts, etc.

These symptoms of smiling depression are visible in people diagnosed with depressive disorders, but people with smiling depression may undergo all these symptoms internally and not express them. They will be able to go to work, and their life will look absolutely fine. They can also show high energy while doing things without being lazy or sad.

what is smiling depression
Treatments For Smiling Depression

Smiling Depression Treatments:

Though a person with smiling depression may show no symptoms and be happy and content or act happy and satisfied, they need treatment. Smiling depression treatments are similar to other depressive disorder treatments. There are different smiling depression treatments, including some activities, medication, and therapy

The choice of treatment depends on the adversity of the case and how worse the symptoms are. Combinations of different treatments are also used. 

1. By Use Of Medication:-

There are various medications available that can help in smiling depression treatment. 

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors(SSRIs),  Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors ( MAOIs) are some examples of common medications that help in treating depression.  

While receiving treatment through medication, one has to develop patience as the results might take a few weeks to show. But eventually, they will give the desired results. Also, the side effects of these medications are difficult to handle. 

During the entire treatment, it is essential to have constant communication with the doctor to avoid any complications.

2. By Use Of Therapy

Therapies are the best way to help one express discomfort and seek professional advice. Various platforms offer therapy. Online therapy sessions are also available, making it convenient for people to seek help without leaving their homes.

There are various therapies, each of which has different effects and results. It is essential first to explore which type of therapy will be beneficial and then go for the most suitable one.

 Smiling depression treatment therapies that can help overcome depression are:- 

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

This therapy aims to understand a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. After investigating their behavior, the therapist may give alternative ways to overcome the negative thoughts and actions. 

2. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT):

This therapy helps enhance the communication skills of a person who is depressed. It is hard to share feelings with someone; therapists may help overcome that fear of being judged by creating a safe space for them. This therapy also teaches tolerance and mindfulness, which helps in emotional regulation. 

3. Having A Healthy Eating Style

Food plays an essential part in regulating depression by keeping your mood better. People with a good eating style can reduce depression and its symptoms. Different foods contain nutrients like omega-3, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, etc. This help regulate emotions and increase good mood hormones like serotonin and dopamine.

Try including nutritious food in your diet, like fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, etc.

4. By Exercising

A walk or run or occasional workouts can also help in reducing depression. Physical activity helps stimulate the brain, which then releases hormones that make us feel relaxed and happy.

These are some ways by which one can treat depression. With the help of mental health professionals, one can address their feelings and get the necessary treatment.

How To Help Someone With Smiling Depression?

Smiling depression becomes a severe issue when left untreated. People who experience smiling depression may sometimes have suicidal thoughts because of all the unexpressed emotions bottled up; the symptoms of depression increase and become hard to control. In such a situation, it is normal to have negative thoughts.

What to do when someone is going through smiling depression?

The mandatory thing you should do is ask them again and again whether they are okay. Sometimes asking someone a second time can create a lot of difference. So don’t give up; make them open up to you. Create a safe space for them. Male them believe that you will give them nonjudgemental acceptance and support. 

Listen to them and encourage them. Don’t impose your advice and thoughts on them unless they ask you. If they ask you for your advice, you can ask them to see a doctor or mental health professional if their symptoms worsen.

While dealing with treatment, you can be their constant support by accompanying them to their meetings, helping them with self-care activities, making them food, cleaning their houses, etc.

If they are feeling suicidal, try contacting mental health professionals. If you know someone who is undergoing smiling depression, make it your duty to check on them every day without fail. And if they are not picking up their calls or are unavailable, reach out to them.

You need to make them feel that they are not alone and that their feelings are valid. Don’t leave their side. Give them love, affection, and assurance that they will get better. 


Depression is a serious issue that must be treated before it’s too late. Depression can be expressed in various ways. We just need to acknowledge the signs of smiling depression. Smiling depression can become serious if neglected.

It is hard to talk about your feelings because it makes us vulnerable. We are scared to be judged and taken advantage of. It’s okay to feel this. Try being around people who make you feel safe. Give yourself some time.

Nowadays, suicide rates among teenagers have increased because it is hard to understand their feelings. Teenagers go through different emotions. They are very likely to experience unfortunate events in their life that they can’t even discuss. To know more about how to prevent teen suicide, click here.

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1 Comment

  1. Yikes. Depression seems to have many faces. This one sounds nasty. I guess I dont like to burden other people, fearing they wont understand..

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